Breakfast – Tasty, Healthy Choices

There’s been a debate going on over breakfast for the past couple of years or so. Is it really needed, is it really the most important meal of the day?

Perhaps you’ve seen research and articles that are all over the place when it comes to discussing the benefits or detriments of breakfast. For some it appears to be okay to skip. For others, breakfast helps with weight maintenance. for people with diabetes, morning blood sugar can spike if breakfast isn’t eaten. When it comes to mental performance, some studies show breakfast helps or hurts performance – depending on which study you’re reading….Harvard even published a study recently that said skipping breakfast could increase your chances for heart disease…Some research shows that eating the majority of your calories in the morning will help with weight loss…..so what’s the deal?

More than anything, the type of breakfast you eat will likely determine your own personal success with health and mental sharpness.

In today’s society, we are always in a hurry – and often times, we’re the most hurried in the morning. With that being said, most of the grab-and-go options are incredibly unhealthy and contain very few nutrients – cinnamon rolls, sausage biscuits, bagels, and honey buns.

While it might seem like something is better than nothing, that may not always hold true. Choosing an unhealthy breakfast with very few nutrients, protein, and/or fiber may leave you craving more food shortly after. Additionally, behavior research shows that once you’ve made one type of food choice (especially at the beginning of the day), choices later on tend to follow suit.

So, if you choose a healthy breakfast, you’ll tend to make healthy choices later on too, plus you might even add in some exercise. However, if you think you’ve already “ruined” the day with one bad choice, you might just consider the whole day a loss and make more poor choices.

Foods that are low in nutrients and high in fat, tend to leave you unsatisfied, feeling heavy, fatigued and/or drowsy. When you feel like this you might struggle mentally and forget about having any desire to workout later on….Who wants that?

Eating a healthy breakfast in the morning doesn’t have to take a ton of time or cost a lot of money, but it will take some thinking and planning on your part.

Let’s talk about what to look for in a healthy, satisfying breakfast.

Don’t skip the carbs. Our body needs them for fuel, but also don’t overload on them either. Most breakfasts tend to be carb heavy (pancakes, cereal, toast, yogurt, and fruit), if we don’t have fiber, protein, and some fat in the breakfast our body will process that breakfast quickly, spike our blood sugar, and leave us hungry again in no time. Aim for 30-45g of carbohydrate for breakfast.

Balance out the meal with high protein content. Try to create a breakfast that has a total of at least 20 g of protein. This will help you stay fuller longer and if you have diabetes, this will help keep your blood sugar better controlled.

Fill up on fiber. Use whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans to increase the fiber content – which will also help you  feel fuller.

What do some of those breakfast combos look like? Here are my usual go to breakfasts:

  • Carnation Instant Breakfast (chocolate) + Milk + banana + peanut butter + (on the side) hard-boiled egg
  • High fiber whole wheat English Muffin + 2 egg whites + Turkey Canadian Bacon + 1/2 tablespoon grated cheddar
  • Whole wheat tortilla + 1 egg + 1-2 tablespoons beans + cheese + salsa
  • Greek yogurt + low-fat granola + almonds + fruit
  • High protein cereal + milk + (on the side) hard-boiled egg

This week I wanted to look for something new and found it on Cherie Runs This. Cherie is her own personal success story and I love finding people just like her. She’s motivated and she’s got great tips – check out her website!

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I’m so glad I stumbled upon her site. I had been looking for a high protein waffle recipe that is easy to make, delicious, and freezable – she delivered!

This recipe will vary depending on the size of your waffle maker. When I made these, I used a 7 inch waffle maker, and the recipe made 1 & 1/2 waffles.

For a fast breakfast for the week, triple the recipe, cook them on your waffle iron, let them cool completely (very important) and then freeze. In the morning simple grab one and reheat in the toaster or toaster oven.

I added a little peanut butter and banana for added protein and fiber.

Here’s the nutrition info for full recipe (1 & 1/2 waffles on my iron):

Calories: 380, Fat: 14.5g, Sodium: 520 mg, Carbs: 31, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 23g

With 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 5 inch banana:

Calories: 547, Fat: 22.5g, Sodium: 574mg, Carbs: 54g, Fiber: 7g, Protein: 27.5

For the recipe, go here or Cherie’s website!

Buen Provecho!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

Mandy was not compensated by anyone in/for this article.

Easy Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a favorite at our house, it has so many flavors and textures – plus it’s full of vegetables! However… it has a few caveats….but fear not, they aren’t as bad as you might think.

First, you may have noticed it has quite a few ingredients. The good part is you probably have most of them in your pantry already. Prep time will take a little bit longer than most dishes – but once it’s prepped, the cooking goes by in a flash! Ask for a little assistance from a friend or loved one and it will take no time at all.

Next, and this could be a big one for some….the sodium. For many, one serving is a whole day’s worth. The sauce is where the majority of the sodium is found. You can try some modifications, reduce the amount of chicken stock  or soy sauce you use (replace with water), have this dish as a reward after you’ve done a grueling/sweaty workout, or simply load up with more veggies and reduce the amount of noodles you put on your plate.

Get the recipe here!

This recipe has been modified from Kelly Senyei’s Easy Pad Thai with Chicken found on her website Just a Taste.

Buen Provecho!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control, and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

Tasty Tostadas

One of the ways we vary our taco night, is by making tostadas – no, they aren’t exactly tacos, but most of the ingredients I use are the same – beans, cheese, spinach, and pico de gallo.

I use store bought baked tostadas in my recipe, but you can make your own. See Deanna Michael’s recipe on her website fromthiskitchentable.com.

The serving size (from the purchased ones) is 3 tostadas, which equals 120 calories and 24g of carbohydrates! Not bad!

Click here to get my recipe here for my tasty bean tostadas.

tostada

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

Legumes – cheap health and weight loss aid

According to MedlinePlus, the definition of  a legume is a large, fleshy, colorful plant seed. Also known as beans, peas, and lentils. Legumes are cheap, easy to find, taste great, and pack a nutrition punch.

Health benefits

What they provide:

  • plant protein
  • fiber (about 1 cup = 15 grams of fiber, half of the recommended daily amount)
  • B-vitamins
  • iron
  • folate
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • zinc

Antioxidants

Beans also contain antioxidants, like many plant foods. They can work to protect your cells, slow aging, and fight off disease.

If consumed regularly, beans may help:

  • improve blood pressure and heart rate
  • lower blood sugar
  • lower cholesterol
  • reduce the risk for heart disease and diabetes

Added benefits for those with diabetes

Because legumes are a good source of protein, they typically reside in the “protein” food group. However, legumes also contain carbohydrates (giving us energy), and while this may send a red flag up for those with diabetes, the carbohydrate in beans, combined with the fiber, means the “energy” released is a slow burn. In other words, it won’t make your blood sugar spike. It’s a slow and steady release of energy – the best kind for most of us. Additionally, with regular consumption, beans can help lower blood sugar.

Weight loss

Beans are low in calories and are high in fiber, which helps make you feel full.

What about gas?

Here are some tips taken directly from the Harvard Heart Letter to help you:

Soak your beans. Soaking beans can help remove some of the indigestible oligosaccharides. Soak beans for 12 to 24 hours in a few quarts of water, pour off the soaking water, rinse, add clean water, and cook.

Choose wisely. Some beans seem to create less gas than others. These include adzuki and mung beans, lentils, and black-eyed, pigeon, and split peas. Heavy-duty gas formers include lima, pinto, navy, and whole soy beans.

Start slow. Let your body get used to fiber and oligosaccharides by having a small serving once or twice a week. Then gradually increase your intake, either by taking larger servings or eating beans more frequently.

Put your teeth to work. The more thoroughly you chew beans, the more you expose them to natural oligosaccharide-digesting enzymes in your saliva.

Gas-busters to the rescue. An enzyme called alpha-galactosidase breaks down some gas-producing oligosaccharides. The original product, Beano, has since been joined by others with names like Bean Relief, Bean-zyme, and plain old alpha-galactosidase. Taking a tablet before eating beans can reduce gas production.

How to incorporate more

There are so many varieties of legumes that you can create numerous meals without every having to use the same one twice. But how can you get more into your diet? Here are some examples:

Breakfast – make a large batch and heat up a portion each morning – egg whites, beans, low-fat cheese, and salsa

Snacks – experiment by roasting beans and then keeping a ziplock bag with you for a crunch snack. Create your own hummus and use it as a dip for veggies

Lunch – add beans to just about any salad

Dinner – build a soup that caters to your favorite bean – freeze leftovers to reheat when in a pinch for time.

Buen Provecho!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s websiteNutritionistics.

Easy Enchiladas

This recipe has only 380 calories and it’s loaded with a whopping 20g of fiber and 40g of protein – that will keep you full! And carbohydrates are 35g for those who are watching their blood sugars. Add a salad, green beans, or a light soup if you want a little something extra.

EASY ENCHILADAS RECIPE

Buen Provecho!

Mandy Seay is a registered and licensed dietitian. She works as a nutrition consultant in Austin, Texas specializing in diabetes, weight loss, lipid control and preventative nutrition. For more health articles and nutrition information, check out Mandy’s website Nutritionistics.

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