Feb 082011

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and every morning that goes without breakfast is replaced by guilt that follows us for the rest of the day. I, like many others, skip breakfast a lot because honestly, that extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning sounds so much more appealing than getting up, making breakfast and heading off to an 8 hour day of work! Instead of making a healthy breakfast, I usually grab my coffee mug, some sort of nutri-grain bar and dash out the door. And as I’m driving to work, getting into my office and plopping down in front of my computer, I’m thinking, “Man, pancakes, eggs, bacon, french toast, a breakfast burrito…any of these sound so good right now! I wish I would have just made some breakfast!” Then my mind contemplates whether I should run out and go buy a bagel or quick breakfast fix but I resist because I’m on a budget but more importantly I feel guilty that I could have easily made something more delicious at home.

I recently read an article that talks about the Top 10 Breakfast Foods to Avoid including Raisin Bran (what?!), muffins and frozen waffles. Now, weekends allow for me to make a healthy and large breakfast, but for 5 days out of the week I am strapped on time, and now there’s a list of foods to avoid which makes making breakfast even harder! If we are suppose to stay away from frozen waffles and muffins for breakfast, what are we suppose to eat? And what is quick and efficient during the early morning before work or school? Well, here are some quick, budget-friendly, and healthy tips:

  • Cook sausages the night before
  • Cook potatoes the night before (recipe below)
  • Hard boil a couple eggs the night before
  • Stock up on fresh fruit
  • Have yogurt in the fridge
  • Make some granola (recipe below)

Something as simple as preparing items the night before can save you a lot of time in the morning. Sure it’s not going to be the same as eating freshly cooked sausage but for a good and quick breakfast, it will definitely still taste delicious and get your metabolism going for the day. And a little bit of creativity with what you have can be quite useful! Meals you can make with the list above:

  • Potatoes, sausage, and a hard boiled egg
  • Cut up sausage, potatoes, scrambled eggs put in a tortilla to make a breakfast burrito
  • Hard boiled egg, a piece of fruit and yogurt
  • A piece of fruit, yogurt and granola
  • Granola and milk by itself (like cereal)

That’s 5 meals–one for each day of the week, and all of them are so easy to do! Making and eating breakfast is one of those things we tend to avoid or find excuses for, but now there are no excuses. And it is definitely one of those things that makes you feel incredible after you actually do it. The hardest part is telling yourself you’re going to do it, and once you start, you’ll realize it’s not that bad and you actually enjoy it! Just like going to the gym, cleaning your house, or balancing your check book–it’s so hard to get motivated but once the task is accomplished, you look back and you are more satisfied and thankful that you put in the effort. So here are a couple recipes to get you started–eat well, and good luck!

Quick Breakfast Potatoes (pictured above)

2 medium russet potatoes
1/2 an onion
1/2 a red bell pepper
2 tablespoons oil
fresh or dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Scrub and wash the potatoes. Quarter the potatoes and add to a pot of boiling water. Cook the potatoes until they are soft enough to stick a fork in them smoothly (they should be 90% cooked but not as soft as they would be to make mashed potatoes). While the potatoes are cooking, dice the onion and bell pepper into small pieces. When the potatoes are ready, drain the water and cut up the potatoes into smaller one inch pieces. In a large pan, add the oil over medium heat. When oil is warm enough, add the potatoes, onions and bell pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle enough parsley on to your liking. Cook stirring frequently for 5-10 minutes and when the potatoes start to brown and the onions/bell peppers start to soften, lower the heat and allow potatoes to cook in a single layer without stirring for a couple minutes. Flip them with a spatula (like you would with hash browns) and let the other side cook and brown for a bit. Once they are brown enough for you, they should be done! This is the part where I highly recommend taste tests :) After you let them cool, put them in tupperware and they are ready to eat the next morning!

Homemade Granola (adapted from Alton Brown’s Recipe)

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons agave nectar (if you don’t have agave you can use maple syrup, or half of each!)
1/4 vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine agave nectar (or maple syrup), vegetable oil, vanilla extract and salt. Combine both mixtures. Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil and pour mixture evenly onto the pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. When granola is properly browned, let it cool and poor it into a large bowl or container. Mix in raisins.

*You can also adjust this recipe by adding more dried fruit, nuts, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, banana chips–whatever you want!

The granola should look like this after it’s finished:

Let me know if you make any of these recipes or if you have recipes, tips and ideas of your own to share! I would love to hear them!!

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