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Breaking the Breakfast Barrier

Why was breakfast fun when you were a kid? Because Mom made it, it was probably sugary, and you didn't have to do the dishes!

Now you're the whole show, maybe for the rest of the family, and there's just never enough time in the morning to get the kids to school and for you to get what most nutritionists have pegged as the most important meal of the day. You know that sugar coating is not good, that persons who eat breakfast have an easier time maintaining their weight than those who don't, and a news report just informed you that breakfast-skippers don't perform as well at school or on the job. What a dilemma!

Can you make a breakfast that's convenient, quick and healthy? Sure, and here are a couple of examples.

The Thirty-Second Slammer. Atkins it's not, but it's quick, healthy and tasty. A cold cereal is still at the top of the list for most Americans, but without sugar it usually tastes like wet cardboard. It takes literally about 30 seconds (I timed it) to slice half a banana or a couple of strawberries, or dump some blueberries or raspberries in the bowl before adding milk. If you can't take dairy products because of lactose intolerance, the latest soy milks, with their subtle-not-sweet flavors give you even better nutrition.

Sweet, Hot and Easy. Perfect for cold mornings: oatmeal and spice. Not the individual packets, which have way too many calories, but regular (not instant) oatmeal. Pop it in the microwave with a little skim milk, soy milk or other substitute (easy on the non-dairy coffee creamers with their load of trans fat) for about one minute and 45 seconds. Then sprinkle some cinnamon and a few raisins over the top. (Recent studies suggest that about 'teaspoon of cinnamon per day can help to lower cholesterol levels, and might also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.) Ignore the longer microwave cooking directions on the box; overheating spoils the flavor.

If you can spare another 30 seconds, try the fruit here, too.

High-Tech Omelette. Non-stick fry pans, egg substitutes and frozen veggies make it a breeze to have a filling, heart-healthy breakfast with no fuss and minimal cleanup. Preheat the pan and pour in the Eggbeaters or something similar. (These are not artificial eggs, they're egg whites with a little coloring, vegetable oils, tofu, etc.) If you think of it the night before, pour some frozen stir-fry vegetables into a measuring cup (1/2 cup per serving) and let it thaw in the refrigerator. That helps it to cook a little faster in the morning. Besides stir-fry vegetables there are plenty of other choices in the frozen foods section.

When the eggs are partly cooked, toss in the veggies.

Anything that needs cleaning up can go into the dishwasher and you and the kids can be on your way.

Breakfast Au Natural. The ultimate in speed and convenience, but which will likely keep hunger away until lunchtime, it's nothing more than a few ounces of yogurt to which you add two handfuls of trail mix. The latter will cover the blandness of the yogurt, but choose it carefully. Skip the ones with chocolate chips!

About The Author

Philip J. Goscienski, M.D. is a pediatric infectious diseases specialist with a 45-year career in clinical and academic medicine. Dr. Goscienski has written for the Saturday Evening Post and Currents, the national newsletter of the American Heart Association and is a featured writer for North San Diego County Magazine. He has drawn on his interests in biology, anthropology, paleopathology and physical fitness to develop Better Life Seminars, a series of presentations in which he explains how our most distant ancestors lived, and how we can apply this knowledge to extend our healthspan and avoid the major chronic diseases of our age. His book, Health Secrets of the Stone Age is based on his seminars, and on the most recent findings in medical and anthropological research. It is scheduled for a January 2005 release date. You can visit his web site at www.stoneagedoc.com.


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