Sunday, February 12, 2012

Food Blog Series, Part 1: Breakfast!

Hey friends!

So as you know I have LOTS of opinions on food  and what is healthy.  Ha!  I get questions all the time about what I eat exactly and its kind of tough to describe exactly how I eat without going into the "why."  I don't believe in "dieting" and yet, what you eat does constitute your "diet."  When asked, I usually don't recommend anyone dive into eating like I do today cold turkey as my eating has morphed over the last 2.5 years slowly and hugely.  It morphed slowly so my new healthy lifestyle could be "doable" to create a permanent change, rather than having an end date for my eating plan and ultimately, my health.

Over the course of a few blog posts, I'd like to share my favorite food items with you along with why I like them and how they fit into my healthy lifestyle.

Why don't we start with the most important meal of the day?  I get asked about what I eat for breakfast all the time.  If you are like me, alot of times your mornings are a scramble to get out the door with everything you will need to have with you for the next 15 hours...for me that would include snacks, lunch, my water bottle filled with green tea and more snacks if its a workout night.  Many times my breakfast ends up going with me as well by the time the rest of that is all packed up!

BREAKFAST is VITAL to starting your day off well. It's really not just something "people" say.  If I eat a good breakfast in the morning, I tend to eat better the rest of the day.  If you don't eat, thinking you are saving a few hundred calories, you will certainly make up for them in your starvation snacking later on during the day.  Don't like breakfast?  Learn to like it - or don't blame me when you find yourself waking up from an I-ate-everything-I-brought-for-the-day-by-10am coma.

Here are some of my faves:

Sometimes I start off with a smoothie with Almond Milk as the base (I like Silk's brand, or Blue Diamond; whichever is on sale at the time - Vanilla and unsweetened is good to have some flavor without too much unnecessary sugar.  Stephen also likes to use this as his coffee creamer). I am not a coffee drinker; I simply don't have a taste for it.

One scoop of this Vanilla Whey Protein packs a big punch of protein (15 grams) and only 100 calories.  So far our smoothie is only up to 140 calories.  Add in a handful of fresh spinach (it only changes the color NOT the taste! Also add in a handful of your favorite frozen fruit - I love frozen blueberries, or you can freeze a banana and add that in.  The frozen element is essential to your smoothie being cold.  Smoothies don't have to have a milk type base; yesterday I made one with a half cup of OJ, handful of spinach and 5 strawberries blended up (I did NOT add the protein powder - only when I make them with almond milk).  It was delicious and about 150 calories, went nicely with my sandwich for lunch and added a bunch of veggies/fruit to my day.  Bottom line; smoothies are a great start and if you make the protein shake version it is great for post-workout recovery as well.

When I don't have time to fool with the blender, I grab a Larabar and a Banana.  I love Larabars as they are all natural (they are also gluten free - but for the record I will say I'm not an advocate of going gluten free UNLESS you have an allergy).  The ingredients label reads: dates, cashews, semi-sweet chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla.  The chocolate chip cookie doug is my absolute favorite flavor, its like eating cookie dough without the sin and guilt.  Now Larabars seem small for the calorie punch which is why they should be limited to one per day - but realize they really do fill you up!  220 Calories, 11 grams of fat (6 grams of which are monounsaturated = good fat!) 320 mg of Potassium, 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  These are also a GREAT pre-workout snack and I'll do that often in the evenings before my 2 hour workouts (as long as I didn't have one for breakfast!).

When I have a few minutes in the morning (not a run day usually) I will mix up a batch of oatmeal in the microwave.  I put a 1/2 cup of oats in a bowl with enough water to cover it and microwave for a minute on high. When it comes out, I mix in a splash of the vanilla almond milk, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and....

Two tablespoons of Golden Raisins.  You could also mix in Craisins, a chopped apple, banana, etc.  It is totally up to you what you want to use to flavor your oatmeal.  This is healthier than buying the pre-sweetened oatmeal as they typically have many more additives and preservatives and even more sugar.  Check out the label next time you are shopping and compare the plain oats with my additions to the boxed sweetened kind.

Uncle Sam's cereal was a part of my life once.  It isn't just good for breakfast, it serves a purpose.  Not to get too graphic, but sometimes we aren't as "regular" as we'd like to be and that can, well, be a PAIN!  With 8 grams of Insoluble fiber per serving, this cereal will DEFINITELY help in that department.  That said it is super bland in taste on its is best eaten with 1 teaspoon of sugar (15 calories) and either raisins, craisins, bananas, strawberries etc.  I try to eat this most days if I am not too rushed.  You can also mix 1/4 cup of this into your favorite greek yogurt to add some crunch to your snack.

So there you have it - my breakfast "regulars."  I also LOVE eggs and on the weekends I like to sautee one over easy on the stove and put it on top of a toasted piece of wheat bread and let the yolk run all over the bread. Yum!  I really don't believe that real eggs are "bad."  It's what we do to food like eggs that makes them bad!  I don't add cheese, and truly do not miss butter on my bread either.  Those little tweaks have really made a difference over time.  Now the egg beaters...hmmm...what does the label say?  Just saying.  Oh - and I DO love the occasional chocolate chip pancake with pure maple syrup (I use the whole wheat blend pancake mix or I mix up my own with whole wheat flour).

Overall, if it has 3 or more ingredients that I can't pronounce without assistance, or are not actual FOOD, I won't eat it (for the most part).  Period.  That makes it easy!

That's all for now...I will do a series of posts about food over the next few weeks including snacks, lunches, etc.  I plan to try to share some of my dinner recipes as well as time permits.

Hope you get to planning your breakfast for tomorrow!


PS - coming soon on the blog will be a review of a BUNCH of workout videos! I have tons of them and tons of opinions to share about them! 

1 comment:

Robin said...

Thanks for posting this! I did not realize plain oats could be so easy to fix. I need some sort of protein in the morning to keep me from getting hungry but these are great ways to start, and could easily be taken on the go.