Ok. So, it is true, I am on a bit of a breakfast kick right now. You might even call me obsessed. But the more work I do with clients and in my research on it, the more important I truly believe that it is. So if you are a reluctant breakfaster or a non-breakfaster, or even if you are true believer and want to feel good about yourself, allow me to tell you why I think breakfast is so important….
Breakfasts have been a big topic of conversation in my world recently. Between running a workshop on it last week and multiple conversations with clients about the importance of a healthy start to the day with breakfast, it seems like people just feel stuck with breakfast.
People tell me that they just don’t have time, that they need it on the go, that they are sick of eating the same thing every day, that they can’t bear the thought of food first thing in the morning. Sound familiar? …
It is official: I am sick of winter. I know that many, many others feel the same way as I do and many of you have had a much tougher time of if than we have here in the DC area. But, man! It has been a long one. One of the saving graces, though, has been my homemade chai. It has kept me warm and been the thing I look forward to on many a cold morning this winter. …
For reasons that are unclear, there has been an organic and cage-free egg shortage that has been wreaking havoc on our food plans. We usually have a freezer stockpiled with muffins that we use for breakfasts and in school lunches. Our boys often have eggs for breakfasts. We are big fans of fried rice for a quick weeknight dinner. All of that has become much less possible when you can only get half-a-dozen eggs for more than $4……
Part of my training to become a health coach was to try an elimination diet. The idea was that in all likelihood I was going to have clients who had food allergies or sensitivities and that at some point I would probably find myself recommending an elimination diet. Elimination diets can seem pretty scary and so it was important that I be able to speak from experience about what it was like to live through a week of eliminating some of my favorite foods. So I tried it. It was challenging, but not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be, and I learned a huge amount about myself. The main thing I discovered was that while I am not allergic to wheat, it does make me very, very sleepy. The 2 o’clock slump? Wheat. The almost falling asleep while driving my kids? Wheat….
I don’t know about at your house, but things at our house have been crazy busy! One way you can tell is that our freezer has gotten very, very empty. How is that a sign? Well, it means I have been depending heavily on my leftovers stockpile for dinners, as well as my quick breakfasts stash.
So today I am replenishing my stores a bit. I made a big trip to the grocery store (first trip since our CSA ended for the season, such a hard transition) and have been whipping up some goodies. One of which is a new favorite recipe in our house: Spelt Sweet Potato Muffins.
I am going to go out on a limb here and declare it my favorite whole grain (well, it is really a seed, but we’ll just go with it). I know, I know. I’m a radical. Last night I made millet as a side for our dinner. Yet again, I was reminded how much I love it. If you have never had it, the way I like to describe millet is that it is a cross between quinoa and couscous. It tastes sort of like a nutty couscous, but it has the texture, the pop, of quinoa.
The other reason I love millet is that you can use it in so many ways! It is delicious under any sauce or stew where you might use rice, couscous, or quinoa. It is a wonderful side grain. Leftover millet can be turned into a delicious and nutritious breakfast porridge in 3 minutes. It is wonderful mixed into bread doughs and cookie batter, adding an extra crunch. It is amazing mixed into stews and soups, for an interesting texture. It is wonderful in salads (like this salmon, kale, and millet salad I had for lunch today!). You can also cook it into a thicker, polenta-style dish. Really, the possibilities are endless….
I have a confession to make. Despite all of my best efforts at introducing foods repeatedly and in different ways. Despite my numerous deep breaths and creative responses in order to avoid the battles of the wills. I have one kiddo who can be a very picky eater. The thing that really drives me crazy about it is that he isn’t always picky, just in phases. It has definitely become one of his ways to assert his independence. And right now he is going through one of those phases.
What does it look like? Well, he doesn’t really want to eat anything (except cookies and crackers, of course) and if we were willing to sit there and read a book with one hand and spoon feed him with the other, he’d think about eating, but really he just doesn’t want to be bothered. Part of the stress of it for us is that he is very small and has had weight gain and growth issues in the past. So, of course, every time he goes into one of these phases we start to worry: is he getting too skinny? will he ever grown out of his 2T clothes? etc., etc. But as his pediatrician once said, “the kid could live on air.” And sometimes it feels like he does. So we have found that in order to avoid making food an even bigger issue and an even greater source of independence exertion on his part, we have to offer the food, ask that he stay seated for family meals so we can all be together, and then let go. It can be hard….
I have always been a big fan of granola bars. I love taking a bite and getting something different each time. I love the fact that they have good-for-you stuff in them. I love that they transport well. Love them. For years and years I always had the store bought ones around and although I was aware that they were sugar-packed and not-as-good-for-you as we’d like to think/are led to believe, I sort of shrugged it off and kept on buying them. Eventually, though, I started to lose the joy in eating them and really felt a twinge of guilt every time I gave my kid one, so I decided to try to make them….
I don’t know about in your house, but in mine breakfast is always rushed. My sleepy boys sit at the table begging to have a story read to them, while I give out empty promises of reading a book if I can get lunches done in time and if they keep eating. And then there is the issue of getting healthy breakfasts into them. Some carbs, some protein, and some fruit or veggie. Phew! It can be a slog. But one thing that has made life much easier is this recipe for spinach popouts. I got this wonderful recipe from First Bites. It is great as it is, but I’ve made a few tweaks that my boys seem to love. And now, there are actually mornings when things move smoothly enough that I can sit down with them and enjoy some time together….