Written by Jonathan Aluzas
So, my initial, gut-level response to the oft-repeated line of poppycock “I don’t have time for breakfast” is, simply:
And I’m right.? I’m right because, as I will show you, breakfast can be very quick and simple to prepare, and I’m right because this is my blog and I say so (otherwise, why have a blog, right?).? In spite of my righteousness, however, I will defer to patience and take a moment to provide a few breakfast options that will support my position.
A little background: Last year I wrote a post called “Quick Tip: Skip Breakfast if You Want to Stay Fat” extolling the virtues of breakfast.? The science is there; people who eat breakfast are more likely to lose and/or maintain weight than those who don’t.? Yet, in spite of my earth-shattering post, read by nearly 7 people nationwide, clients are still coming into Arena trying to snow me about not having time for breakfast.? Fine.? I’m going to execute that excuse by providing the following quick and easy breakfast solutions:
Old Faithful: Oatmeal and fruit
Ingredients: 2 packets of Trader Joe’s Heart Healthy Whole Grain Instant Oatmeal and a fistful of berries.
Preparation: Mix packets of oatmeal in bowl with water, microwave 90 seconds, throw in a handful of blueberries, raspberries or any other fruit that sounds good, and pound down while standing in the kitchen and trying to urge the coffee maker to brew faster by issuing forth a constant barrage of colorful expletives.
Calories: Around 400 (Use only one packet if you want to reduce by 160 calories)
Pros: Tastes good, great source of antioxidants and fiber, filling
Cons: More sugar than is recommended, more processed than I would like
The Dine and Dash: Bagel with Peanut Butter Straight-Up, Banana Chaser
Ingredients: 1/2 Bagel, peanut butter (1 tbsp), one medium sized banana
Preparation: Toast bagel (or not), slap on the peanut butter without tearing the bagel to pieces, grab the banana and run for the car.
Pros: Tastes good, can eat it in the car
Cons: Processed, not for those prone to dry mouth, somewhat high in calories
The Oh-God I’m Late; aka “The Trainer’s Breakfast”
Preparation: Fly into the kitchen, frantically rifle through the fridge and cupboard and pray that the 101 isn’t jammed so you don’t have to take the 134 to the 2 to the 210 to the 118 to the 405 to the 101
Ingredients: Trader Joe’s Organic Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie, Kind Protein bar, apple
Pros: Requires no preparation, can eat it on the run, in the car, while watching clients train, etc.
Cons: Fairly high in calories, all pre-packaged means more processing which means not as good for you as fresh food, except the apple which is ingeniously packaged by Mother Nature and therefore not processed.
These aren’t perfect from a nutritional perspective, but they’re decent ways to start the day.? In the real world there are times when you have to opt for convenience over optimum nutrition, and these options are nutritional enough as to not be a total disgrace.? A couple points to consider:
- Although some of these may seem high in calories, you can always modify them to lower the amount.? Studies show, though, that people who skip breakfast tend to OVERCOMPENSATE for the missed calories later in the day, so a big breakfast will likely still result in a lower overall daily calorie consumption than a skipped breakfast (Note: There is no scientific basis for the the second presumption.? I’m totally making up this point, but it makes sense from a practical perspective so I’m standing by it).
- In an Facebook post earlier this year I referred to one of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules that states that you should avoid foods that have more than 5 ingredients as they will tend to be highly processed, sugary, etc..? This is true.? However, there are times when convenience will trump this rule, and sometimes we have to remember to do our best instead of opting for attempted perfection.
- These are just concepts, ideas.? You can always substitute other cereals, fruits, etc. to create something more palatable or lower in calories.
The moral of this story: No more excuses, get some breakfast in your belly to start the day.? Coffee, as much as we all love it, does not a breakfast make.
What are your quick and easy breakfast ideas?
Jonathan Aluzas is the owner of Arena Fitness Training Center, a fitness training center in Encino, Ca.