Most people find it easy to eat Atkins-style at lunch and dinner. Breakfast is easy, too, if you get “egg-cited” about the myriad of ways in which eggs can be prepared. (For more on the incredible, edible egg, see my last blog.) But if eggs aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other delicious and satisfying breakfast options. You’ll just need to think outside the box (and not just the cereal box!) a bit.
Remember, your goal is not just to control carbs but to also get sufficient protein and fat at every meal, including the first meal of the day, so it’s important to have meat, fish, cheese, soy or another source of protein each morning. In fact, studies show that people who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight (and maintaining their weight loss) than those who skip it. The following ideas, which all come in south of 4 grams of Net Carbs, should add some variety to your mornings. Some borrow a page from another culture. Others include an egg or two, but are a far cry from two over lightly. Some of our breakfast ideas are portable, making them good for weekday mornings or any time you want to grab something and go. All serve one unless otherwise indicated.
• On-the-Run Roll-ups: Wrap slices of cheese and ham around a couple of cucumber spears and a dab of mayonnaise mixed with mustard. Or mix it up with sliced turkey or roast beef wrapped in lettuce leaves. Or wrap cream cheese in smoked salmon.
• Chocolate-Coconut Shake: Blend 4 ounces unsweetened soy or almond milk, 2 tablespoons no-sugar-added coconut milk, 1 scoop unsweetened whey protein powder, 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 ice cubes, and 1 packet sucralose (optional) in a blender until well mixed and frothy.
• Stuffed Peppers: Stuff half a bell pepper with a few tablespoons of pork or turkey bulk sausage and microwave for 10 to 15 minutes on high or in a 350°F. oven for 45 minutes. Pour off the excess fat, and serve with no-added-sugar salsa or, if desired, with a poached egg and/or grated cheese. Make a batch ahead of time and reheat individual portions.
• Corned Beef Hash. Instead of the potatoes called for in most recipes, use white turnips or chopped cauliflower. Or replace the corned beef with leftover chicken or turkey. Again, make ahead and freeze individual portions so you can pop them in the microwave.
• Veggie Hash Browns. Sauté cauliflower florets and cut-up white turnips and onions in bacon drippings until browned and tender. Add crumbled bacon or sausage and serve with no-added-sugar ketchup.
• Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms: Brush a Portobello mushroom cap with oil. Broil for a minute or two on both sides. Top with browned ground beef and some grated cheese and return to the broiler for a minute or two.
• Eggs Fu Yung: Stir-fry a sliced scallion with 1/2 cup bean sprouts in a little oil until soft, then add two beaten eggs and cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Serve with soy sauce or no-added-sugar salsa. Replace the sprouts with grated zucchini, spinach or any vegetable leftovers. Or replace the sprouts with ½ package well-rinsed and drained shirataki noodles.
• Morning Soup: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Turn down the heat and add 1 bouillon cube, 4 ounces firm tofu cut into small pieces, 1/2 package well-rinsed shirataki noodles and 1 thinly sliced scallion. Simmer for a few minutes. Ladle into a soup bowl. Or replace the tofu with chunks of leftover chicken, beef, or pork and/or add watercress or baby spinach leaves.
Also on the Menu
There’s good news for caffeinated coffee lovers. Moderate caffeine or tea intake is actually associated with improved long-term health benefits and assists in regulation of body weight. Coffee and tea contain several antioxidants and a little caffeine has the added benefit of mildly enhancing fat burning (caffeine, not coffee per se, increases fat burning).
Off the Menu
However, another common morning beverage, orange juice (along with other fruit juices), is off the table—think of it as liquid sugar, and you’ll understand why.