As a kid, growing up, I never ate breakfast. I always felt sick if I ate it too early in the morning, and before school was always too early.
Sundays though, mom would usually make something special. French toast, coffee cake, waffles, pancakes, or on special occasions, homemade cinnamon rolls. Boy, do I love her cinnamon rolls!
My kids are spoiled. They get a hot breakfast just about every day. And even when it isn’t a hot breakfast, it is most often still something homemade.
I know not every mom can do this for their kids, but it is a privilege that I have been given, and a challenge I have faced head on when combating the usual high carb, blood sugar spiking breakfasts for the sake of my diabetic child.
Lately I have embarked on a new journey after reading the book “Trim Healthy Mama.” I am not going to get into too much on the book but I do highly recommend it.
This post is going to start introducing you to some of the things I have been having for breakfast that fit “on plan” and are amazingly delicious. I do not have recipes for most of them because they are either from the book or my own take on something from the book. But they can give you some ideas. And just a bit of googling will help you to find similar recipes if you do not have the book or are looking for another take.
First, lets talk about smoothies.
I have said before how much smoothies have been a new favorite. Since being on THM that has not changed.
Here are some great ingredients for smoothies:
~Chia Seeds: This are full of fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s, and they thicken up your smoothie if you let the chia seeds sit in the liquid for an hour or longer. I like them as an alternative to the more starchy tapioca in making a pudding as well.
~Spinach: Filled with calcium and iron, spinach is one of those super veggies that works wonderfully in a smoothie. I like to freeze handfuls in ziplock baggies (use the cheap sandwich ones, squeeze out as much air as possible, and then put all the sandwich bags into a large freezer bag to save money but still protect your produce). When I make a smoothie I just pull out a baggie of spinach and throw it in the blender with my other ingredients. I think that spinach is my favorite choice because I really don’t taste it in my spinach like I do with other options (like Kale).
~Frozen Berries: Berries are filled with antioxidants, and are amazingly delicious! They also provide an amount of sweetness that is completely natural as well. Be aware that berries with seeds (like the strawberry) will leave seeds in your smoothie. Perhaps a high powered blender (like the Vitamix) would blend the seeds up but mine does not.
~Whey Protein: Make sure that you choose a cross filtered whey protein isolate that is sweetened with stevia if you are following the THM plan. Swanson’s Premium Whey Isolate is the most recommended for its quality, taste, and low cost. Whey protein is an excellent item to help add bulk to your smoothie and help you to get full enough to make it through a few hours until lunch time.
~Flaxseeds: Flax is another great source of omega-3s, lignans, and fiber. I know I can throw it into the blender, reap the benefits of the seed, and it doesn’t effect the taste of the smoothie. Start small if you are just starting out with flax as it will give you gas when you first start out from all the fiber!
~Almond Milk: You can make this at home very easily (just google it for a ton of websites that tell you how to use whole almonds to make milk) or you can buy it for a decent price. The downfall with the bought almond milk is all the additives that they put into it for taste and texture. Try to stick to the unsweetened almond milk as it is lower in carbs, calories, and fat.
~0% Fat Greek Yogurt: I love to make my yogurt at home. It is so easy and the results are far better than anything I have ever bought at the store. This is another awesome way to add protein to your smoothie and helps to thicken the smoothie up, making it nice and creamy.
~Stevia: I am in love with stevia extract powder. Although Truvia is another great option, I love how little of the extract powder I use to get a sweet result. Just a few shakes from the little container and I have a wonderfully sweet smoothie.
~Vanilla Extract: Other extracts can work too. Depends on the flavor you are going for. Vanilla is my favorite because it is relatively neutral.
~Other options are peanut butter, chocolate powder, cinnamon, pumpkin, soaked oatmeal, almonds…
Here are a few smoothies I have made in the recent past:
A strawberry concoction that includes greek yogurt, almond milk, frozen strawberries, chia seeds, and stevia. Nice and creamy but not too thick.
Pumpkin pie flavored. I used almond milk, greek yogurt, pumpkin puree (from a can), pumpkin pie spice, a little cinnamon, stevia, vanilla, and chia seeds.
Here is a green smoothie. I threw in some Matcha (Japanese Green Tea powder), spinach, strawberries, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and stevia. Blended it till it was nice and smooth.
When I build my smoothies (unless following a recipe) I start with spinach, if using, add about a cup of Greek yogurt, a cup of berries (or chocolate or pumpkin), splash of vanilla, couple of shakes of stevia, up to two tablespoons of chia or flax seeds, and however much milk (or water) is needed to thin it out. This will make a super big smoothie.
If you are having it as a side to a meal it would be best to lower the amounts. I end up sharing at least a third of my smoothies with my kids so you may find that even as a meal this may be too big.
One thing I like to do is to make up a smoothie the night before in a mason jar (which fits perfectly on my blender’s blades), place a lid on it, and stick it in the fridge. If I use chia seeds I will add them last, shake them up a bit, and allow them to do their gelling magic. Generally this will help to thicken up the shake a bit overnight. Then in the morning when I am in a hurry to run out of the house (or to nurse the little one) I can grab the jar, a straw, and dash. Breakfast in a hurry and completely healthy!
In my next post I will talk about pancakes, waffles, and French toast options that are full of powerful nutrients, easy to whip up, and delicious alternatives to the boxed or frozen version.