Breakfast, Breakfast, How I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways!

Oh, breakfast!!! If I could eat it for all three meals a day, I would. Unfortunately, the rest of my family would not be happy with omelettes and pancakes for dinner…sigh. Yet, I am always amazed when I speak to my patients who tell me they often skip breakfast regularly.

Maryann Buetti Sgouros 3R WEB72

Maryann Buetti-Sgouros, MD, FAAP

Now, let’s start this blog with the proper pronunciation of the word  breakfast. It is not “brek-fist”…it is “break-fast,” hence, breaking the fast from overnight when you did not ingest any calories while you were asleep. Your brain needs calories since it is one of the greatest calorie-consuming organs in your body. Wake up and feed it!

I have heard every excuse imaginable as to why people skip breakfast

“I don’t have time,” “I am not really hungry,” “ I don’t like cereal, or whatever else is being given to me as breakfast.”

Now, what I tell my patients is that I will accept almost anything “as breakfast,” since in my eyes it is better than nothing (which just continues the fast from overnight). I do prefer, however, that breakfast have at least 10 grams of protein. Why? Since proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates alone (which can lead to that “crash and burn” you often get from carbohydrate-rich foods like sugary cereals or a pop tart), feeding your body with proteins in the morning sustains your energy level and brain function all morning.

Is your household is in a state of confusion and flux in the morning? Try these quick tips.

Fear not! There are many breakfast foods that are super easy and portable for your family to grab as they run out the door. I would not necessarily recommend these things daily but again, they are better than nothing.

Here are my quick grab and go recommendations:

  • milk box (Horizon organic milk boxes do not need to be refrigerated)
  • protein bar (Balance and Luna make some tasty varieties—just try to avoid the ones that have over 9 grams of sugar)
  • bag of protein rich cereal (Kashi Cinnamon Crumble is my favorite and it pairs nicely with the milk box)
  • microwaveable English muffin, egg white and cheese sandwich (these can literally be popped in the microwave while your child is putting on his/her shoes and will be ready when they’re done tying their laces)
  • low fat 100 calorie Greek yogurt cup

If you have five minutes to sit and eat, here are 5 suggestions:

  1. I love Think Thin oatmeal packets with 10 grams of protein and 190 calories. I even bring these packets on vacation when I am at a hotel so I don’t have to run out and grab something like a bagel or doughnut. Just add water (the packet has a line for easy measuring) and microwave for about 75 seconds. Delicious!!!
  2. Cup-filled omelette. Another quick breakfast that takes me literally about 3 minutes to prepare. (My daughter found this recipe online and has me make it at least 3 days a week. She will even make it herself as an after-school snack.) Crack 2 eggs in a mug (I usually remove one of the yolks and save it for my dog), add salt, pepper, a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and a small amount of chopped onion and/or chives. (I keep a wrapped onion in the refrigerator, slice a small amount and chop.) Mix well with a fork, microwave for 90 seconds and then top with a small sprinkle of cheese and some chopped tomato. Protein rich, yummy…and no pans to clean!!!
  3. If something sweet is more your style, try mixing some nonfat Greek yogurt into a bowl with frozen berries (thaw for a few seconds in the microwave or out on your countertop while you are getting ready). Berries are full of antioxidants and when blended with yogurt, you get a sweet yet protein-rich breakfast which is a zillion times better than most other prepackaged yogurt cups. If berries are not your thing, a drizzle of honey and, if you need a little crunch, chopped nuts and wheat germ make a nice addition.
  4. Pancakes are usually a bit too sweet and carbohydrate-rich for me to recommend but I found a mix that makes them so much more nutritious. Kodiak makes a protein rich power cake mix which you prepare with milk and egg to boost the protein content. You can easily prepare a batch on the weekend and then freeze them for reheating throughout the week.
  5. Last but not least, I have to also mention my slow cooker oatmeal. This is my love because when you wake up, you can smell the cinnamon—amazing on a cold winter morning. Put 2 sliced apples, a handful of raisins, a tablespoon of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and if you like, some of your favorite nuts and a pinch of salt. Mix and then add 2 cups of old fashioned oats, 2 cups of nonfat milk and 2 cups of water. No need to mix again. Cook on low for 8 hours. Breakfast ready and waiting when you get up… no excuses!!!!

You know what they say, and it really is true, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

By Maryann Buetti-Sgouros, MD, FAAP, mother of three, avid musician on many days, and Pediatric Physician with Westchester Health Pediatrics, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

by WHA-Admin