Sunday, May 22, 2016

Breakfast Epiphanies, Part 4: So What CAN I Eat for Breakfast, Anyway?

Last time, we took a look at all the horrible ways McDonalds fills their fare with sugar, then calls it a healthy choice. Unfortunate, because no matter our resolutions to never, ever eat anything from McDonalds, even with their tempting all-day breakfast menu, you know something is going to happen where you end up in that drive-thru lane, anyway. So, what can you have there that isn't loaded with sugar, and is reasonably nutritious? Below are a few answers to that question.

#1. Egg White Delight McMuffin

For high protein and low, low sugar, you aren't going to do better than this, at least at Micky Dee's. It has the ideal number of calories for breakfast250and only 3 grams of sugar. It's pretty much the brass ring for breakfast at the place, maybe for any of their meals, in general. Despite this, it's not my favorite choice. I like to have at least one egg yolk a day, packed, as they are, with vitamins and minerals; plus, it has ham and cheese, as you see in the picture, neither of which I'm wild about. Also, even though this is by far their healthiest choice, it still has 800mg of salt33% of the meal! But high sodium is the price you pay for indulging in fast and processed food. For the complete numbers, click on this LINK.

#2. The Egg McMuffin

Even McDonalds couldn't screw up an egg with Canadian bacon and cheese on an English muffin. It clocks in at 300 calories, a little above average for breakfast, with 18 impressive grams of protein and just 3 grams of sugar. That said, this is not my personal go-to, either. I'm not much of a fan of cheese or Canadian bacon (even though it's leaner, i.e. better for you, than "American" bacon), and they butter the muffin, which is just a bridge too far, as far as I'm concerned. I prefer the Sausage McMuffin with Egg, (below) even though it gets an "F" from Calorie Count.

#3. The Sausage McMuffin with Egg

Why, Ruth Notes, why? Well, I know it has 450 calories, which is a whole lot for a breakfast but! It does have 21 grams of protein and only 2 grams of sugar! I request it without the cheese, so I am loosing out on about 9 grams of protein, but I'm also cutting fat and calories in the process. For me, this little bullet of protein fills me up and keeps me that way for four to six hours, at least. 

So, in an emergency situation, during the hustle and bustle of modern life, when it's the Golden Arches or nothing, at least now you can pick something filling, without also being filled with guilt. 


At the beginning of all this, we posed the question: what is a healthy breakfast? Is it the simple meal of yoremeatless, grain-based, coffee, beer? You're not really counting on the beer, though, are you? Over at Food Matters, they have put together a very nice list of ingredients and advice about what makes a nutritious and filling breakfast. It's loaded with choices; you're sure to find something you will like, can afford, and can make in a snap. Except you people out there expecting beeryou people are out of luck!

For myself, I have a breakfast go-to that fills me up for HOURS and is tasty to boot. Ready? Here it is:

This is the good stuff, folks. Bob's Red Mill 5-Grain Cereal. Natural grains loaded with protein and fiber, and not a speck of sugar in sight. Surprisingly, it's also available at my local Big Lots. Only $4.50 a bag, and it lasts me for a month, at least.

I used to prep it the way it says to on the package, which is to make it like rolled oats or oatmeal. Make on the stove, stir until done, put away the left-overs for consecutive morning zapping. Which works just fine, and I'm not knocking it, but after a while I just didn't have the patience for all that standing and stirring.

Sure, you can make it in the microwave too, there are also directions for that. But when you're super impatient/hungry (me), this is still too much of a process. The solution came in an unexpected way:

"Wild," starring Reese Witherspoon, is a movie that came out in 2014. Based on the memoir of the same name, it's about a woman on a journey of personal redemption, exorcizing her demons while hiking the Pacific Coast Trail alone. We follow along, watching both the agony and exhilaration as she completes 1,100 miles of the 2,650-mile wilderness trek (we highly recommend the movie, BTW). Now my point, before I stray too far from it, is that, in the movie, Reese discovers that her camp stove won't work, and she's left with nothing to eat for days and days but dry oatmeal, to which she can only add cold water and eat out of a tin bowl.  


It gave me the idea to treat my Bob's 5-grain as though it were meant to be a cold cereal. True, it's not as yummy as the warm version, but when you add a little sprinkling of coconut, like I do, and especially if you've got some nuts and/or blueberries to throw on top, with a cup or so of milk (ha ha no not water), you've got yourself a fast, tasty, nutritious breakfast that lasts for hours!

Long Story Short:
Breakfast, if it's part of your routine, should be filling and nutritious, not larded up with sugar that is going to leave you hungry, crabby, and ill-nourished. 

It's a daily struggle, isn't it? In this environment of fast food and highly processed food, finding something, anything, we can eat and feel good about, and that is good for us, feels like a major accomplishment. There are many obstacles put in the path to health and well-being, but everything we learn, every day we can avoid the bad stuff, is another day we win.

That concludes our series "Breakfast Epiphanies!" Thanks for reading!

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