The Search for a Healthy, Filling Breakfast

Anyone who knows me knows that I am always hungry and always thinking about food. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and it has taken me quite a while to come up with a handful of breakfasts that are not only tasty and healthy but keep me full until lunch time. Although cereal is sometimes the cheapest and easiest answer, it’s not exciting enough for me in the morning and rarely keeps me full. I like to have at least one portion of fruit for breakfast, and if I can help it, some protein, which cereal rarely provides.

I also don’t do plain carbs in the morning – granola bars, toast, pastries – as the hunger pangs usually start about five minutes after finishing one of these and I’ve decided it’s just not worth it.

So, thanks to my mom (who has always taught me to mix carbs, protein and fruit or veg with EVERY meal for maximum satisfaction on all fronts), HungryGirl.com and my own trial and error, I have concocted a few good, healthy, inexpensive and most importantly FILLING breakfasts that fit my lifestyle – which sometimes includes going to the gym before work (which could potentially cause starvation by 10.30 am) or eating breakfast at my desk while I go through e-mails and read the paper.

For those of you who think it’s important to eat breakfast that is easy to make quickly and in a small office kitchen, excites the taste buds, doesn’t overload you with calories and most importantly keeps the blood sugar levels up until lunch, read on for my staple breakfast suggestions.

yoghurtYoghurt, fruit and oats: This is my favourite breakfast at the moment and the one I am eating the most. It’s important to use a low fat natural yoghurt (Tesco has a great one) to skip all that unnecessary fat and sugar from some other yoghurts in supermarkets. The plain, white and natural ones are the best. Tesco also does a great low fat Greek yoghurt if you want something a bit creamier. One pot of natural yoghurt from Tesco usually lasts me about four days – not the recommended five servings on the packaging. I spoon the yoghurt into a bowl and mix with it raspberries and/or blueberries, half of a banana and a small handful of natural oats cereal (Rude Health puffed oats is a great one) or bran flakes – either way I need a bit of carbs in the mix. Then I either stir in a drizzle of honey or half a packet of Splenda to make it a little bit sweet as I haven’t grown completely accustomed to the bitter taste of the yoghurt. I usually get about two servings of fruit from this breakfast and yoghurt has so many great benefits from the “good, safe” bacteria and the calcium.

laughing cowEggs, sliced tomatoes and laughing cow cheese wedges : OK, maybe you can’t make this one in an office kitchen, but if you’ve got five minutes to make breakfast at home for this one, it is worth it. Spray a microwavable bowl with cooking spray and crack two eggs into the bowl. Whisk the eggs with a fork, and cut up one triangle of laughing cow cheese into the liquid eggs, and then microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the eggs and microwave for another 20 seconds. The eggs will come out cooked with melted cheese throughout. Slice half a tomato and throw it in the bowl with some pepper. If you’re really hungry, this tastes great between two small pieces of wholegrain toast or on a wholegrain pita. If you’re trying to go ‘low carb’ just eat the eggs, cheese and tomatoes out of the bowl. I usually add some Tobasco sauce for a kick, and when I am craving a salty breakfast this always does the trick.

Wholegrain toast, natural peanut butter and bananas: this is one my mom has been feeding me since I can remember. It pretty much speaks for it self but it’s important to get a whole grain toast, nothing white, and a natural peanut butter with less sugar than most PB’s on shelves. Again, the peanut butter provides protein (just don’t go nuts on your portions!), the wholegrain toast is better than white for staying full longer, and a sliced banana on top is no-brainer for the taste buds plus provides your first serving of fruit for the day.

Porridge (American translation: oatmeal) with dried fruit and banana: a box of individual ‘simply oats’ from Quaker is really inexpensive and will feed you for almost two weeks. I, however, choose to put two packets of simply oats in my breakfast bowl (which means the box only lasts about a week) and mix with boiled water (instead of milk), honey or Splenda, small handful of dried fruit – love the texture with the oats – and half a banana. Again, this is great for getting your fruit servings and for post-workout nosh. It’s low in sugar but will release slowly to keep you full and takes only a few minutes to make. I eat bananas a LOT. They’re great for post workout snacks and they help keep water weight to a minimum!

vita topsVita Tops : who doesn’t think that the tops of muffins are the best part? Vita Tops are boxed muffin tops which come frozen and thaw out very quickly once popped in the toaster. Unfortunately, these to-die-for tops are only available in the US, but I just had to give them a shout out. They come in about a million different flavours including whole grain, chocolate, banana nut, and blueberry bran, but my favourite is cranbran. This is a cranberry muffin top that is delicious with a healthy serving of smooth, natural peanut butter on top. Straight out of the toaster, the peanut butter melts onto the muffin top, mixes perfectly with the sweet flavour and adds that bit of protein to keep you full, and I love the chewy texture of the sweet but sour dried cranberries throughout. The best part is you can have two cranbran Vita Tops in one serving of melted peanut butter which is enough fibre and protein to keep you satisfied for hours.

Eating a healthy breakfast is easy and can be tasty – just remember the staples: fruit, protein and whole grains! Stay away from fruit juices, cereal and muesli packed with sugar and “coffee” drinks loaded with syrups and whipped cream – these all give you a ‘quick fix’ which just leaves you feeling hungry and unsatisfied well before lunch time rolls around.

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