By Reba Ray
One of Tamara Jane’s strategies for a stress-free morning routine is to make breakfast grab-and-go-able. Not exactly a novel concept, is it? Purveyors of breakfast grub have been tryin’ for the last decade or more to make it convenient for busy people to eat their grub on the run. Problem is, a lot of what has resulted is high-carb garbage. Some popular go-grub breakfast choices are yogurt, granola bars and instant oatmeal and they are loaded with sugar and may lack fiber. They’re better than nothin’ but I’m gonna steer away from the obvious and steer ya toward some simple grabbable grub that is healthy, easy on the budget and stuff you might not have thought about takin’ on the run.
My jumpin’ off point was to ask myself, “What’s a good breakfast?” If time and a busy life-style weren’t interferin’, what would I make myself for breakfast? Some of my favorites are: half of a multigrain bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon; a cheese omelet with some fresh fruit; a bowl of shredded mini wheats; pancakes; and oatmeal with lots of fruit and nut add-ins. Mmm Mmm – those ‘er some good breakfasts. Now, let’s see what we can do to create a grab-and-go version of each of these favorites.
Some of these ideas are so simple that I’m hopin’ I don’t insult yur intelligence by fleshin’ ‘em out a bit. Most require a little prep the night before. Not as convenient as a granola bar, but a much healthier choice. Invest in a reusable lunch bag and load it up the night before with a Juicy Juice box or yur own reusable travel cup (or water bottle) with 100% juice or milk. Limit yurself to eight ounces of these high cal liquids. If yur thirstier than that, how about a blend of herbal tea with a few ounces of fruit juice. Drink all you want of that. Don’t forget the napkin because all these foods can be eaten with yur fingers.
Multigrain bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon: All you have to do is put this together the night before and wrap in foil. Sit it front n’ center on the fridge shelf and it will take you all of 5 seconds to get breakfast in the morning. I will say that the smell of smoked salmon might not make you the most popular person in a carpool. Another drawback is you shouldn’t toast the bagel cuz it’ll end up too chewy. No matter, this is still a healthy favorite!
Quiche and fresh fruit: Wash and chunk cantaloupe mixed with some strawberries or grapes the night before and put it in a small Rubbermaid container. Quiche on the go sounds trickier, but it’s not really if you’ll make yur quiche ahead in paper (not foil) muffin cups. Click here for a quiche recipe that uses cottage cheese and buttermilk (don’t knock it till you try it!), resultin’ in a healthy quiche. Yields 10 muffins – breakfast all week! If ya get tired of the same thing, freeze the rest of the muffin quiches and pull ‘em out the night before to thaw in the fridge. These suckers are gonna need 25 seconds (for 2 muffins) in the microwave to bring to room temperature, so this breakfast may actually take a full minute to pull together.
Bowl of shredded mini-wheats: That’s my favorite cereal, but this will work for yur favorite too. Dish a cup of dry cereal into a sandwhich baggie. And load a travel cup half full with milk. Toss a spoon in yur reusable lunch pale and you can eat that cereal on the bus, train, in the carpool or once you get to work by just pourin’ the bag of cereal into the travel cup. You can prep all this the night before and leave it in the fridge. I do not recommend eatin’ anything with a spoon while you drive, so if the only time you have for breakfast is time behind a wheel, just eat the cereal dry and wash it down with the milk.
Pancakes: OK, we’re gonna have to do a little compromisin’ here. Obviously, we’re not gonna be pourin’ syrup out as we drive and who has time to make pancakes in the morning! Make a small batch of pancakes the night before and put ‘em on a microwave-safe plate, covered with foil or plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. In the morning, pull ‘em out and stick ‘em in the microwave for 40 seconds (3-4 pancakes). As they’re heatin’, take out yur sweetin’ agent of choice: jam or powdered sugar. Spread jam on two pancakes and top them with the other two, making a couple of pancake and jam sandwiches. Or sprinkle all the cakes with powdered sugar. Wrap them in the same foil or plastic wrap they were covered with before and off you go.
Oatmeal with Mix-ins: If you like granola bars, you oughta take that experience up a notch with the granola made from scratch. It’s easy to make and fun to experiment with. Make yurself a batch of homemade granola with any and every kind of add-in and flavorin’ yur heart desires: dried figs, ginger, dates, pineapple, cranberries, cherries, apricots, banana chips; chocolate, butterscotch, white chocolate and toffee chips; any and every kind of nut; pumpkin, sunflower, flax and chia seeds and wheat germ; vanilla, rum, almond, lemon or orange extract; and a blend of spices like ginger, cinnamon, ground clove, allspice, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg or anise. Once you’ve got yur custom blend, take out what you’ll use in three-day’s time and freeze the rest. I recommend freezin’ one cup per sandwich bag, then put six sandwich bags in a large freezer bag. Then you can just pull out a bag of granola the night before and let it thaw on the counter. Eat granola like a cereal (same tips apply as for the mini-wheats), mix it in with a yogurt, or pop it right in yur mouth like trail mix.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and yet it comes at an awfully inconvenient time for the workin’ or studyin’ girl. But with a little bit of effort to prep tomorrow’s meal tonight, you can grab a breakfast for the road in less than a minute out of yur mornin’ routine.