Quinn on Nutrition: Tips for Finding the Best Breakfast
Reader RS sends this: “We read your column in our local newspaper and wonder if you could give us any suggestions for the best breakfast that has protein, fiber, tastes (!) And is quite quick / easy to prepare. Kashi doesn’t do it for us! All ideas are most appreciated! “
Happy to! In fact, we would all be smart to look for healthy options to “break our fast”. According to the latest research, many Americans lack adequate amounts of dietary fiber, as well as calcium, potassium, and vitamin D in our diets. Protein at every meal also helps build and maintain muscle mass and immune function. All it takes is a little planning.
Here are some tips from the professionals of Food & Nutrition magazine, a publication of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
Many of us, especially children and teens, need more of the nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products, including protein and dietary fiber. Believe it or not, a simple breakfast of high-fiber cereal paired with high-protein milk or a fortified soy beverage fills the bill. Better yet, throw in fresh, frozen or dried fruit.
Soak cereal mixes overnight for an instant, nourishing breakfast. Toss quick barley with milk, yogurt, or 100% fruit juice and place it in the fridge overnight for a chewy, nutty, and quick breakfast the next morning. If you prefer salty over sweet, combine dry oats, plain yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a shake of kosher salt and crushed red pepper (really) and refrigerate until morning.
Do you have any leftovers? Combine cooked brown rice, quinoa, or farro with a sweet or savory liquid (maybe vanilla soy milk or chicken broth?). Then garnish with dried fruit and nuts (for the sweet) or leftover cooked vegetables (for the savory) and refrigerate overnight. I’m told the flavorful variety goes well with salsa.
Have you tried mashed avocado spread over whole grain toast? Top with a cooked egg for more protein.
Or create this egg scrambler in a microwave safe mug or large canned jar. Spray the inside of your mug with cooking spray, add 1 or 2 eggs and whisk with a tablespoon or 2 of milk or water. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of chopped vegetables (mushrooms and spinach work well). Cover and microwave on maximum power for about 30 seconds. Stir and cook in the microwave for about a minute more until the eggs are firm. I appreciate the quick clean up with this one.
Finally, say these experts, don’t forget that beans are also for breakfast. The only food that counts as both a protein and a vegetable, beans are packed with protein and dietary fiber as well as calcium and potassium. Hummus – a creamy paste made from chickpeas (chickpeas) – is one example: spread it on toast or whole-grain crackers, or chop up veggies for a quick, nutrient-dense breakfast.
I have new ideas myself! Thanks for writing.
Barbara Quinn-Intermill is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator affiliated with the Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email him at barbaraquinnessentialnutrition.com.