It's time for a breakfast routine makeover. Here's what one TreeHugger writer plans to do in 2016.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take my breakfast routine more seriously. I’m a healthy eater in general, but there’s something about breakfast and the mad scramble of early morning and getting two kids off to school that makes breakfast always feel like an afterthought. I grab whatever’s available – leftovers from the night before, dessert, toast, a piece of fruit, some yogurt. While it fills me temporarily, I often find myself hungry and grazing within an hour. Here’s what I want to do in 2016:
1. Make food ahead of time.
By putting in a bit of effort ahead of time, it’s possible to have much better breakfasts in a hurry. Certain recipes such as granola, steel-cut oats, muffins, baked French toast or oatmeal casseroles, and breads can be made ahead of time. I want to keep the pantry stocked, with a constant supply of granola and yogurt, muffin, whole-grain bread and fruit in the freezer, and high-protein nut butters in the cupboard. Cooking mixed grains (millet, amaranth, quinoa, steel cut oats, brown rice, etc.) ahead of time and storing them in the fridge makes for a quick, substantial, and very healthy cereal mix in the morning. I'm going to try this 'Real Deal Cereal Mix' from My New Roots food blog.
2. Think more about nutritional value.
Certain foods (like oatmeal) fill me up for longer, while others (like toast) seem to disappear instantly and leave me feeling hungry. I want to give greater consideration to what contains more (good) fat and protein, in order to satisfy my body’s needs. For example, a heaping spoonful of almond butter will make toast a much heartier food than if it’s spread with jam. Smoothies with chia and hot cereal with coconut oil stirred into it pack an important protein punch.
3. Explore new recipes.
There is a fabulous world of breakfast recipes out there just waiting to be explored. I’ve been enjoying the breakfast chapter of Anna Jones’ cookbook “A Modern Way to Eat,” which has great ideas for quick breakfasts. She’s got me onto smoothies, a fad I never understood until now! I also like the breakfast recipes on Food52 and The Kitchn. Where do you look for breakfast inspiration?
4. Discover unusual ingredients.
Tahini, millet, amaranth, chia, buckwheat, quinoa, dates, nuts… there are many ingredients available that don’t fall into the usual category of ‘breakfast food’ but do a fabulous job when they’re incorporated into the menu. Lately I’ve begun eating millet-and-oatmeal porridge with stewed blueberries on top; while it takes a bit longer to cook than regular oatmeal, the millet provides delightful body and chewiness to an otherwise mushy bowl.
5. Eat more at breakfast.
This may sound weird, but I need to stuff myself more in the mornings. Too often I eat a little, get distracted by the kids, and forget to finish; then I’m starving by 10 a.m. Focusing on eating more, i.e. a whole bowl of oatmeal (with cream!), two pieces of toast, two eggs instead of one, etc. will provide more of the fuel I need to get through the morning without feeling the need to snack on less healthy things.