On a blustery winter morning, a hot and hearty breakfast is the most comforting way to start your day. It can also supply a significant portion of your daily nutrition, and get your body ready for whatever’s to come. (Or, in the case of New Year’s morning, make up for whatever excesses you may have indulged in the night before.)
A well-balanced breakfast is even more important than most people think. Complex carbs feed your brain and can literally make you smarter, while adequate protein keeps your blood sugar steady so you don’t get snack cravings or conk out before lunch. (Of course, it’s also necessary for fat loss and lean muscle growth.)
If you’re in the habit of grabbing some toast, a granola bar, or even cold cereal with a little milk in the morning, you aren’t getting all the nutrients you need, and probably aren’t performing at your best throughout the day. Try the following hot, nourishing breakfast dishes instead. They’re easy to prepare, and will provide a great nutritional foundation for your daily activities as well as for your fitness plan.
While it’s a great source of slow-burning carbs, oatmeal doesn’t have enough protein to be considered a complete breakfast on its own. But with a few extras, you can turn it into a filling one-dish meal that’ll easily last you till lunch.
This simple recipe balances out your grains with plenty of protein, healthful fats from walnuts, and antioxidant-rich dried fruit.
1/2 cup old-fashioned, steel-cut, or rolled oatmeal. (Any brand will do, but less processed oats taste better and are healthier than the “quick” or “instant” varieties.)
1/2 oz. walnut pieces (or other nuts if you prefer)
2 Tbsp. dark raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Stir the oatmeal and milk together in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon. Cook until the oats soften and thicken (or as long as the package instructions recommend), stirring constantly. Stir in the protein powder until smooth. If the mixture becomes too thick, add extra milk or water.
This is a delicious, filling breakfast that tastes like dessert, but is full of protein and fiber. (Just don’t expect it to be as light as a regular soufflé.) Organic cocoa powder contains almost no sugar, is good for your heart, and has chemicals that provide a mental boost to help you get through your morning.
2/3 cup low-sugar, high-fiber “pellet-style” cereal (such as Fiber One® or Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal)
2/3 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup low-fat milk
Enough sweetener to equal 6 teaspoons of sugar, or to taste (you can use Splenda®, agave syrup, or any sweetener that can be heated)
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (organic and unprocessed if possible)
Mix ingredients and cook in a pot over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture gets very thick. Pour into a bowl, and let it set for 3 more minutes before eating. (You can also cook the mixture in a microwave oven, as long as you stop and stir it every 30 seconds or so—and watch to make sure it doesn’t bubble up over the edge of the container.)
Far healthier than a fast-food breakfast but almost as quick to prepare, this sandwich is perfect for those rushed mornings when there’s not much time to eat. Serve alongside a bowl of fresh berries or a glass of Shakeology for an antioxidant boost.
1 whole wheat English muffin
1 whole egg and two egg whites
1 Tbsp. low-fat milk
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper
1 oz. slice low-fat cheddar cheese
Separate two eggs and put the whites in a bowl, along with the whole egg. Add a splash of milk. Beat with a fork until well mixed and frothy. Pour into a small nonstick pan coated with cooking spray, and scramble with a spatula over low heat. When eggs are almost done, add salt and pepper to taste. When they’re fully cooked but still at a soft consistency, remove from heat.
Divide English muffin into halves and toast them. As soon as you remove them from toaster, place cheese slice over one hot half so it starts to melt. Form scrambled eggs into a mound and place on other half of muffin, then cover with first half.
A rib-sticking breakfast that’s perfect for weekends, this hash is a vast improvement on your local diner’s version. Serve with organic ketchup (rich in the heart-healthy antioxidant lycopene) or a side of sliced tomatoes.
4 oz. low-fat ground turkey
1 tsp. olive oil
1/8 cup chopped onion
1/8 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 large potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
In a frying pan, brown the turkey with the olive oil, onions, and potatoes. Add the green pepper and spices. Cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, just until potatoes are tender. If desired, you can add a little more oil to the pan, flatten the mixture with a spatula, and cook for a few more minutes on each side to form a crust.