Breakfast Time … Part 2

My last post was all about the importance of that first meal of the day, your time to break-fast.  I have been trying to convince people for a long time that eating something in the morning is the best way to start their day as well as their metabolism.  Of course my parents were my first sounding board and have had to listen to me expound on the  virtues of just about everything especially when I first came home from Bastyr University.  When my Dad was having cholesterol issues all of those years ago, I immediately went into nutritionist mode and had him start eating the “Hearty Morning Cereal.” He has been eating it now for years.  I can remember at first that I was the one going to the health food store to buy the grains, helping him to toast them, and then using the coffee grinder to grind them up.  After all these years, he has become the master.

My Mom on the other hand was never very fond of the cereal but she knew the importance of eating a good breakfast.  I am thinking that it was a few years after my Dad started eating the cereal that Anita’s friend Susanne passed us a recipe for baked oatmeal.  Of course, as you know by now, I could not leave well enough alone, and had to make a few changes.  For one, there was too much sugar for my liking and two, at that time I was convinced that too much fat wasn’t good, so we adjusted that as well.  It became my Mom’s go to breakfast and has stayed that way for years.  Every week now, my Dad makes her baked oatmeal adding dried fruit and nuts or whatever inspires him.  This recipe can be eaten warm or cold, and can be adjusted by adding different nuts, seeds and fruit.  It can be the same every time or something new and different.  Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal

1-c. milk

3-Tbs. oil

3-Tbs. applesauce

2 eggs

3-c. rolled oats

¼ -c. maple syrup

2-tsp. baking powder

Additions: grated apple, fresh or frozen blueberries, dried fruit, any nuts or seeds you like.

Preheat oven to 350oF.  Spray an 8×8-inch pan.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Store any leftovers in the  refrigerator.

Breakfast Time

What do they always say?  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  I do agree that it is very important to start your day with a good meal.  There are many reasons why you should not skip breakfast but two of the most important reasons in my book are:

  1. If you are trying to lose or maintain your weight, breakfast is the meal that is going to kick start your metabolism. If you don’t eat something in the morning, you are wasting valuable time where you are not burning calories.  Calories in versus calories out is the mantra.  So if you don’t eat in the morning, your metabolism doesn’t start to burn calories, and now you are behind all day long.
  2. Starting your morning with a breakfast that contains some protein allows your body and it’s blood sugar to be more balanced all day long.  Try it out for yourself.  If you eat protein at every meal and every snack, you will NOT have that dip in energy in the afternoon. If you have too many carbohyrdrates in the morning and it is not balanced with protein, no matter what you eat the rest of the day, your energy will not be as even and you will experience dips throughout the day.

Experiment with it and see what makes you feel good all day long.  Is it eggs and toast? Oatmeal with nuts? Chicken Soup?  Every person is different.  See what makes you feel the best.  If you like something hot to eat in the winter time, then try out this yummy breakfast!

Hearty Morning Cereal

*This is another delicious recipe based on one in “Feeding the Whole Family” by Cynthia Lair. This was my go to cook book for a long time.  The cereal is like a cream of wheat, but more nutritious and packed with protein. You may use any grain that you like in place of the oat groats, millet and amaranth. I just like this combination because it offers some natural sweetness to the cereal. Oat groats do not contain gluten so if you are gluten free, then this combination will work for you.

½ c. oat groats

¼ c. amaranth

¼ c. millet

¼ cup walnuts

¼ cup almonds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Lightly toast all of the above ingredients in an un-greased skillet. Toast only until a distinct nutty aroma is apparent. Grind all ingredients in a coffee grinder or blender, until fine. Cook 1/3 cup of the ground cereal with one-cup milk, milk alternative or water in a small pan over medium heat. Cook until thick. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Store the rest of the ground cereal in the refrigerator or freezer.

What do YOU think?

Did anyone notice that a couple of weeks ago new dietary guidelines were put out by the US government?  Remember the pyramid from many years ago?  Well I guess it was time for another update.  I thought that it would be interesting to look at the history of their recommendations through the years.

It all started in 1943 with their promotion of the “Basic 7”:

These recommendations hung around from 1943 to 1956 when the government updated from the ‘Basic 7″ to the “Basic 4” Food Groups.  Their 4 groups were:

  • Vegetables and fruits: Recommended as excellent sources of vitamins C and A, and a good source of fiber. A dark-green or deep-yellow vegetable or fruit was recommended every other day.
  • Milk: Recommended as a good source of calcium, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, and sometimes vitamins A and D. Cheese, ice cream, and ice milk could sometimes replace milk.
  • Meat: Recommended for protein, iron and certain B vitamins. Includes meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dry beans, dry peas, and peanut butter.
  • Cereals and breads: Whole grain and enriched breads were especially recommended as good sources of iron, B vitamins and carbohydrates, as well as sources of protein and fiber. Includes cereals, breads, cornmeal, macaroni, noodles, rice and spaghetti.

I vaguely remember learning about the 4 food groups in school. These recommendations hung around from 1956 all the way until 1992 when they finally revised their “Basic 4” into the Food Guide Pyramid.  This revision was supposed to help Americans learn how much they should be eating by adding the serving suggestions next to each group.

Interestingly, the first chart suggested to the USDA by nutritional experts in 1992 featured fruits and vegetables as the biggest group, not breads. But as the big interests groups in the grain, meat, and dairy industries learned about what the nutrition experts wanted, they lobbied the USDA, which is heavily subsidized by these groups, and the pyramid was changed.[10]

This was the beginning of the low fat, high carbohydrate diet trend that was so popular in the 1990’s.  Louise Light, one of the original composers of the food pyramid warned that if Americans ate as the revised chart suggested, it “could lead to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.” How right she was!

It took until 2005 for the government to redo the pyramid again.  This was a little too late because according to the CDC, in 2005, over 1/3 of all Americans were obese, that was 72 million people.

The new pyramid added stairs to encourage exercise and let go of the hierarchical levels of foods, placing them more side to side in order to encourage an increase in the consumption of vegetables and fruit.  Unfortunately this did not help the obesity rate in the US which continued to trend upward in adults and children. In 2014, the percentage of adults who were obese reached 27.7%. This was up more than two percentage points since 2008 and is the highest obesity rate Gallup and Healthways had measured in seven years of tracking it at that time. In 2013, more Americans who were previously overweight had now moved into the obese category, while the percentage who were at a normal weight remained stable.

Unfortunately, children have not faired much better.

  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.1, 2
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1

These are some very disturbing facts.

So, finally the government as decided to update their standards.  The full report is available on the government website.  The site explains all of the new guidelines.  Here is a quick summary put out by Sheila Kealy.

Here is another way to look at it from the Harvard Medical School:

I like the way that this is laid out because it helps people to see what should be on their plate at each meal.  On the Choose My Plate website, it will help people explore more in depth the healthy eating plate.  Their are a lot of resources and information on this website to explain the guidelines in more detail.

Here are some of the other guidelines listed in the document:


Plant-based foods

Physical activity

Accessible healthy food to underserved locations. 

Water intake instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.


Saturated fats. 

Added sugar intake. 

Sugar-sweetened beverages in schools.

MARKETING of unhealthy foods to children. 

So, what do you think?  There is a lot of information on their website but I am not sure how much people will see it or seek it out.

I am curious to hear what you think about it.  Will these new guidelines change the way that you eat?  Do you already follow most of these guidelines and so are uninterested?  Are they too simplistic?

Let me know.  I look forward to hearing from you!