When it comes to breakfast, what is your go-to meal? Do you prefer to snack on fruit? Munch on a bag of granola? Fry up a few eggs to go along with your turkey bacon? The foods we tend to cook for breakfast are as diverse as we are. But with so many options to choose from, it can become overwhelming when you have to choose the best meal to start your day off right.
Making healthy food choices at breakfast just got a little easier. Here are a few healthy ingredient swaps to replace your questionable go-to breakfast options with ingredients that will make you a much happier — and healthier — human being.
Omelette: Use Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon
Bacon is that food that’s impossible not to love. Whether you like it crispy or tender, these delicious strips of meat are the fried delicacy you don’t want to live without. Except you could — because there are healthier ways to enjoy meat for breakfast.
Making an omelette with Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon isn’t all that different. Incorporating a healthier ingredient into an already familiar breakfast dish is a great way to start eating healthier, one small (and delicious) step at a time.
This omelette substitutes regular bacon with the Canadian variety, offering plenty of protein and not nearly as much saturated fat. You have the option to add a variety of vegetables to this recipe to create an even more filling meal that definitely won’t leave you with a grumbling stomach during your morning meeting at the office.
Cheese and Canadian Bacon Omelette (makes 2 servings)
- 3 ounces Canadian bacon, cut into strips
- 4 eggs (or egg whites)
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
- 2 teaspoons butter
- Green peppers, avocado, mushrooms, and tomatoes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, whisk eggs until fluffy. Add the bacon, cheese, and half of the fresh basil.
In a skillet (make sure it has an oven-safe handle) at medium heat, melt butter. Spoon the egg mixture into the skillet and spread evenly. Reduce to low heat and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the bottom of the omelette is golden in color.
Bake the omelette in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until a fork inserted into its middle comes out clean. Once you take it out of the oven, loosen its sides, cut across, and fold one side on top of the other. Serve hot.
Why Canadian bacon?
When choosing what you want to eat for breakfast, protein is essential — but it can be difficult to know which source to choose. Unlike the long strips of bacon you wish you could hate, Canadian bacon is lean and low in sodium. You can incorporate Canadian bacon into many of the recipes you would normally use fatty, salty bacon — with fewer consequences, of course.
Cereal: Use whole grain oats instead of sugary flakes
Why is breakfast cereal one of the first things we reach for when it is time for breakfast? Mostly, it’s because it’s convenient. It takes minimal effort to pour cereal and milk into a bowl. While not all breakfast cereals are terrible for you, there are more cringe-worthy brands than there are brands worth buying. It might be time to skip the cold cereal altogether and go for something similar — but much, much healthier.
What else starts out as a grain, ends up in a bowl, and can include milk as an essential component? Whole grain oatmeal, of course. It may not be cold, and when you’re making it from scratch at the beginning of the week, it can take longer than you might prefer. But it’s a swap definitely worth giving a try.
Oatmeal is much more fibrous than sugary breakfast cereal, which means you won’t feel hungry just a half hour after finishing a bowl of oatmeal the way you probably do after a bowl of cereal. Oatmeal also makes it easier to add fresh fruit and nuts to your bowl, providing even more health benefits. Homemade oatmeal is simple, and you can eat it over multiple days to save time on busy weekday mornings.
Steel Cut Oatmeal (makes 4 servings)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine water and milk. Simmer over medium heat.
In a 12-in skillet, over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the oats and stir them occasionally as they cook. Continue cooking until oats are golden in color, around 2 minutes or so.
Stir the oats into the simmering milk mixture. Reduce the heat and simmer on medium low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue simmering and stirring until mixture becomes thick.
Stir in the salt and continue simmering and stirring. Reduce heat gradually to prevent burning the bottom of the oatmeal. Continue until about half the liquid in the saucepan is absorbed.
Remove from heat, stir in any add-ins (see below) and portion out into bowls after cooling for about 5 minutes. If you’re adding any fruit on top, do so immediately before serving. Let the oatmeal cool completely before you transfer to a container to refrigerate for later use.
You can also add nuts to the recipe to pack in more protein. Some people prefer a variety of textures to their oatmeal, and nuts can provide a crunch that is somewhat similar to the crunchy, tasty breakfast cereal you know and love and need to not eat so much of, probably.
Why steel cut oats?
Eating more whole grains such as steel cut oats reduces your risk for a number of chronic conditions, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Unlike the majority of breakfast cereals, oats are low in sugar and packed with nutrition in every serving. Two cups of Lucky Charms cereal with milk would give you about 430 calories, while 1/2 cups of steel cut oats before adding milk would only give you about 300 calories that would actually fill you up. There are only about 30 grams of carbohydrates in one serving of steel cut oats.
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