- Food and Cooking
Breakfast That is Worth Eating, Quick to Make, and Inexpensive
Often times eating healthy is hard to do. This is especially true if you are looking for inexpensive and easy things to make. We all need to work hard to do just that, but each of us have different needs and desires. Flavor often becomes an issue, after all most of us don't like the taste of oatmeal by itself. So, what will taste good, meet your nutritional needs, and not break the bank?
There are several things that people should realize about breakfast.
- Breakfast is what gets the system going. It starts your metabolism, gives your day the energy you need, and is really the best start to a good day. This means whether you are a college student, whether you are trying to loose weight, whether you work, or are a stay at home mom-you need a good breakfast.
- Most people don't eat a healthy breakfast and this is a problem that only gets worse for adults (many of who skip it all together).
- Breakfast needs to be about balance. Sure you don't need to get all the food groups in there, but you should have a few. It is also a bad idea to have a lot of sugars at breakfast because it is easier to feel tired a few hours later. Doughnuts, while easy, are not a good breakfast!
- Each person has different nutritional needs and they should be kept in mind when choosing breakfast foods. However, food doesn't have to be bland as all get out to be healthy for you!
Breakfast should be about 1/4-1/3 your daily calorie intake. For the average adult this means that you should be in the 500-650 calories range. A piece of fruit or a doughnut isn't going to cut it and will only hurt you later on.
Cold cereal is usually not very healthy and most of it is pretty expensive. You can shop the sales and be picky. Make sure you aren't taking in a ton of sugars with your breakfast cereal.
On the other hand, hot cereal is inexpensive and healthy (as long as you watch what you put in it). You should choose a quick cook variety and not instant and pre-flavored and sugared. There are lots of choices including cream of wheat, cream of rice, and oatmeal. Add your own flavor choices.
- Pick up a bag of frozen fruit and add that to your cereal after it has cooked. It will add fruit and flavor.
- Most people don't need to be afraid to sweeten their cereal since sugar isn't evil. If you want something more nutritious then white sugar choose honey or brown sugar instead. You can also add maple syrup or fruit preserves. Even Simply Fruit by Smuckers (which has no added sweeteners) is very good in it. (Over weight people and those who are diabetic should watch their sugar intake, others don't need to worry about it but should use it in moderation).
- Peanut Butter is a good protein source and tasty. You can add a spoonful or two to your hot cereal for a peanut butter treat. Peanut butter has good fats so don't be worried about it.
- Season your cereal with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Choose your favorite and add just a pinch to your cereal. Vanilla, almond, and other extracts can also be added. Start with a drop or two, stir, and taste.
- Stir in milk or yogurt for a creamier texture. If you use your favorite flavor yogurt you will even get some flavor in your cereal without adding a lot of sugar or other additives.
Serving Suggestions-Toast is a good thing to have here as well as fruit (remember that bananas are good for most people and very inexpensive). Milk and juice are good as well.
Meat is one expensive protein product. On top of that, breakfast meats (ham, sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon) are not good for you and are loaded with fats and cholesterol. One great option is eggs. All in all they are inexpensive and you have a ton of cooking options!
Easy Cooking-Scrambled eggs are the easiest and quickest to make. You should spray your pan lightly with cooking spray and add the eggs after they have been beaten. It is a bad idea to add milk which will make your eggs runny and is much more expensive. If you want to try to make them go a little further and don't mind the runny eggs add a dab of water (much cheaper then milk!).
- Add cheese for a great flavor and dairy products. (If you are over weight or prone to gaining weight easily then choose low-fat cheese. If you are underweight avoid low-fat cheese since the fats in cheese are the healthy sort. If you are just right go either way.)
- Cheaper flavoring options include salt and pepper as well as seasoning blends and even garlic powder.
- If you have a little extra time and money you can add veggies to your scrambled eggs. Onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and even zucchini can be great. Saute them and then add your scrambled eggs, seasonings, and cheese. Want a time saver? Cook your veggies over the weekend and then save them for the week in the refrigerator.
You can also fry your eggs if you wish. Just make sure that you are only lightly spraying the pan with cooking oil. Don't fry them in lots of oil, margarine, or butter.
If you are one on the go a hard boiled egg might be the way to go. Boil them up ahead of time and peel them. Then grab one to go (add a dab of seasoning salt for flavor) and a slice of toast with a drink and you are on your way to a descent start.
Serve with-While eggs are inexpensive other things that go with them aren't always inexpensive. However, lightly buttered toast, bananas, and juice from frozen concentrate are things that are very inexpensive to eat with your eggs. Milk is also a good thing (though a little more pricey). Yogurt is another great option as well as other types of fruit.
Nutrition Concerns-It was once thought that eggs were bad for your cholesterol. However, that is an old thought and it is now known that eggs raise your good cholesterol and not your bad. Therefore, it is safe to eat eggs regularly. If you are still concerned about it, talk with your doctor.
Are You a Breakfast Skipper?
You aren't alone if you said yes. However, you really aren't saving the time that you think you are. Studies have shown that breakfast skippers are more likely to have a mid morning lull which will make you less likely to get your work done. This will make you feel ready for a nap (something which the body naturally wants to take) and you will be famished by lunch. You are more likely to overeat at lunch time. In addition to that, while you will feel better after lunch, you are also more likely to hit a mid afternoon lull as well. You may feel drowsy in the afternoon as well as hungry again. This can cause you to over eat at dinner and can even cause poor sleep habits.
- Eat breakfast to feel more energized all day long.
- Eat breakfast so that you can be a high performer.
- Eat breakfast to maintain and loose weight (not only does it help you not to over eat at lunch or dinner but it also starts your metabolism for the day).
- Eat breakfast for a healthier you!
Toast is a great item to have with other foods or even to eat on its own with small sides. It is inexpensive as well. Choose wheat for your healthy as white has very little nutrition left. If you have a bread store near you, stop in for cheaper breads and often for cheaper bagels and English muffins. You can buy a few loaves and keep them in the freezer. Another good thing to keep in mind is that if you live by yourself or you don't go through bread very fast then keep it in the freezer and take it out a few slices at a time. Just pop it in the toaster frozen and it will toast up fine (you might need to turn the toaster up a bit).
- Top your toast with fried egg or make a fried egg sandwich.
- Top your toast with peanut butter or peanut butter and jam. For an easy traveling option make it into a sandwich.
- Lightly butter your toast. Either use butter or margarine. While this isn't very healthy you don't need to worry about it unless you have a cholesterol issue or you go really heavy on the butter.
French Toast or Pancakes
You can make french toast or pancakes as well. This can make an easy and healthy breakfast that doesn't cost much.
French Toast-Scramble eggs (2-3) and add a dab of vanilla (a couple of drops to 1 teaspoon) and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Skip out on the milk that is usually suggested (remember milk is one of the most expensive parts of most breakfast meals). Dip your bread in it and then fry it up using cooking spray (wheat bread is best and don't use butter, margarine, or oil). You can add a dab of margarine or butter like you would toast. Or add some maple syrup (go light). Want a more complete breakfast? Top with fruit (you can thaw frozen fruit for this) or even peanut butter. They are also good with vanilla yogurt!
Pancakes-You can buy regular pancake mix for very little or choose a wheat variety for a little more. You will want to choose one that is an add water (not milk) variety for the most savings. Simply mix according to the directions and fry using cooking spray. You can top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and berries (frozen if berries are expensive in your area) or other fruit. Use a small amount of maple syrup or top with peanut butter. You can even make your pancakes into egg sandwiches.
Time Savers-Not quick enough for your busy mornings? Make them ahead of time and freeze them. Pull them out and use a toaster or microwave to heat them through. Top as you normally would.
Other Bread Products
English Muffins can be buttered, peanut buttered, or topped with egg sandwich supplies. They are tasty and pretty good for you. If you can get wheat ones that is even better (and tastier).
Bagels come in a wide range of flavors. You can top them with cream cheese (low fat if you are concerned about weight or fats, regular for those needing to gain weight since these are good fats and not bad ones). Other options can be jam or fruit preserves, peanut butter, butter, or margarine. Wheat and oatmeal varieties are best, but all of them are fairly good for you and come in lots of options.
Muffins are another good thing. You can bake them up over the weekend and eat them throughout the week. Cheap options are available in muffin mixes and easy to make. Choose blueberry and strawberry as well as whole grain. Roll in a piece of paper towel and place in the microwave for 10 seconds for a hot muffin on the morning of!
Tortillas are also a good thing to put eggs, potatoes, and other veggies in. You can also add cream cheese and then fruit in them for a tasty breakfast!
Getting juice by the carton is usually expensive. It is better to go with bottled juices (which usually don't include things like orange juice or strawberry kiwi) or even less expensive are juice from concentrate which are very good and very inexpensive. Read your labels and make sure you are getting 100% juice and not just flavored sugar water!
Fruit is a great thing to eat in the morning, but it can be expensive. Bananas are always cheap. Pick up a few each week and eat them with your breakfast (or even as a snack). You can pick up other fruits on sale and seasonally. Another option is to pick up frozen fruit which at first seems a bit pricey. However, a little goes a long way. You can pull these out of the freezer and place in small ziploc or glad like containers and make your own inexpensive fruit cups. Apple sauce is another great option and very inexpensive. You can also choose canned fruits that are in light syrup or natural juices (aim for the natural juices when possible).
Use Your Leftovers
You can use leftover potatoes to add to a healthy breakfast. Simply spray a fry pan with cooking spray and add your potatoes (no matter how they were cooked or prepared) and heat them up. You can then add eggs and seasonings for a tasty breakfast!
Left over chicken or steak can also make a great breakfast food. You can mix it with eggs and put it into tortilla.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid breakfast meats. They are way to high in fat (and not the good kind) with little nutrition. Instead choose chicken if you want a breakfast meat or even lean red meats.
Avoid a breakfast of simple carbs. Simple carbs (sugars) give you a lot of energy and then a few hours later they crash. You can have some simple carbs, especially if you don't have any dietary concerns (diabetes or over weight especially), but don't make it your entire meal. Have something else in there worth talking about.
Avoid high sugar cereals. Stick with things that have less sugars and more whole grains or other worth while foods.
Avoid toaster pastries which are fast and easy but not inexpensive and are full of sugar.
Hit Sales and Shop Wise
Often times you can get baked goods cheaper when they are getting a little old or when they are on sale. You can buy English muffins, muffins, and bagels this way and sometimes even bread. A bread store or bread outlet is also a good place to get bread products for less. Freeze these items to last longer and take them out as you need them.
All in All
All in all there is no doubt about it~Breakfast is important! With that in mind you should eat it every day. It doesn't have to be really fancy, difficult, or expensive. It can be done whether you are a college student, a mother of five, or the CEO of a big corporation. No matter what, breakfast is important. One last note-If you don't like breakfast foods-then eat something that isn't classified as a breakfast food. The important thing is that you are eating a balanced, not overly sugary, meal. It doesn't have to be "breakfast" foods. Grab a sandwich, leftovers, or some other non-breakfast food if it would be more likely to be eaten.