Monday, September 7, 2009
If I had to pick a desert island meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) my vote would be breakfast, hands down. It is my favorite meal of the day and has been for as long as I can remember. I don't know if its the homemade cottage cheese pancakes we ate growing up or the 'breakfast for dinner' nights when my dad was in charge of cooking. I think breakfast is the perfect mix of textures, temperatures, and tastes. Crispy crunchy hash browns nestled on a plate with soft cooked eggs and rye toast-mmmmmm. Our moms were right-breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
I cringe when I walk my son to school and see kids running into the building with a Cliff bar for breakfast. I've written about the importance of breakfast before but, with school in session I think its worth repeating. Think of breakfast like fuel. What you, or your kids, eat in the morning fuels you (or them) for a good part of the day. While it is so easy to order a scone or muffin with your morning coffee, easy doesn't always equal good. The sugar high you get initially will come crashing down soon enough, making you hungry and tired.
The better choice is the 10 minutes it takes to make something else for breakfast. Whether its homemade pancakes or French toast (SO easy!), eggs cooked just the way you like them with whole wheat bread, or oatmeal with dried fruit, these simple breakfasts keep you going hours longer than something sweet (or worse, nothing at all). Same goes for your kids-get up a few minutes early and make them breakfast. You will be shocked at how much better their days go. They have the energy to focus and pay attention, they don't get tired and bored, and their stomachs wont be growling an hour later.
My cottage cheese pancakes take literally 2 minutes to mix together and another 2-3 to cook (and so much tastier than any mix). Homemade French toast? Just whisk together an egg or two, a pinch of cinnamon and sugar, a pinch of salt, and a bit of vanilla. Add an equal amount of milk and you've got a batter (ok, a custard). Heat a non-stick skillet with a bit of butter over medium heat, dunk your bread in the batter, and cook in the pan until nicely browned on both sides-total time, probably 10 minutes. Serve these things with yogurt or fruit and you will start your day off much happier than usual.
Now don't get me wrong. I love to bake and am a sucker for a home made coffee cake or a cinnamon roll. I just try to make these things special treats instead of every day things. Save them for Sunday brunch or a day when you are gathering with friends. The rest of the week, set that alarm 10 minutes early and try make a real homemade healthy breakfast. You'll be glad you did.