Thursday, November 10, 2011

The "What can I eat that's healthy?" Series (Part 1: Breakfast)

In the past week alone, I've had two people ask me what they should be eating to create a better balance between diet and exercise. I am not a nutritionist, nor am I a dietitian, but I am human—and I like to eat healthy. But I don't diet.

To me, the word "diet" is all about restriction. And in my experience, the more I restrict myself, the more I want whatever I cannot have. So I inevitably end up caving in and overindulging in that which is probably not good for me. Which is why I, once again, don't diet. Instead, I do what I can to eat foods that sustain and entertain me with their flavors and their fiber, fats or whatever. Healthy foods, after all, can be really...really stinkin' good. It's just a matter of figuring out what is healthy and what isn't.

I won't bore you with the science behind healthy eating, because there is quite a bit of it out there (all of which tends to be confusing), so I'll cut to the chase. My chase—I've done my fair share of hunting for and experimenting with foods in an effort to distinguish the healthy from the unhealthy, the good from the bad, the likes from the dislikes and the must-haves from the once-in-a-whiles. I've read the science and practiced what it preached to me.

I've thrown it all out the window in favor of simple, clean eating. And I've even, yeah...gonna admit it...I've even cheated with foods that are absolutely not good for me (don't take away my chocolate). This, of course, is me self-educating. I have learned what works for me.

I have learned how to balance my intake so that it helps, rather than hinders me in my everyday life.

"What can I eat that's healthy," you ask. I can't tell you specifically, but I can share with you some of the things I've come to rely on quite regularly, and will do so in a series of posts throughout the rest of the week. Maybe my favorite healthy foods will turn out to be yours, too. Up first: Breakfast.

Old-Fashioned Oats
The blank canvas of breakfast cereals. Mix in an egg for added protein, bananas and other fruits for added flavor. Sweeten with cinnamon, honey or pure maple syrup. Top with nuts and more fruit, maybe some peanut butter. Eat hot or cold (otherwise known as overnight oats). (Note: You can also experiment with other grains, like buckwheat and Scottish oats. Same thing, different texture and flavor.)

Better Oats Instant Oatmeal
The best instant oatmeal I’ve ever tasted. Buy it plain and top to your heart’s content, or try a flavored variety for those mornings when you really can’t do much more than microwave your meal. Just be weary about other brands—some are absolutely loaded with extra  ingredients that are not at all good for you.

Grain Berry Bran Flakes Cereal
It's my favorite cold cereal, hands down. And it's neither hard to find in the grocery store, nor overly expensive. (Plus, every box I've opened has had coupons in it—bonus!) Top with the milk of your choice, something skim or maybe one that's almond based. Add fresh fruit like blueberries and bananas. 

Go for whole wheat breads that lack added sugars or corn syrup. Golden rule of thumb across the board—the less ingredients, the better. Hit the frozen section and grab a loaf of brown rice bread Or any other bread you might find next to it. If it’s frozen, it probably lacks preservatives which is a good sign that something is close to being natural. They're more expensive, sure. But often worth it. Top with nut butter or some sugar-free jelly or jam. Maybe even some fruit slices.

Gotta love ‘em. And yes, you can make them in the microwave. Top with some fresh Parmesan cheese or swirl in some green onions. Any veggie, really. If you cook them on the stovetop, use a non-stick pan so you don’t have to add butter.

Greek Yogurt
Chobani and Fage are my favorite brands. Others tend to be full of added sugar, whereas these seem to contain less of it. Add your own fruit to make it filling. Top with granola if you've got it.

Start with a Greek yogurt base, add a splash of milk—and whatever else your heart desires. Don’t shy away from greens either. Spinach adds goodness to a smoothie, even if it makes the end result look nasty. Peanut butter, bananas and vanilla yogurt? Divine.

1) All of these travel well, even the eggs if you've got access to a microwave at your end destination.
2) Never, ever skip breakfast. Why start your day like that?
3) There are other healthy breakfast options out there, but these are the options I rely on the most.

Tomorrow...let's do lunch.

Question: What are your favorite healthy breakfast foods?

1 comment:

jennyfromthegym said...

Thank you for sharing your menu with us, Tara! Already looking forward to tomorrow's post!

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...