Amy Beth

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Grain Free Breakfast: Yogurt Bowl

One of the more significant changes we’ve made as we’ve sought to cut down on the grains we eat has been in our breakfast routine. Breakfast is a meal that usually happens in a rushed state. I don’t have time to get ambitious with eggs or bacon or fancy breakfast tacos. I don’t even have time to stop and think about what options I have. I need breakfast to be the same every single day.

That used to mean cereal. We ate it everyday. I tried to be healthy and ate some hearty whole-grain variety, but I’ve since learned that grains are not necessarily the best foundation for a meal. So a few months ago we switched to yogurt, and we haven’t looked back. Here’s how we make it tasty, hearty, and healthy.

Start with a healthy foundation.

I knew that I wanted Charlie to be able to eat whatever we were eating. I’ve been trying really hard to keep him away from unnecessary added sugar while he’s still young, so I didn’t want to use any flavored yogurts. This meant we were stuck with regular old plain yogurt. Which I think is disgusting. Thankfully I’ve found ways to make it taste pretty good. And as an added bonus Charlie will happily eat plain yogurt as is and has no need for sugar in his breakfast.

Then make it not taste awful.

I’ve learned that the key to good plain yogurt is bananas. Half a banana, chopped up and mixed into the yogurt gives just enough subtle sweetness to make it taste good. You don’t need any other kind of sweetener if you have a banana on hand. Bananas have the added benefit of giving the dish some bulk and fiber, which I think helps in making you feel full and satisfied. Thankfully they are also one of the cheapest fruits around, because I now buy several pounds of bananas each week.

Then dress it up!

After the bananas you can get a little more creative. I love to add a little bit of another fruit to the yogurt to give it some more flavor. During the summer months nothing beats fresh berries or peaches. But we’ve also found that frozen fruit is an easy option during those weeks when you can’t find good fresh fruit in season. You don’t need nearly as much of this fruit in the yogurt. Often just a couple of strawberries, or 1/3 of a peach will suffice.

After the accent fruit I like to throw in a handful of chopped nuts (we leave these out of Charlie’s bowl). My favorite nuts are pecans, but since they are a little pricey I usually downgrade to walnuts. Almonds would probably work as well, but I find them to be a little too crunchy for morning chewing. Maybe that’s just me…

Go on your merry way!

We’ve found this meal to be fairly simple to prepare (although nothing gets as simple as cereal) and very satisfying. Between the yogurt, fruit, and nuts, you actually get more food groups covered in your breakfast than even the healthiest cereal could provide. The fruits provide lots of great vitamins and some fiber, while the yogurt gives calcium and protein. The nuts up the protein count and also provide some good healthy fats. Starting the day with a foundation of protein rather than carbs will help you feel fuller longer and help you get off to a good start for the day.

So if you are a cereal eater like I used to be, I would encourage you to give some yogurt a try (with bananas!). You might be pleasantly surprised!