Hey, we're all busy.
For me mornings are usually about hitting the snooze button one or two too many times, rushing to get ready for work while answering phone calls & questions from my opening crew, purveyors & clients. Taking time out, even if it's only five minutes, to prepare breakfast just doesn't fit in to my typical morning "schedule".
Of course as I'm out buying food & supplies on my way into the kitchen I find myself wanting something to eat.
I'm one of those people for whom the mornings are when I crave something sweet the most. In the days when I used to work in hotels, the aroma wafting off the racks of fresh baked breakfast pastries coming up from the bakeshop would call to me like a siren's song. These days the temptations usually take the form of grab & go coffee shop pastries.
They are quick, convenient and seem to fill the void. However after a night's sleep and usually too much of a delay before eating at all, a bunch of empty calories, sugar & simple carbs is exactly what you do not want to eat.
What you need is solid food with a good, complex fibrous carbohydrate like ... OATMEAL!
Yeah I know, "Oatmeal? Yuck."
To be fair though, have you seen the way most people cook oatmeal? Boiling it in just water or milk and maybe topping it with a little sugar: bor-ing.
How many other grains do you tend to eat that plainly? How often do you sit down to a meal of just plain boiled white rice?
Oatmeal is so good for you though and gives you good, long burning source of energy to get your day going. Can't get yourself started with out that triple grande latte? Try switching to oatmeal for a week. Find yourself running out of gas by late afternoon? Fill your tank with some oatmeal in the morning and see what kind of mileage you get out of your body.
There are a lot of different ways I like to prepare my oatmeal to make a breakfast I really enjoy. A simple tricks is cooking it in apple juice instead of water with a touch of cinnamon and some fruit like diced apple & dried cranberries. Just be sure you use an good, natural, unsweetened apple juice rather than some sugary crap.
Of course I highly recommend adding a source of lean protein into your breakfast as well. Hard boiled eggs are a favorite accompaniment of mine.
As tasty as the apple juice trick is, I often like to jazz up my oatmeal a bit more. Let me show you one of my favorites. It's tasty, healthy, satisfies my need for sweet in morning and made ahead of time it's convenient enough to fit into my hectic mornings.
Chocolate Cherry Banana Oatmeal
Makes 3 to 5 servings
1 1/2 cups Regular Rolled Oats Don't use quick oats.
3 cups water
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1/3 cup dried tart cherries I like the Dried Monterey Cherries they sell at Trader Joes
6 scoops Chocolate whey protein powder This is where it gets a little tricky. All protein powders are not created equal, in fact they are all very different in flavor as well as quality. For this recipe I used 6 scoops (1 1/4 cups) EAS brand. It's sold commonly in a lot of stores from Walgreens to Costco. GNC's "100% Whey" brand is also a good choice.
Combine the oats, water, bananas & cherries in a medium sauce pot.
Put it over medium heat and bring to simmer stirring occasionally.
I like to mash some of the bananas while I'm stirring.
Continue to simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until thick & creamy.
Many recipes tell you to add the oats to boiling liquid but starting it cold & bringing it to a gentle simmer produces a smoother, creamier result.
Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Stir in protein powder.
I like to do all this in the evening or on the weekend when I have time and then immediately divide into microwaveable containers that can be quickly zapped for a fast breakfast.
It's pretty rich and dividing this recipe into five gives you one cup portions that make a decent breakfast: 250 calories, 20 grams of protein, 40 grams of healthy carbs.
If you are particularly active & need a bigger boast in the morning if can be divided into 4 or even three portions.
At three portions it breaks down to 413 calories, 34 grams of protein & 69 grams of carbs. If you are working out regularly, that's a good choice for your morning meal.
I'm never going to claim that chocolate protein powder is as delicious as actual chocolate but with the added richness and sweetness of the fruit, this makes a very enjoyable morning meal.
Ten minutes of cooking yesterday and I have breakfast all set for the next few days and I'm ready to face the week.