With a modification or two, this piece debuted in the February issue of our community magazine, Living @ Sun City Carolina Lakes. I thought my other readers might enjoy it too.
There is a saying to this effect:
Breakfast like a King
Lunch like a Prince
Dine like a pauper.
There may be something to that adage because recent studies have shown that reversing the usual way we approach meals, having our largest meal in the morning, is beneficial in several ways. The daily count of calories is the same, we just reverse the portion sizes. For adults it means being better able to manage weight: your body has had a big meal, is satisfied, and isn’t sending out chemical signals that ask for more. For children it means having a good start with protein for alertness and concentration at school. For seniors, just as for the children, it means enhanced memory, cognitive skills, and attention span, plus the energy to have a satisfying day.
While it isn’t the “cruelest month”, February is still one of the coldest, and the perfect month to be National Hot Breakfast Month. Unlike many foodie months that are sponsored by manufacturers, this one is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. What better way to start eating like a king than with a good breakfast. Consider the European breakfast – no, not the big British “fry-up” - that’s a heart attack on a plate! If you’ve ever stayed in one of the smaller accommodations on the continent, you’ll know what a kingly breakfast can mean. There’s usually a spread, in Scandinavia a smorgasbord, of meats, eggs, cheeses, yoghurt, fresh fruit, and hearty cereals. When in Norway though, be aware of just what is in each of those pitchers: The Norwegians like their cereal with hot buttermilk.
The idea now is “Rise and Dine.” Take a few minutes each evening to put your piece of fruit, your cup of yoghurt, your bag of granola or trail mix, your muffin, or your hardboiled egg right where you can grab it in the front of the fridge. Yes it will be cold, but it’s better than that bagel or a pop-tart. If you have time for a pop-tart you have time to eat properly. (Yes Mother!)
Challenge yourself to have at least three hot breakfasts each week. Get creative and think of ways to combine and warm those foods from the smorgasbord into a tasty meal you’ll enjoy. Get your morning protein – actually, you should have some protein at every meal – eggs, lean meats, yoghurt, and cheeses of all kinds. Have juice to wash down your meds and vitamins, a piece of fresh fruit for sweetness. You can grab and go with a banana or an apple, and as was the line on the old airline commercials: “coffee, tea, or milk.”
Many of us Seniors do take the time for a leisurely, and we hope healthy, breakfast. But there are many who rise and hurry off to run, or to the pool, or to a job or a meeting. With a bit of proper prior planning you can still have a more substantial breakfast than just grabbing a bagel and questionable cup of coffee at a coffee hangout.
There are always handy breakfast places nearby, but the average cost of breakfast made at home is only on quarter of the same breakfast out – simple math: that’s four at home for the price of one out. Breakfast out means gas and mileage on the car, much more time to get there and back, not to mention that even if you use the drive-up window, you have to be at least fairly presentable from the waist up.
Just in case you were wondering, February is also National Snack Food Month, but don’t celebrate that one too enthusiastically, you’ll undo all the good you do eating breakfast like a king.