Healthy Breakfasts That are Fast and Easy
By Brad Bloom
Publisher of Faith and Fitness Magazine
STUCK IN OVERDRIVE
Tasha’s day starts the same each morning:
- Alarm at six
- Snooze for ten minutes
- A quick shower
- Get dressed
- Cup of coffee while doing makeup and hair
- Out the door for the morning commute
Then begins the scheduled workday. On some mornings someone might bring in pastries for everyone. If not, and Tasha gets hungry, she can always dip into her stash of chips and cookies to tie her over until the lunch break when she’ll make a quick trip to one of eight nearby fast food restaurants.
The morning routine can happen all too easily. We don’t intend to start bad habits, but after a while the expanding mid-section and lack of energy lets us know that we’re entrenched in a pattern that isn’t easy to stop.
Limited time and the demands of daily life can make mornings one of the most dreaded times for some people. Breakfast is often one of the first things to go in an attempt to better manage the morning. Sometimes it helps, but usually it just gets even crazier.
Fortunately for Tasha, she made a change after one recent morning that gave her time to pause. A second then third tap on the alarm clock snooze-button got her routine started extra late. Makeup and hair was done while driving. When the hot coffee splashed out of her mug, she tapped the brakes and went sliding on an early morning slick spot into another car. Nothing major… but “why me God?” got some interesting answers.
MORE THAN A GOOD SUGGESTION
Check out the Bible, and you’ll read things like “early will I seek you God” and “My times are in your hands, Lord”. There are also plenty of examples of starting the day before others. Pure and simple, taking time with God in the morning is not just a good idea that requires a bit of discipline. A good morning start lays the foundation for the entire day.
Examine each of the following sentences and think about how perspective shapes the day:
(A) My day begins when I’m forced to get going. From there my life is not my own. I do what I have to do.
(B) My day begins when I choose to take control of it. I make time for myself regardless.
(C) My day begins when I first give it to God. I’m constantly amazed to see how much more time I have when I do this.
Living a healthy lifestyle requires blending faith and fitness from the very start of the day. Don’t “jump-start your day” with prayer. “Launch” you day with a few minutes along with God. It is prayer either way, but the big difference lies in both your commitment and expectation. From there, start considering how you can budget your morning to continue the time with God in wellness.
One way to do that is to maintain some basic ingredients for healthy breakfasts that are fast and easy.
FAST, FASTER, AND WHATEVER
You’ve heard how oatmeal helps remove cholesterol. But did you know you could make it even healthier while making it fast? Either in the microwave or stovetop, place a portion of quick oatmeal in water. Add some flax seed and cook—it only takes a few minutes. Flax seed can substantially increase your intake of dietary fiber and is a good source of iron. It is relatively inexpensive and can be found in health food stores and many standard grocery stores. You’ll find dozens of other ways you can add flax seed to your meals. Extra fiber equals a better flowing digestive track, too. For flavor add a dash of salt, a handful of raisins, and some sugar or honey if you want some sweetness. Don’t overcook it and it won’t be too hot, which means you can eat it fast and be on your way.
On alternative days, create your own fruit and yogurt parfait. Keep on hand a larger tub of fat-free or low-fat plain or lightly flavored yogurt, a box of low-fat granola, and some fresh fruit or a bag of frozen fruit. It takes about one minute to add the three ingredients to a breakfast bowl and another four minutes to eat it. You’ll find it is easy, cost effective, and an excellent source of protein and calcium along with a wonderful energy boost.
Need something even faster? Then eat with your hands. Pre-peeled hard-boiled eggs are a quick grab. Since the yoke (the yellow part) is the source of cholesterol, you can easily decide how much of it you eat. You can even remove it and eat just the high-protein white. Keep on hand some bagged fresh fruit or dried fruit to eat during your morning routine. Grapes or bananas or apples are often an obvious choice, but less common fruits like a bag of fresh cranberries can be a great quick-grab that gives you a whole different flavor experience. Wheat bread either toasted or right out of the bag provides good fiber and some carbohydrates for morning energy. Just eat it plain—no butter or other spread is needed.
Obviously, these are not going to be breakfast foods that are creamy rich, loaded with sugars, and unnaturally tweaked to pack every mouthful with contemporary flavor. It is, however, fast, easy, nutritious, and in fact quite tasty when you decide that you are going to expand your palate to more natural tastes.
OK, OK, sometimes you don’t always get to keep the kitchen stocked with these breakfast foods, right? You can still eat healthy and fast for breakfast with whatever you may find. Leftover cooked chicken breasts with some spicy wild sauce are a great way to load on some morning protein and get the detoxifying benefits of the hot peppers in the sauce. Carrot sticks are perfect for a fast breakfast snack. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. Even fat-free pretzels can get your day started much better than doughnuts. Sure, these are not traditional breakfast foods so your mind may resist the idea more than usual, but they are good foods for that all important first meal.
One more habit to start—drink that morning glass of water first thing out of bed. You have been asleep for a few hours, so water on the stomach first is a good way to assure that you at least begin the morning hydrated. It also mentally gets you in a better routine of drinking water, thus making water an overall greater part of your daily diet.
It is easy and fast to make breakfast healthy. It is an important part of a balanced lifestyle that begins with “Good morning, God”.
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