The standard joke about social networking is everyone is telling you what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do I really care that Joe had nachos for lunch? So you may wonder why I would bore you with what I had for breakfast today.
Actually, I’d like to start a series of blogs sharing with you what I had for various meals for one main reason: I want you to see what a dietitian thinks about when putting together a meal so that you, too, can start thinking this way.
It would be terrific if with everything you eat, you always ask first: “Why am I eating this and what’s my body going to do with it?” As you know, not every food has redeeming qualities. Your mind might conjure up images of an ice cream sundae topped with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry, but your body has to deal with it. You see our minds can really get us into trouble, especially the right side of our brains where creativity reigns.
The left side of your mind might logically state that a spoonful of ice cream should satisfy your taste buds for the stuff. You really don’t need all the calories, fat, and sugar. (This just goes to show you that the left side of your brain definitely doesn’t know how to have fun!) But the more often you can enlist the left side of your brain, the better off you’ll be.
Now, as for my breakfast, it was dish of nonfat Greek-styled yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese stirred together topped with papaya, strawberries, blueberries, banana slices, and pistachios.
Before we even get to how healthy my breakfast was, just look at the dish. (Presentation is part of the pleasure of eating and the way your body receives the food you give it.) It’s pretty to look at. All those marvelous colors and behind all those colors is a cornucopia of healthy nutrients. I chose those fruits intentionally, knowing that each offered its own profile of nutrients.
When I’m selecting foods for breakfast, I first think in terms of what I’m going to have for the PROTEIN portion. For this breakfast, the yogurt and cottage cheese provide a very good amount of protein – about 20 grams. I like to combine the yogurt with the cottage cheese because Greek-styled yogurt is so creamy while the cottage cheese provides a bit of chew. The combination gives a really good mouth-feel.
I naturally gravitate toward FRUIT for breakfast and with it being summer, so many varieties are available at reasonable prices.
Strawberries: 4 of them have the amount of Vitamin C you’d get in one-half of an orange. They’re rich in folate, potassium, and fiber. And they’re rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, quercetin, and a bunch of other funny-sounding but healthy nutrients. When you can, buy organic strawberries. Strawberries are part of the “Dirty Dozen“, that is produce that contain higher levels of pesticides.
Blueberries: There is a measurement called the ORAC value that gives you an idea of just how rich a food is in antioxidants, those healthy nutrients that fight free radical damage in the body. (ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity). Blueberries are one of the richer sources of antioxidants. So, I dumped a handful on. You should choose organic when you can because blueberries are also part of the Dirty Dozen.
Papaya: I love papaya because it gives a tropical flavor to anything you include it in. Papaya is another great source of Vitamin C, along with vitamin A, potassium, folate, and fiber. Just look at its color and you know it’s loaded with carotenoids, which may, according to David Grotto in his book, “101 Foods That Could Save Your LIfe!” reduce the risk of lung and colon cancer. It also can help with digestion due to the digestive enzyme, papain, it contains.
Bananas: Who doesn’t know that bananas are a great source of potassium, which can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, as well as being rich in fiber? And even if you didn’t know why they’re good for you, they just taste great.
Pistachios: First, I love the flavor of pistachios and the nice crunch they add. With the creamy and slight chew of the yogurt and cottage cheese, topped with the sweet succulent and slight crispness of the fruit, the nuts give one additional texture to the mix. Besides, pistachios add more fiber to the dish, potassium, and many other minerals. They are the richest source of phytosterols, a nutrient that research is finding can be protective against cancer and heart disease.
Variations on a Theme
But think about all the variations of this breakfast you can make. Continue to use the yogurt and cottage cheese combination as your base. Then choose your favorite fruits, keeping in mind you want some beautiful colors in the dish. And then top it with other types of nuts such as walnuts or almonds.
Most people eat the same breakfast each morning. The beauty of creating a dish that can be changed this way is that it doesn’t require too much thinking, just selecting what’s in season.
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Tags: almonds, antioxidants, breakfast, cottage cheese, Dirty Dozen, fiber, flavonoids, fruits, Greek-styled yogurt, nuts, ORAC, papaya, pistachios, Potassium, quercetin, Spin-a-Recipe, vitamin C, walnuts