Breaking the Breakfast Barrier

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D.

January 2007

Why was breakfast fun when you were a kid? Because Mom made it, it was probably sugary, and you didn't have to do the dishes!

Now you're in charge and there's just never enough time in the morning to get the kids to school and for you to get what most nutritionists have pegged as the most important meal of the day. Persons who eat breakfast have an easier time maintaining their weight than those who don't and breakfast-skippers don't perform as well at school or on the job. What a dilemma!

Can you make a breakfast that's convenient, quick and healthy? Sure, and here are a couple of examples.

The Thirty-Second Slammer. Atkins it's not, but it's quick, healthy and tasty. A cold cereal is still at the top of the list for most Americans, but without sugar it usually tastes like wet cardboard. It takes about 30 seconds to slice half a banana or a couple of strawberries or to dump some blueberries or raspberries in the bowl before adding milk. If you can't take dairy products because of lactose intolerance, the latest soy milks with their subtle-not-sweet flavors give you even better nutrition.

Sweet, Hot and Easy. Perfect for cold mornings: oatmeal and spice. Not the individual packets, which have way too many calories, but regular (not instant) oatmeal. Pop it in the microwave with a little skim milk, soy milk or other substitute (easy on the non-dairy coffee creamers with their load of trans fat) for about one minute and 45 seconds. You can even use plain water and still not lose any flavor. Then sprinkle some cinnamon and a few raisins over the top. (Recent studies suggest that about ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day can help to lower cholesterol levels, and might also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.) Ignore the longer microwave cooking directions on the box; overheating spoils the flavor.

If you can spare another 30 seconds, try the fruit here, too.

High-Tech Omelette. Non-stick fry pans, egg substitutes and frozen veggies make it a breeze to have a filling, heart-healthy breakfast with no fuss and minimal cleanup. Preheat the pan and pour in the egg substitute. (These are not artificial eggs; they're egg whites with a little coloring, vegetable oils, tofu, etc.) If you think of it the night before, pour some frozen stir-fry vegetables into a measuring cup (1/2 cup per serving) and let it thaw in the refrigerator. That helps it to cook a little faster in the morning. Besides stir-fry vegetables there are plenty of other choices in the frozen foods section of your supermarket.

When the eggs are partly cooked, toss in the veggies.

Anything that needs cleaning up can go into the dishwasher and you and the kids can be on your way.

Breakfast Au Natural. The ultimate in speed and convenience, it will likely keep hunger away until lunchtime. It's nothing more than adding two spoonfuls of trail mix or sliced almonds to plain yogurt. (Not the yogurt with chocolate chips or fruit on the bottom.)

It will only take about a week of starting the day with a healthy breakfast for you to notice the difference.

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D. is the author of Health Secrets of the Stone Age, Better Life Publishers 2005. Contact him at drphil@stoneagedoc.com.