Everyone knows the cornerstone of a healthy diet is eating a nutritious breakfast. It fuels the body and the brain by breaking the overnight fast and has been shown to aid in weight management by preventing overeating throughout the day. Yet it is the meal most likely to be skipped by North Americans. Why? Well if you’re like me an extra 20 minutes of snooze time trumps cooking breakfast – daily.
The food industry knows this and a lucrative market of quick, easy, pre-packaged breakfast foods has spawned with boxed cereals topping the list. But are these really the solution? Boxed cereals are heavily processed (a method called ‘extrusion’) which changes the structure of your food. Ingredients that may have started out as nutritious can be rendered unrecognizable (and unhealthy) in the finished product.
Helped along by government regulations mandating that nutrition labels be put on all processed foods and limiting dubious ‘health’ claims in advertising, today’s savy food shopper has come a long way. Guilty pleasures aside, most of us recognize sugar coated cereals laden with marshmallows are not, in fact, part of a ‘good’ breakfast (although they are clearly a very exciting addition to the morning routine).
However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that many of the boxed cereals sold in the health-food isles labelled ‘organic’ or ‘whole grain’ go through the same industrial processing that lead to the same unhealthy results. They might be better for you than say, marshmallow ghosts, but it’s really a case of the lesser of two evils.
Since it appears rats can live longer by eating the cereal box itself then the contents inside, what then, is for breakfast?
Well, peanut butter on whole wheat toast is a good start. Or low-fat yogurt with fruit, cottage cheese, smoothies made with frozen fruit, real oatmeal, scrambled eggs with veg, and fresh fruit salad to name a few. All of these things are as easy (or close to) as pouring a bowl of cereal and are made with whole foods. What about those of us who never actually have the time to eat cereal in the first place? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all so a little pre-planning goes a long way. Preparing something the night before that can be brought along on your daily travels is easy once you get in the habit.
That said, here is a recipe for delicious and nutritious Blueberry oatmeal muffins made with whole wheat flour. Cook them up and have your breakfast dilemma solved for the week. The recipe originally called for ¾ of a cup of brown sugar. I’ve found that mashed, ripe bananas make a tasty substitute for sugar in baked goods and contains a host of good for you type stuff including potassium and Vitamin C.
1 cup quick rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (to make sour milk, add 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup milk)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen, thawed and well drained (Blueberries can be substituted or combined with any fruit you like – strawberries, raspberries, peaches, etc).
Combine oatmeal and buttermilk in small bowl. Let stand.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in bowl. Stir well to blend.
Add egg, melted butter, and mashed bananas to oat mixture. Mix well.
Add oatmeal mixture all at once to dry ingredients.
Stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in blueberries.
Fill well-greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees C. 15 to 22 minutes.
Makes 1 dozen.