Nutritional bang for your buck

I adore breakfast food.  All of it: eggs, carbs dripping with butter and syrup, processed meats, everything.breakyBut, I absolutely cannot face the thought of bellying up to the breakfast bar the moment I roll out of bed.  It makes me queasy to even think of food then.  I think my stomach wakes up much slower than the rest of me.

So often my breakfast is almost at lunch time.

In the spirit of total honesty, I have to confess though that some days I fall far short of nutritional excellence and my meal is sorely lacking.  But frozen yogurt and lattes both have calcium.  Right?  Right?

It’s an inconvenient bit of truth, but even though two foods might, on paper, have the same amount of calories, in reality they don’t.Think about it.  Say you drink a 200 hundred calorie latte.  Although you get a tiny bump of calcium, it really is nutritionally empty and your body can digest it in mere minutes.

But say that instead you have 200 calories of oatmeal made with skim milk, and studded with dried fruit and nuts.

Just off the top your body has to work much harder and longer to digest this meal.  It also contains complex carbohydrates, fiber, and protein.  It fuels your body, and you will feel full for hours.  Full enough to walk right past that vending machine.So, this week I have some suggestions for quick meals that will fill you up, be better for you, will be much more satisfying, and make you feel much more virtuous.

Quick, homemade meals:

Hot cereal- Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, grits, or even something like hot Grape Nuts are all terrific.  You can make them sweet with additions like honey or maple syrup, then stir in nuts, seeds, and fresh or dried fruit.  Also don’t be afraid to add things like cocoa powder, vanilla and spices.

But hot cereal is also very tasty when you go in a savory direction.  Try topping it with things like caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes.  Nuts work well here too.  Then you can perk it up even more with hot sauce, cheese, horseradish, and herbs.  Maybe top it off with a poached egg.Toasts and sandwiches:

First, get rid of that spongy white bread-like substance that they sell in plastic bags.  Then get to know multigrain.  The labels can be confusing, and manufacturers can be deceptive, so either buy it at a bakery so that you can talk to the baker and learn how it was made, or purchase products that say “100% whole grain”.

You can fill that healthy platform with anything that tickles your fancy.  Smashed avocado, scrambled egg, peanut butter and sliced apple, even a grilled cheese that you stuffed with some tomato and fresh greens.  How about tuna mixed with hummus?

Smoothies: Buy various frozen fruits, leafy greens, and maybe some low fat Greek yogurt. Throw different combos into your blender until you find a recipe that you like.

Store-bought, but pretty healthy:

Tacos:  Gosh, I love the fact that tacos can be on this list.

Yes, tacos can be fatty, nutritional nightmares.  But done right, they can be downright good for you.  Leave off the cheese and sour cream—dress with salsas only.  Then fill with grilled or roasted meat, and raw veggies.  I wouldn’t go for more than two for lunch though, no matter how tasty they may be.

At the deli:  Clear soups and lightly dressed salads are both good choices.

In addition, sandwiches can be a wise choice as long as it’s on whole-grain bread or wraps.  Grilled meat is better than cold cuts.  Raw veggies can be eaten with impunity.  And everybody knows that regular mayo isn’t great.  But be careful with mustard, too.  Some are chock full of sodium and/or fat.

The biggest thing to remember when eating out is to watch that serving size.  At most places, a single serving is enough for two—meals or people.  Either take home half in a doggy-bag or think about possibly ordering the child’s size.So, become mindful of what you put inside your body.  That way, you can have that second cookie before bed.

Thanks for your time.


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