What are you eating for breakfast these days? Green tea and a protein bar? McSomething? Coffee and a doughnut?
Seeing Michelle Obama with the new USDA food plate (replacing the old pyramid) has me rethinking how my own food habits stack up. I’ve decided that at midlife, I can’t afford to be careless about my diet choices.
I usually have a yogurt with some chopped almonds or walnuts. It’s fast, heart healthy and satisfying. But maybe it’s time to shake it up a bit. The weather is warmer, and I don’t want that same old cereal weighing me down. But what else is there? As a former caterer, I read recipes like some folks read magazines. Often I turn to the Internet for inspiration, and recently I stumbled upon an idea that might just change my morning routine: breakfast salad.
I got the idea from behavior-change expert Mark Stibich, PhD, who blogs at About.com/Longevity. He suggests that a salad is a great way to get our vegetable servings early in the day and to avoid that midmorning slump from carb-heavy breakfast alternatives. His go-to morning meal includes greens (bagged to save time) and a hard-boiled egg, with some almonds and red pepper strips. Easy enough.
In a few keystrokes, I discovered many breakfast salads from which to choose. One recipe I can sink my teeth into—pardon the pun—from the Food Network is spinach, egg and lean Canadian bacon. I could put this salad into a half pita if I need to eat on the go. (OK, I know I should be sitting at the table to eat. . .)
One common theme I notice about the breakfast salads is that they try to start with familiar breakfast fare—a citrus or a granola, and an egg, either hard or soft-boiled. The greens are a main ingredient, but how about cinnamon croutons or a maple-walnut dressing? The possibilities are mouthwatering.
I usually associate blueberries with breakfast, but often they end up in pancakes or muffins. To get a healthy dose of fruit and vegetables by 7am, I may try a blueberry and orange combination on top of spinach with a quarter cup of granola for crunch (recipe below). When blueberries are in season, try using fresh instead of frozen in the vinaigrette recipe below.
I feel better all day after eating a healthy breakfast, and I want to add fruits and veggies to my daily intake. If breakfast salads have worked for your healthy lifestyle, please let us know.
Blueberry Breakfast Salad
(Adapted from fruitandveggieguru.com)
Blueberry vinaigrette (recipe below)
½ pound mixed, torn salad greens
1 cup blueberries
1 cup orange sections or canned mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup granola
Toss greens with 3/4 of the blueberry vinaigrette. Divide the dressed greens between two plates. Arrange 1/2 of the orange sections and 1/2 of the blueberries on top of each salad. Sprinkle each salad with 1/4 cup granola. Drizzle remaining dressing on top. Serve immediately.
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup blueberries
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp minced shallot
Pinch kosher salt, ground white pepper and paprika
Combine ingredients in food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Chill 30 minutes to blend flavors.