Saturday, June 14, 2014

Change-it-up Breakfasts

So, I have been eating what I thought was a healthy breakfast of shredded wheat cereal and milk during the work week for about a year now, and healthy snacks of AkMak crackers and Trader Joe's brand Triscuits throughout the day. I would eat other stuff with it and for lunch, of course, but I noticed that almost daily I was having problems with feeling bloated and having heartburn. Sorry if that's TMI, but I finally got to the point where I realized I either needed to change my diet or medicate myself to take care of the problem. Heartburn over an extended period of time is not good for the body and can lead to cancer down the road, so I knew I needed to take care of the problem. I am not a fan of medication if I can alter my behavior/diet instead. What I wasn't sure of is the root of the problem, exactly: too much fiber or too much gluten? A little bit of both? I decided to cut all those items out of my diet for a while and replace them with gluten-free items. So, I am eating gluten-free crackers and popcorn/rice cakes with my snacks throughout the day, and finding them quite tasty, actually. My most exciting change, though is breakfast. What to do that isn't milk and shredded wheat, is low in sugar, and can be prepared quickly in the morning? I came up with a few options I thought I'd share here...

First, a bit on the prep: Buy a bag or jar of bacon bits. Not the fake junk, the actual stuff. And get some green onions and tomatoes and chop them up on Sunday, keep them in a leftover container for the week. Take a pound of bulk breakfast sausage, cook it, and divide it up into two ounce portions that you freeze and can take out on Sunday to thaw. Buy a pint size container of egg whites from the store to keep on hand. And shredded cheese, or a block of cheese that you shred yourself, is a must to keep on hand. I have a block of Monterrey Jack cheese that I cut up into 1 oz. cubes. I shred one cube on my grater, using the smaller holes so that it's finer and you get more with the same amount of cheese.

Breakfast tacos: I was quite proud of these. Take one of the 2 oz. containers of sausage and use half of it for this recipe. In a small frying pan, heat the sausage, and add chopped green onions. When this is all heated, add 1/3 cup of the egg whites, which equals 2 eggs, to the pan and scramble them until your preferred doneness. In the meantime, take two corn tortillas and place them on a microwave safe plate. Wet a paper towel and don't wring it out entirely. Set it on top of the tortillas for a minute before microwaving it, with the paper towel still on it, for 30 seconds. This should be enough time to steam them properly. You only need about a half ounce of cheese for these since everything has so much flavor already. Place half of the cheese directly on the tortillas, then top with half of the scrambled egg mixture, then the rest of the cheese. Top with chopped tomatoes and more green onions and salsa, if desired. Or whatever other topping you might want. This is very filling I have found. It can also be done with bacon if you like.

Egg Bowl: This is one of my new favorites. This one requires some prep work the night before you plan on making it. Get a bag of the potatoes O'Brien, the hash browns with onions and bell peppers in it, and take one 3/4 cup portion, which is a single portion, and fry them up in a frying pan with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When it's done, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge until the next morning. Use 1oz. of sausage and reheat it in the frying pan with more green onions and tomatoes until heated through. Add 1/3 cup of egg whites and scramble until finished. Take the plastic wrap off the bowl of potatoes and reheat for about 45 seconds in the microwave. Again, you only need about a half ounce of cheese for this. Place half the cheese on the potatoes before topping with the scrambled egg mixture. Top that with the rest of the cheese and more tomatoes and green onions if desired. Mix these all together and there you go! Again, this can be done with bacon if you want.

Oatmeal: I had a hard time working this one out. I have a love-hate relationship with oatmeal. It's so good for you but I never find it lasted very long for me before I was starving again, and took so much brown sugar to make it palatable that I didn't want to eat it anymore. I read in a cookbook once about ideas for adding savory toppings to it instead and decided to experiment with that. The one I worked out seems to do very well for me. Take a serving of oatmeal, which is 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup water, and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle it with a little bit of salt and add one tablespoon of the bacon bits to it. One tablespoon equals one strip of bacon, not too horrible, really. Stir this together and microwave for 2.5 minutes or until done. And that's it, it's flavored enough to be palatable, but without the sugar. I might try this out with milk or half milk and half water, just to get a bit more calcium from it.

I have not done this one yet but I want to try out an egg McMuffin with Canadian bacon, the egg whites, and cheese on an English muffin. I might try topping it with sliced tomatoes and green onions too. This of course has gluten, but if done in moderation instead of daily, might not present too many issues. Plus, maybe there is gluten-free English muffins out there if I look for them. I can't vouch for it yet, but that's my game plan.

I have been doing the oatmeal Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the tacos or egg bowl Tuesday and Thursday. This way I don't eat too much eggs and sausage and I don't get sick of oatmeal. It's a good way to divide it up. My heartburn is much less than it was and I feel healthier. I definitely do better with a higher protein diet. I've even, oddly enough, actually lost some weight while eating like this. It takes some coordination and prepping on the weekend or the night before, but it can be done. Each of these takes less than ten minutes in the morning, significantly less time for the oatmeal. I would highly recommend this to anybody looking to change up their breakfast routine, or eat less gluten throughout the day.


  1. I read the recipes to Neil - he is eager to try them. He is so bored with his breakfast routine. Thanks, Summer!

  2. Hey, glad I could help! I hope you guys enjoy it!