Thursday, July 26, 2012

Power Breakfast Ideas

 No matter what your kids are up to for the day, it always helps to have a strong breakfast.  Research has shown that kids who eat a better breakfast do better.  They concentrate better and have longer attention spans.  Their energy is more even and they are more in control of their actions and emotions.
All this from food?  YES!  Well, that, and sleep, and a host of other issues of course.  That being said, we could all benefit from some power breakfast ideas.

But first, what constitutes "power?"  Protein.  Kids need it just like we do.  Just a bit, but a bit of that every time they eat.  Protein means meat, eggs, fish, beans, full-fat organic dairy (preferably raw for the added enzymes and other amazing health benefits), or nuts or seeds.

If you can't manage to get protein into the meal, then it needs fat.  Good, healthy fat like butter, whole-fat organic dairy (preferably raw), coconut or olive oil, the fats from nuts like almonds or walnuts, or even animal fat like reserved chicken or beef fat, or lard from pasture-raised pigs.

In addition to one of these, the meal is best with a simple carbohydrate of some sort like fruit or a veggie.  Complex carbohydrates, when prepared properly then mixed with fiber, can really keep the body on an even keel.  

We all need to be eating whole foods-- foods that our great-grandmothers would recognize as food-- all the time.  And nothing else.

Also, it makes a difference to our bodies and our children's bodies and minds to serve organic food as much as possible, including and especially the meats and dairy.  You will be rewarded with stronger and healthier families if you make the effort to buy meat that is organic and pasture-raised, and local if you can find it.  We have so many resources around that it is not as much of an effort or expense as it once was to make sure that the raw materials that go into our babies are as good as they can be.

Fritatta idea: 1 pound of sliced new potatoes sauteed in coconut oil with an onion, then 6 eggs scrambled with the onion greens and 1/4 cup parsley are placed on top.  Baked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes to set. 
So where to start?  How can we feed our families good, solid power breakfast and get off on the right foot?
  Here are some ideas.  Try them, and once you hit on a few your family likes, repeat over and over... Enjoy!

  • Yogurt and fruit.  Make sure it is full-fat organic plain yogurt only.  Read the ingredients.  Steer clear of sugar in any form (cane sugar, sucanat, beet sugar, corn syrup, etc. are all words for the same thing-- and the artificial sweeteners are worse!). Trader Joe's European Plain Yogurt is affordable, fits the bill, and is delicious.  Try Strauss or Brown Cow as well. You can always substitute Kefir for yogurt if your family doesn't like yogurt.  But make sure to read those ingredients!
  • Yogurt and fruit with rolled oats and flaxseed meal sprinkled on top. 
  • Bacon.  Yes, I said bacon.  Buy it from pastured pigs without nitrates and save the drippings to cook with later.  Serve it with some fruit.
  • Hard boiled eggs and fruit or leftover steamed veggies like cauliflower, green beans, or broccoli.  Buy your eggs local, organic and fresh, and pasture raised if you can find it.  Chickens are omnivores, so avoid any that are fed "vegetarian" feed. They need to eat bugs to lay good eggs!  Omega-3 eggs are fine-- it just means they hens are given flaxseed meal as part of their diet, and we could all use more Omega-3's.  Shell color doesn't matter, it just indicates the breed of chicken.
  • Omelet with veggies.
  • Fritatta with veggies.  To make these, saute the veggies, then scramble the eggs and pour them over, then cover and let set on medium/ low for 10 minutes or bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees (in a cast iron skillet).
  • Fried eggs with runny yolks and cucumber for dipping.
  • Eggs in a nest (egg fried in the hole of a piece of bread) with fruit on the side.
  • Eggs any other of a zillion ways with a piece of fruit on the side.  You will stay full longer if you cook them in fat (remember those healthy fats!  No canola oil or margarine.)
  • Cheese melted on a slice of organic sourdough or sprouted bread like Grindstone Bakery's (available at Whole Foods).  Piece of fruit on the side.  Hide a tomato slice or piece of lettuce under the cheese.
  • Green Smoothie with chicken stock, banana, fresh mint, cucumber, spinach, spirulina powder, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and whey or yogurt.
  • Blue Smoothie with chicken stock, banana, frozen blueberries (half a bag of the wild ones from Trader Joe's), cucumber, spinach, spirulina powder, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and whey or yogurt.
  • Smoothies made another one of a zillion ways.  We like ours with homemade chicken or beef stock as the liquid.  Bone broths keep us healthy by boosting the immune system and adding nutrients, and I like to "hide" stock wherever I can. You could also use more cucumbers, or plain filtered water. For the protein, we use yogurt or whey, which you can make yourself by dripping yogurt overnight (it is the liquid that remains-- it is highly probiotic and high in protein).  You could also use eggs if you trust your source enough to eat them raw.  You could use nut butters as well. We add spirulina powder by Green Vibrance often (the kids don't mind the taste) as a superfood, and also add flaxseed meal and chia seeds for the fiber and Omega 3's (they each provide them in different ways).  The cucumber adds more liquid as well as upping the veggie intake, and we add spinach for the same reason-- it blends right in and leafy greens are highly nutritious.  Then comes the fruit: bananas to thicken and make the taste mild, blueberries to color it and hide any of the other flavors for sensitive pallets, stone fruit to sweeten, pineapple or mango to sweeten-- use your imagination here, as well as a bit of restraint with the fruits.
  • Muffins with hidden veggies in them.  Find a recipe that is high in eggs and shredded veggies and low in percentage of flour, and substitute whole wheat flour for white flour (or even sprouted whole wheat flour if you can find it).  Omit the sugar, and make sure to use real butter when baking them.  Our family favorites include sweet potato muffins (these have garbanzo beans in them!) and beet brownies.  Look in the cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" or read the blog for ideas.
  • Garbanzo Beans with peas and corn.  You can use frozen peas and corn, but look for organic with only one ingredient ("peas" or "corn").
  • Hummus on a slice of organic sourdough or sprouted bread like Grindstone Bakery's (available at Whole Foods).  Piece of fruit on the side.
  • Apple with almond butter.  
  • Apple with sliced cheese (full-fat organic, of course).
  • Quesadilla with fruit or peppers on the side.  Use sprouted tortillas and organic full-fat cheese.
  • Smoked salmon with fruit. Make sure to find salmon that is wild-caught and without sugar or coloring added.
  • Milk and a piece of fruit.  Buy raw, organic, full-fat.  Try the raw goat milk for variety.
  • Steel-cut oats with flaxseed meal, chia seeds, green powder, almonds, and cut-up fruit (or berries).  Soak 1/3 cup oats overnight in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of whey or lemon juice (this makes the oats more bioavailable and quicker to cook).  In the morning, bring it to a boil then lower to low until the water is gone, about 5 minutes.  In a separate bowl, soak a handful of almonds overnight.  Drain in the morning and add to the oats, along with the other ingredients. You can substitute a fried egg for the almonds.
  • Refried beans and avocado. Did you know avocado is a fruit? It also counts as a healthy fat.
  • Buckwheat pancakes.  Make sure and soak the buckwheat flour.  The "Eat Clean Diet Cookbook" has a good recipe.
  • Cottage Cheese pancakes.   Make sure you buy organic full-fat cottage cheese (surprisingly hard to find). The "Eat Clean Diet Cookbook" has a good recipe. 
  • Cottage cheese with fruit.  Again, buy organic full-fat cottage cheese.
  • Leftovers.  These would theoretically include a veggie and a meat.
  • Soup!  It's delicious any time of day, and if you can serve one with chicken stock and stewed meat and veggies in it, your family will be well-served.  Throw chicken stock in a pot on low when you wake up, and cut up a zucchini and red pepper, and cut up some leftover chicken or beef and throw that in, too.  It will be warm in no time.  Or serve leftover soup like pureed carrot or beet soup made with homemade chicken stock and beans.

Need more information?  Look up the Weston Price Foundation at or read a book like "Nourishing Traditions" (which also has a host of recipes), "Eat Fat, Lose Fat," or "The Raw Milk Revolution."

Where can I find whole, organic, local foods?  Try Whole Foods Market, or a local fruit, vegetable, or meat club CSA.  Also look for the Farmer's Markets in the area and talk to the farmers.  Often you can save money if they are pesticide-free but not certified organic, or if you create a relationship with them.  Or start a little garden in your yard!

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