Friday, September 20, 2013

Breaking the Bad Breakfast Cycle

As a newlywed many years ago, I was surprised to learn that cold cereal was one of the most expensive grocery purchases I made. We had a very limited budget and this boxed item gobbled up a pretty good chunk of it.

 To make matters worse was that as a couple we were both college students, and cold cereal was pretty much a staple for us at the time. Luckily we have matured and so have our breakfast preferences. Despite this, cold cereal can still be a budget buster because of our four growing kids. My son can easily demolish a good portion of a brand-new box if he were left to his own devices. Who can resist the crunchy sweet goodness of sweetened corn? Not my 9 year old, that is for sure.

During those 4 cereal-munching years, I learned just how void of nutrition all of that cold cereal was. This high-sugar, empty-calorie meal wasn’t doing much to fuel my mind and body back then, and it still doesn’t do much for my son today.
With a new school year around the corner, many parents are searching for a way to start the day better. Both for us and our children. The answer has been here all along, just a little too simple for us to always see. Getting back to basics is the best solution.

Eggs. These little incredible protein-packed natural wonders are a perfect way to begin the day. The fat and protein they contain are filling. While my son could probably polish off an entire box of empty-calorie cereal, it would be virtually impossible for him to eat 18 eggs. And, those 18 eggs are less expensive AND much more nutritious, than the cold-cereal that had once been our habit.

Oats. This inexpensive breakfast choice is loaded with fiber! Let’s face it, most of us could do well to have a little more fiber in our diet. It has also been shown to boost immunity, which the kids could use as they all return back into the classroom. The trick to eating oats is to try it a few different ways. If you are picky about the texture, try undercooking it a bit. Also, if you are used to the taste of sweetened cereal then go ahead and add some honey. Then over time, slowly reduce the sugar that you add, and try other things. Fruit, honey, and cinnamon are all favorite ways to eat oatmeal.

Vegetables. What? Vegetables for breakfast? That’s right. Steaming some quick vegetables or even crunching on some raw ones while driving to work can be a fantastic start to the day. Add in a half avocado for some healthy fat, or even a handful of almonds. This no-fail breakfast is sure to get the day started right. And, there are no excuses with this one. Grabbing some raw vegetables and a handful of nuts takes virtually no time at all.

Give these ideas a try, even just once a week in the beginning. What do you have to lose but some expensive processed food and a sugar-high? You will find that these wholesome natural foods will provide a great energy source for your body, some attentiveness to your mind, and keep a little more money in your wallet. 

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