I am not sure there is anything about my adolescence that drove my parents more nuts than my downright refusal to get out of bed in the morning. They would call my name from downstairs, and I’d roll over, pull the covers up tight and pretend not to hear. I’d sleep until the last possible minute, then race around the house frantically getting dressed and packed up for the day. Inevitably, I would miss the bus and my father would angrily drive me to school, making him late for work. Now, twenty years later, I still hit snooze at least twice too many times and then race through my routine in order to catch the bus. The only difference, of course, is that there’s no one there to bail me out when I push it too far. Although he does a lot to help me out the door, Andrew is not about to drive me to Boston!
So on crazy weekday mornings, when finding matching socks takes up far too much time and I’m lucky if I can blow-dry my hair, I like to be prepared in the kitchen. I’ve learned that making breakfast and lunch at that hour is a challenge, especially as the kids are waking up, needing breakfast of their own as well as a brief window of togetherness before the day starts. And, oh yes. I gave up coffee. So there’s that…
I do as much as I can ahead of time, either cooking or assembling on the weekend or the night before. Here are three of my three favorite breakfasts-to-go (all gluten and dairy free):
I make a big batch of quinoa on Sunday afternoon. Then, the night before, I add fresh or frozen fruit, a handful of nuts, and a splash of almond or coconut milk, and then sprinkle some cinnamon and chia or flax seeds on top. In the morning, all I have to do is warm it up and put it in my Thermos, and a hot breakfast is ready when I get to work. (You could just as easily warm this up and eat it at home or before you leave the house).
This recipe is adapted from one I received from Annie Wagoner at Core Nourishment. Annie showed me that you do not need milk and cheese to make a fabulous protein-and-vitamin rich breakfast to go. First, heat a heavy-bottomed pan with coconut or olive oil on medium heat. Then, simply saute whatever veggies you’d like, but try to include dark leafy greens and a variety of colors. (I love rainbow chard, sweet potato, yellow bell pepper and red onion, to name a few.) Spread cooked vegetables out in a 9×13 baking dish and pour 8-10 whisked eggs over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes. When cool, cut into individual servings, wrap in parchment paper and save for breakfast later in the week.
In Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, she says a Vitamix is an absolute must in the kitchen. I have to disagree. My 15-year-old, $20 blender works wonders – grinding up apples, greens and other healthy goodies with no problem. While I change up the ingredients daily, this is my favorite go-to-breakfast of all. There are a zillion combinations of power smoothies, but my general rule of thumb is to start with greens (kale, swiss chard, collards, spinach, etc.), add some fruit for natural sweetness, flax or chia seeds for protein, fiber and energy, almond or coconut milk for a dairy-free and vitamin-rich base, and possibly more protein. I normally don’t add any more sweetener, but you could add just a Tablespoon of maple syrup or honey if you’d like.
One of my favorite combinations is a tropical blend that makes a cold, dark winter morning in Maine more bearable. I blend ½ cup of pineapple, 1 banana and 1 cup of coconut milk with a handful of kale, a sprinkle of chia seeds and a splash of vanilla extract. Orange and mangoes are also great additions to this citrus power smoothie.
What are your favorite fast, healthy breakfasts?