Health & Wellness, Healthy Kids, Uncategorized

My Favorite #momhacks for Breakfast

It’s no secret that breakfast can be a struggle with new moms. (Heck, its a struggle for MOST people.) In pregnancy, you may be dealing with morning sickness. When the baby is finally here, you may be so sleep deprived that you can’t remember if you ate or not. You only have one hand to make something with anyway, since the other arm is home to a new (and totally adorable) little resident. So maybe you grab something prepackaged to eat with one had (pop tarts anyone?) or maybe you get a few sips of (now cold) coffee down.

Once the baby turns into a little human, aka toddler, you’re trying to keep them from dumping out the cat food while rushing around getting yourself ready and packing their bag. Or maybe you’re making them whatever they loved yesterday, only to watch it end up on the floor because clearly they wanted the thing they hated yesterday instead. ::cue tantrum::

Although we “know” that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (because they keep saying it, right?) all of the stress in a busy morning combined with not enough sleep (there will come a day when night waking is in the past, but today is not that day) causes us to either skip it entirely or rely on whatever we can grab from the pantry (hello GoGurt and cookies) or the drive through (come to me you beautiful venti caramel macchiato). Breakfast for a new mom is often an afterthought. And by letting it stay this way, we are setting ourselves up for a day of hunger, cravings, mood swings, and the like thanks to imbalanced blood sugar.

The thing is, you don’t have to go from eating a stale doughnut from the break room at work on the regular to organic, pasture raised egg frittatas with a side of heritage pork sausage (nitrate free, of course) over night. There are plenty of small and sustainable changes you can make wherever you are along the spectrum to make breakfast a better meal for you overall. Once you’ve mastered one change (swap out that doughnut for a greek yogurt), you move on to the next step (swap the yogurt for eggs). Through step wise implementation like this, you will be able to make long and lasting changes.

Even with a minor swap, you can begin to feel the benefits of a good breakfast right away. Getting great nutrients into your body for your first meal sets up your body chemistry to either support you or fight against you for the remainder of the day. Solid nutritional breakfasts can help you control cravings all day long, prevent that 2pm slump, and even help you get to sleep better at bedtime. With that in mind, here are the top 3 things to be working towards for a great breakfast:

  • Eliminate (or greatly reduce) added sugar in breakfast
  • Choose foods that are nutrient dense
  • Make sure there is a balance of protein and fat in the meal

If you are going to be reducing sugar in any place in your life, breakfast is the place where you will get the most “bang for your buck” When you have a lot of sugar at breakfast, you start the day off pumping a ton of insulin into your body to metabolize all the sugar you just ate. This creates a chain reaction where you have blood sugar highs and lows throughout the day. This also stops you from burning any stored fat for energy and can mess with the hormones that tell you if you are hungry or full.

Here are examples of typical grab-and-go items that are often used for breakfast that have a ton of extra sugar in them: nonfat flavored yogurt, granola, granola bars, cereal with nonfat milk, instant oatmeal packets (flavored), premade meal replacement drinks (think carnation instant breakfast or slim fast), a special k bar or similar, etc.

Do not feel bad if these are your staples! But do try one or two of the healthier options on this list: full fat greek yogurt (vanilla if you need a flavor), plain full fat yogurt (better choice than flavored, add frozen berries), plain instant oatmeal (again add berries), Kind bars (the ones that are 5g of sugar or less per bar), a protein shake, a green smoothie, hard boiled eggs, and/or a piece of whole fruit.

 

Once you have swapped to the healthier items above or if you are ready to take your breakfast nutrition even further try some of my favorite #momlife breakfasts listed below. These all meet my personal breakfast criteria: they can be made in advance in a batch for the week or can be made in less than 5 minutes (including dish cleanup), they can be eaten with one hand, they are a great balance of nutritionally dense food and will keep you full, they taste amazing, and they have no added sugar.

So go ahead and try some (or one) or these for a week (or day). Pay attention to how you feel after a few days. Do you have fewer cravings? Are you full for longer? Do you have more energy? If you experiment let me know how it goes!

*to make the Paleo Protien Pancakes, we use this pancake mix and add one scoop of this protein powder. You get 10g of protien per pancake, and they are delicious! I like to make a large batch on Sundays so I can give the kids 2 cakes (no syrup) during the week for an easy breakfast for all of us.

Recipes

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This is one of our favorite easy breakfasts to make for those days when you need to be up and out of the house quickly. By preparing everything the night before, you will only need to eat and go in the morning. It’s also a great breakfast to make when you have relatives or house guests staying with you, because everyone can wake up on their own schedule and serve themselves. These overnight oats have staying power to keep you satisfied until lunch, especially if you add in some healthy fats or protein.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large apples (we love Gala or Red Delicious)
  • 4 TBSP cinnamon
  • 3 cups of steel cut oats
  • 3 cups of coconut milk (or 2 cans)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3 scoops of Sunwarrior Classic Plus protein powder (natural or vanilla flavor, this is optional)

Instructions:

Chop the apples into cubes and place them into a 6qt crock pot. You do not have to peel them! Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of the apples. Set the crock pot on HIGH for 1-2 hours.

Once the apples have softened, pour the oats over the apples. Add in the 3 cups (or 2 cans) of coconut milk and the 3 cups of water. If you decide to include the protein powder, mix it with 1 cup of additional water and add to the crock pot. Gently stir the crock pot mixture together.

Turn the crock pot to the KEEP WARM setting. Cover and leave overnight (8-10 hours).

In the morning, serve and enjoy! You can add additional coconut milk (or your milk of choice), chia seeds, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and/or berries.

Recipes

Eggless Banana Oat Pancakes

While on vacation last week, we visited my cousins (who are awesome by the way) for a weekend. The large family breakfast that was planned for Sunday morning was pancakes (yum!), but there was a tiny problem: we forgot to get a gluten free pancake mix for me and my daughters. Now, while I can certainly get by eating eggs and various fruit and veggies for breakfast, my poor 3 year-old isn’t quite able to take the high road yet when everyone else gets pancakes but she doesn’t. I needed gluten free pancakes, and I needed them quickly.

Time to do one of my favorite things: invent a recipe through improvisation!

We had a lot of bananas in the kitchen and my cousin knew how to make “pancakes” using just eggs and bananas. BUT… we ran out of eggs (I know, I know – big oops there). Luckily, she had flax seed which can be used as an egg substitute in baking. I ground up the flax seed needed and mixed it in with the bananas but wasn’t getting anything that resembled pancake batter, so I decided to add some oat flour to the mix (which you can make by grinding up plain whole oats). Then I drew on some lessons that I learned while working on the Perfect Breakfast Muffin and added in baking soda and baking powder to make the pancakes more fluffy. (Side note: if you look at any store bought pancake mix, the baking soda and powder is already in there which is why you don’t usually need to add it.)

Finally, the batter got to the right consistency and we tried them out. I’m happy to say that they were delicious! Once we added the blueberries, they were naturally sweet and didn’t even need syrup. My toddler and 10 month old both gobbled them up, and many of the relatives who can eat gluten tried them and thought they were delicious as well.

So here is the recipe. Let me know what you think!

Pancakes on the griddle

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 TBSP flax seeds
  • 1 C whole oats (steel cut preferred)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 pint of blueberries (optional)

Instructions:

Using a coffee grinder or bullet blender, grind the flax seeds into a fine powder. Grind the oats into a powder. Mix the flax seed powder, oat powder, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl.

Mash the bananas and the water together until you get a smooth liquid (you can do this using a blender if you have one). Mix the banana/water liquid into the dry ingredients. Add additional water gradually until the batter is the right consistency (should be a little runny).

Heat a griddle to 350F and grease with a little butter or coconut oil. Pour pancake sized dollops of batter onto the griddle. If you want to add blueberries, place several on each pancake. Allow them to cook for about 3 minutes. The pancakes ready to flip when the edges firm up and there are small bubbles rising through the batter.

Flip the pancakes and cook for another 3 minutes.

Enjoy!

Delicious Pancakes

Recipes

Perfect Breakfast Muffins

It was quite a process to find a “perfect” breakfast muffin. I had some pretty strict criteria: it had to be simple to make, easy to cleanup, gluten free, be nutrient dense and keep you full, no extra sugars, taste amazing, and be toddler approved. Could such a unicorn muffin exist???

In short: yes! I started with this basic recipe. After much experimentation, I give you my “Prefect Breakfast Muffin” recipe below. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can easily change out the “add-in” for variety. My personal favorite here is 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes and 3 TBSP of chia seeds. We also love 1 cup of wild blueberries and lemon zest. This is your chance to get creative, which is half the fun of cooking. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 2 extra large eggs (or 2 large eggs plus one egg white)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 1/2 C FULL FAT plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 scoops Sunwarrior Classic Plus protein powder (side note: this brand is the BEST out there, and the classic plus powder is amazing for adding into baking recipes as a substitute for some of the flour)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2-1 C add-ins (like blueberries, cacao nibs or chocolate chips, flax seed, coconut flakes, etc)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the add-ins in a blender (or food processor). Blend on high speed until the batter is smooth (about 1-2 minutes).

Add the add-in to the batter and pulse the blender to mix them in.

Grease a 12 muffin baking pan using coconut oil. Pour the batter into equal portions in each muffin cup.

Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.