Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Morning Rush

Anyone who knows me well KNOWS that I love to eat...and I also love quick, easy meals. Healthy and fast is a necessity , so I thought I'd post a couple of no brainer breakfast ideas for people who feel the crunch in the morning. It's good for anyone, really, but it also offers a healthy option for parents on the go in the morning, co-ordinating car-pools and the like, rather than ignorning their own wellness and grabbing a coffee and bagel on the go (which only lends itself to temporary energy and a quick caffeine and sugar crash follows).

I've never mastered the art of time management, so I struggle with preparing meals the night before work. That leaves me trying to get meals together in the morning for breakfast AND lunch. My own fault, I know, but I'm working on it! Tools that really help? My blender and mini-thermos! As I'm preparing a yummy smoothie for breakfast, I've got oats cooking on the stove. Even if they're not completely done before I'm ready to leave, I can put them in my thermos and the heat retention finishes cooking it for me by lunch time!

Smoothie (usually prepared while I've got oats cooking on the stove)

banana (1/2) or avocado
leafy green (options? spinach, kale, bok choy, romaine or boston lettuce, arugula)
blueberries (about 1/2-1 cup--I use frozen this time of year)
almond or rice milk (1.5-2 cups, depending on appetite and time till next meal)
matcha (1-2 teaspoons)
cocoa powder (2 teaspoons--100% fair trade cocoa from camino is my fave)
Ruth's cranberry ginger chia mix (2 tbsp--chia with ginger works, too)
walnuts or almonds (or nut butter--3-6 if raw nuts; 1 tbsp if nut butter)
peppermint oil (1-2 drops)
cinnamon (to taste)

Of course, you can add or substitute ingredients as you please. Really, I switch it up from time to time depending on what's on hand, sometimes tossing in sesame or other seeds, or whatever other berries are in my kitchen.

Blend for 2 minutes, and presto! You have a delicious, healthy, nutrient-filled breakfast on the go! I have one of those plastic (BPA-free, of course!) smoothie cups with a straw that I find indispensable for my smoothie routine. I'll take it with me on the subway or in the car if I don't have time to drink it before leaving in the morning.

The benefits of this smoothie are immense! It's a medley of protein, omegas 3 and 6, antioxidants (blueberry-chia-matcha combo packs a punch!), fibre, vitamin A, C, K, and folate, not to mention the anti-bacterial properties of cinnamon! It all takes about 5-8 minutes to prepare, start to finish. And I have a 15 year old blender that does the trick! No fancy tools required.


steel-cut oats (.5-1 cup)
blueberries (2 tbsp)
cinnamon (to taste--I'm usually quite generous with my cinnamon inclusions!)
pumpkin or sesame seeds (or 2 tbsp Ruth's cranberry ginger chia mix)
almond milk (2-2.5 cups)

Put all together in small sauce pan on stove to boil, then turn to medium once boil is reached. I eventually turn it to low (2-3 on my stove) while I'm preparing my smoothie, feeding our dog, and getting my things together. In 15-20 minutes, I've got breakfast AND lunch ready to go! Having oats for lunch is a healthy way to keep energy up later in the afternoon, plus it helps stave off after work snacking because the fibre keeps you full longer.

Generally, people require 35-50 grams of fibre a day, and the standard North American has about 10-15 grams. There's potentially 20-25 grams just in these two meals alone!

Please don't skimp on breakfast. I know it sounds cliche, but it's so important to get your day started right. Without the proper nourishment, your body and mind can only hand so much stress throughout the day. Show your body the love and respect it deserves by treating it with respect through your food choices. It doesn't take a lot of effort, and your body and mind will reward you with the tools you need to get through your day successfully!