Every day my husband comes home, and he is ravenous. I ask him what he ate earlier, and he proceeds to tell me the leftovers from the night before, but that he had that somewhere between 10-11 am, because he was hungry. And then he had a sandwich later at work, ham and cheese, white bread. He did have some fruit in the afternoon, and he needs to eat something now before dinner. He is starving. Now, I could take apart his entire day of eating, however I want to focus on what he started his day with.
So, I ask my husband what he had for breakfast. Cornflakes, he replies. And I shoot back “You know there is very little nutritional value and you are taking in 4 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of added sugar, not to mention the natural sugar in the whole milk in your bowl. You are all sugared up, my friend. No wonder you are chowing your lunch at elevenses (a snack with tea or coffee around 11 am, see The Fellowship of the Ring for further reference). “ Annoying, I know, but here me out before judging me, please.
Breakfast cereals are not really a great choice for breakfast. Yes, they are made from grains. But then they go through a process called extrusion, which includes breaking it down into a fine flour, cooking it, adding sugar, chocolate or other ingredients, then drying and shaping into the flake or puff. At this point, it no longer resembles the grains it originally came from and is now a highly processed convenience food.
They have been marketed to us as healthy, with “low-fat” and “whole grain” featured prominently on the box, yet the first or second ingredient is often sugar. No wonder so many of us are in diabetic distress or chronically tired.
However, we can be forgiven as many of us have been given this diet since we were children, and what kid didn’t like Count Chocula, Lucky Charms or Sugar Pops (ie candy) for breakfast? Yep, as a convenience food, it worked for our parents and for us, and even as a snack (without the milk) later in the day.
However, it has set us up with some bad breakfast habits, which some of us continue to this day.
There are some better cereal choices out there, which feature at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 8 grams of sugar. Give some of these healthier options a try -
whole-grain Wheaties, Wheatabix, Total, Barbara’s Puffins, or Cascadian Farms Multi-grain squares.
However, if you want to start your day off right and sustain your energy through mid-morning without snacking, make some even better choices, such as eggs, steel cut oats or Greek yogurt. If you pair your scrambled eggs with vegetables, your steel cut oats or Greek yogurt with nuts and fruit, you have a protein packed, sustainable meal that will carry you through to lunchtime.
All of these will help you manage your blood sugar, and get the protein and fat you need to fuel your body efficiently and longer. Refer to the last few weeks' posts on the macronutrients that your body needs.
I personally swear by my steel cut oats, which I have with blackberries, blueberries, or a sliced banana in the morning. This keeps me going for hours and keeps me from snacking in between meals.
Here is my simple overnight oatmeal recipe:
1 cup steel cut (or rolled) oats
1 cup of non-dairy milk (Ex: oat, almond, hemp, cashew, coconut)
1 tablespoon real maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
I put all of these ingredients into a Tupperware container, with a lid. Give it a good shake to mix up and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, scoop out a portion. I get approximately (3) days of breakfast out of mine. Add some more of your non-dairy milk and put in the microwave for about 30 seconds to a minute to heat up.
Add some fresh berries and voila! a nutritious, satisfying breakfast in under a minute.
Give it a try and send me a picture of your breakfast here.
Start a new habit this week and stay healthy, my friends.