Thursday, March 28, 2013

Enjoy Breakfast! -- Guest Post by Kelly Velasquez

30 Day Mediterranean Lifestyle Challenge

Kelly Velasquez is our Associate Director of Credentialing - Research & Quality Management. (Believe it or not, Kelly is not even in the running for the longest job title in the office.) Kelly has been a big supporter of our wellness efforts and is a long standing member of our wellness advisory team. Kelly is a swimmer and a triathlete. She is married to Eduardo who also works for ASHA and has two beautiful little girls. As you can imagine, what she doesn't have is spare time. Yet she never skips the most important meal of the day.

Like Kelly, I'm a big breakfast fan. On a good day, I might even eat two breakfasts. I can't resist this opportunity to share two of my favorite weekday breakfast recipes. (1) Cottage cheese pancakes -- these are great to make on the weekend, so you can just grab one or two before a morning workout. This is also my go to pre-race breakfast. They're great with some berries. (2) Blueberry-Coconut Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal. My friend Lee Baumgartner shared this recipe with me when I started planning this challenge. Make a 9x13 pan on Sundays and just heat a scoop up in the microwave all week. (I leave out the Stevia, skip the sauce and use plain almond milk. I like to top it with some slivered almonds and chia seeds.)

As an avid breakfast lover, I jumped at the opportunity to write about how you
can adapt your breakfast (or start eating breakfast) the Sonoma/Mediterranean way…whether you love eggs or not.  As it so happens, I love eggs, but the idea of making a frittata, or mini-muffins of eggs and veggies, or following any recipe at all, left me less than enthused. I am not typically a recipe girl, but with this diet I have followed almost all of the recipes in the Sonoma book,
Sonoma Breakfast Day One –
2 scrambled eggs with chives,
4 grape tomatoes, ½ c blueberries,
½ c spinach, 1 slice Ezekiel toast
(yes, I know, it is the one with raisins,
which I since learned we are not
supposed to have in Wave 1 –
so switch to the Sprouted or
whole grain variety)
which means that sometimes we are eating dinner at 9:30pm. Breakfast, on the other hand, has been a breeze, possibly because I plan ahead and make it at work (ideally, after taking ASHA’s Functional Training fitness class or putting in some miles outside or on the treadmill). And, while I know that you should eat something before you work out, I have to admit that years of getting up at 4:30am to swim have left my body trained to NOT eat early in the morning. So I typically wait to eat until after my workout is done, which means my breakfast can be as late as 9:00 or 10:00am – just motivates me to get showered, dressed, and ready faster!

The benefits of starting your day off with a nutritious, well-planned breakfast are well-documented and - while somewhat controversial in their presentation of ‘data’ this is alsoa pretty good read. But what do you do when you are short on time, and just trying to race out of your house to get to work? The morning rush makes it kind of hard to whip up a frittata on the stove prior to dashing out of your house. Here are some of my tips to make sure you eat a Mediterranean breakfast each day.

First off, find what works for you – timing wise, and meal-wise. You may prefer to eat at home vs at work. Or you may be a creature of habit and prefer to have the same breakfast every morning. I tend to find 2-3 breakfasts that I like and alternate them (cereal, some form of eggs, and oatmeal).  I keep a bowl
Sonoma breakfast staple –
Kashi Go Lean Crunch
(Honey Almond Flax) –
9g protein and
8g fiber per serving;
3/4 c skim milk;
½ c blueberries
and spoon in my desk, along with a box of Kashi cereal (I like the Go Lean! Crunch Honey Almond Flax flavor, while my husband prefers the Go Lean! Crisp Cinnamon Crumble one – both appear to meet the Sonoma diet guidelines as they serve up 8g fiber per serving and are whole grain). So at least once per week I only need to bring in a cup of fat-free milk in my travel mug and some fruit. I prefer blueberries which are quite tasty right now, and as you can see in the picture below. My other favorite option is eggs (sometimes I use the egg beaters, just check to see that they have omega-3s). I’ll pack up the leftover veggies from the night before in a Tupperware container (onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, etc), bring 2 eggs, and scramble them in the microwave at work. Halfway through the cooking time I may add a diced tomato, and then some shredded parmesan at the end. That with a piece of whole grain toast or with some turkey bacon (also microwaveable) makes for a great meal.

Finally – oatmeal. I pour one serving of rolled oats into a Tupperware container, cover it with half skim-milk and half water, and pack it in the fridge.
Sonoma frittata – using leftover
roasted veggies (onion, squash,
cauliflower, asparagus), grape
tomatoes, ½ c blueberries
Next morning at work, I microwave it to warm it up, and add chopped walnuts and dates and a diced apple (I particularly like Gala apples). Sometimes I add cinnamon; other times I may add raisins (but not in Wave 1 of the Sonoma Diet). Then I have 3 go-to meals ready for the week. Also, I make a frittata on Sunday, and have 2 extra servings in Tupperware for the week ahead (the Sonoma book has several frittata variations, all good – and don’t worry if your eggs don’t exactly set, as I think it is almost better tasting when it is messier).  And if all else fails, the Mediterranean Café has breakfast!

NOTE: If you are not much of an egg fan, some other options are here

Enjoy breakfast – truly the most important meal of MY day!

Additional Resources/Recipe Ideas/Articles -

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