Making healthy food choices doesn’t have to be difficult. Sometimes it is as simple as swapping one thing for another. If your breakfast resembles the colorful circles pictured above, you will want to keep reading! This month we focus on the most important meal of the day with four easy swaps that make breakfast a nutritious, delicious, and easy way to start your day.
Flip Your Granola
Instead of drowning your granola in milk, and then adding more granola to sop up the milk, thus doubling (or tripling!) the serving size, open up one cup of yogurt and sprinkle granola on top, or make a quick layered parfait if you need a little more crunch. This controls your portion size but still gives you calcium and whole grains for sustained energy. Make sure to select granola that has low sugar, or make your own in large batches for a week’s worth of delicious breakfasts. This way you control the amount of sugar and oil, and you can customize your granola any way you like once you have the basic recipe down.
As For the Yogurt, Go Greek
Greek yogurt has the same number of calories as regular yogurt but has twice the protein. This means that you need less to keep you full longer, which is a bonus, as some Greek yogurts have more fat that their regular counterparts. Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties. Because Greek yogurt has strained away much of the lactose, giving it its characteristic tang, those with lactose sensitivity may find it easier to digest. Choose plain Greek yogurt and add your own fruit, honey, or jam. And even better: you can make your own.
Sick of Cottage Cheese for Breakfast but Need Some Calcium?
Trade out your sad cottage cheese for the same amount of part skim ricotta cheese with fruit and you will give yourself twice as much calcium every morning. If you have time and want an energy boost, add the zest of an organic lemon or orange and some stevia or agave nectar into your ricotta and give it a stir. Bonus: need a satisfying dessert that doesn’t weigh you down but is rich, chocolately, and delicious? Add a bit of powdered cocoa and stevia to ricotta and serve in fancy glasses with raspberries.
Make Breakfast After Dinner
Forget tiny brown packets of instant oatmeal. With a crockpot, you can make a breakfast that is hot and delicious when your alarm goes off in the morning and provides protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber to keep you full all the way until lunch time. It is easy: lightly grease the inside of your crockpot with butter, then add eight and a half cups of water, two cups of steel cut oats, one can of unsweetened coconut milk (optional, but up the water or add another milk, like cow, almond, or rice in equal measure if not using), and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook on low for seven to eight hours. When finished, sweeten to taste and add a dash of vanilla or pinch of cinnamon. This can also be made and refrigerated for several days, then heated for an on-the-go breakfast. If your slow cooker cooks quickly, making it during the day might be the better option.
With these simple swaps you have added nutrition, lowered calorie and fat counts, and made yourself a breakfast that will keep you going all morning long.
Describe your typical breakfast; where can you make changes to keep you fueled for your day?
Image by XNAHandkor via Flickr