I have found difficult to fight convenience and easy to form unhealthy habits when it comes to food. However, my first goal towards a more balanced lifestyle is about eating healthy foods and change or improve routines. I decided to start with something simple yet very important: breakfast and what I do in the morning.
How I wish to have that delicious breakfast or smoothie with healthy foods ready for me when I rush thorough the door in the morning! Even though I had been very much aware of the importance of a healthy breakfast, I simply ignored taking the time to prepare it properly. I can imagine people that have kids that they need to get ready for school especially single parents with a full time job. Don’t you find it more convenient to skip breakfast and grab that $5 latte, that is loaded with calories, on your way to work?
My old routine: For years, I had followed the same routine in the morning without realizing how wrong it was. When the clock alarm rang, I dragged my feet out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I brushed my teeth with my eyes still half open. Then I went to the kitchen straight to the refrigerator looking for something to eat. I was not crazy about cereal or oatmeal, you know, the healthy foods. I just grabbed a couple of eggs that I quickly fried and ate with a couple of slices of bread and butter or made a cold cuts sandwich. I drank a glass of milk every morning. It took me about an hour to get ready for work and leave the house. Around 10 o’clock, I was having a banana or an apple and got hungry again by 11 A.M. I had to wait until 12:30 P.M. to have lunch.
My new routine: I get everything I need the night before.
*** move cursor on photo to see number of calories
- the cereal and walnuts containers, a spoon on a napkin, and a small glass for the orange juice are already sitting on the kitchen counter
- in a glass bowl, I cover the blueberries and raspberries with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator next to the yogurt container
Instead of heading to the bathroom after I wake up, I head straight to the refrigerator, take out the bowl and yogurt container and prepare my breakfast. When I am done, I cover the bowl back with plastic wrap and put it back in the refrigerator. It takes me exactly five minutes to do this. I am already fully awake and alert when I am in the bathroom. When I go to bed at night I know that the first thing I need to do in the morning is prepare my breakfast. I can take care of my bathroom needs a few minutes later.
I like my new routine. It saves me about 10 minutes that I can spend with my family. Now, I leave the house content because I know I will have energy and don’t have to think about food until lunch time. I don’t even need a snack anymore.
Cereal: Great Value, Almond Crunchy Honey Oats (corn and wheat flakes with granola clusters, honey, and almonds)
- main food pyramid category: grains (6-11 servings daily)
- servings: 1 (3/4 cup or 6 oz.)
- health benefits: wheat: controls obesity, improves metabolism, prevents type 2 diabetes, prevents breast cancer, promotes women’s health
- calories: 130
- cost: $0.09 ($1.49 for 18 oz.)
Yogurt: Great Value, Light Blueberry, Nonfat Yogurt, vitamins A and D added (plain yogurt is a better choice because of the absence of sweeteners)
- main food pyramid category: dairy (2-3 servings daily)
- servings: 1
- health benefits: rich in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, provides probiotics useful for the digestive system, boosts the immune system, reduces body fat, decreases high blood pressure, regulates moods
- calories: 80
- cost: $0.25 (a case of 12 containers cost $2.99)
- main food pyramid category: fruits (recommended that adult women consume 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit daily and the recommendation for men is 2 cups daily)
- health benefits: low in calories, high in nutrients, “king of antioxidants”, great source of vitamin C, reduces DNA damage, lowers blood pressure, reduces heart disease, maintains brain function, improves memory
- servings: 1/2 cup (2.6 oz.)
- calories: 42
- cost: $0.80 ($6.98 for 24 oz.)
- main food pyramid category: fruits and vegetables
- health benefits: rich in filling, heart healthy fiber, reduce risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, help with weight control
- servings: 1/2 cup (2.6 oz.)
- calories: 32
- cost: $1.29 ($5.94 for 12 oz.)
- main food pyramid category: fats, oils, and sweets (daily allowance is about 1.058 oz. a day)
- servings: 1/2 (0.5 oz. or 1/8 cup)
- health benefits: helps weight loss, induces sleep, great for your hair, prevents heart disease, prevents diabetes, makes skin glow,
- calories: 45
- cost: $0.22 ($3.24 for 7.25 oz.)
Orange Juice (100% Pure Orange Juice, Pasteurized With Pulp)
- food pyramid category: fruits and vegetables
- servings: 8 oz.
- health benefits: boosts immunity, reduces signs of aging, prevents cancer, boosts metabolism, detoxifies the body, improves circulation and blood pressure, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol.
- calories: 110
- cost: $0.28 ($1.99 for 7 servings per container)
Total food pyramid categories: 4 out of 6
Total calories: 439
Breakfast total cost: $2.93
Preparation time: 5-7 minutes
I am happy that I found a fast way to start my day on the right foot with the right foods that give me the nutrients that I need, boost my energy, and take me without a need for a snack or feel of hunger straight to lunch time. These numbers are my estimations using sources I found on the Internet. Columbia University recommends consuming 350 to 500 calories at breakfast.
Although I have known about the benefits of these foods all along I seldom ate them separately. I am not a fan of yogurt, not crazy about blueberries because they don’t really have a distinctive taste as a fruit, and walnuts because I found them too tangy. I used to buy raspberries once in a while because they were pricey. With better budgeting and different health goals in mind I will be able to include them in my diet as often as possible.
I know that all these foods are all good for me and need to consume them on a regular basis. I am sure I am going to like mixing berries with other fruits in fruits salads, pancakes, ice creams, etc. I can use yogurt in smoothies or as a topping for fruit salads. I just learned that mixing yogurt into sour cream and mayonnaise helps reduce the amount of fat in a dish. I like walnuts mixed with honey and squash and can make all kinds of mixed drinks with orange juice.
Do you have any other low fat breakfast suggestions?
Group photos #4,5, and 6 (left to right): http://www.pixabay.com