By Kristin Tallodi dietetic intern at the University of Saint Joseph
We all know that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, however how many of us dietetic interns dash out the door without grabbing something to eat? We know it’s important not to run out on an empty stomach and yet some of us might be guilty. There are many benefits to eating breakfast and one of them is to jump start your metabolism. Breakfast literally “breaks the fast” and starts your day with the energy and vitality you need to get through the long internship hours. Your body is like a car and it needs fuel to run especially your brain. You cannot be your best and brightest with an empty, growling stomach. When your body is low on energy you will not be able to concentrate, and easy tasks will become hard. This is not a good impression to make on your preceptors. You want to give your internship your full attention.
The biggest excuse many of us give is that there is not enough time. We spend a tremendous amount of time at our rotations, driving, studying, and working on projects. The last thing on our minds sometimes is food. A great strategy I’ve kept from my body building years is to prep my food for a few days so I can grab and go. On Sundays I plan what I will eat for the week and cook in bulk. Some of the things I cook for the week include egg white bites, hard boiled eggs, and protein muffins. Another great strategy is to slow cook a big pot of steal cut oats with sliced apples and cinnamon the night before or to make overnight oats by soaking old fashioned oats in yogurt, almond milk, and fruit. Another excuse some people use to not eat breakfast is they do not like to cook. If cooking is not your thing then there are plenty of grab and go options like greek yogurt and a piece of fruit, a bowl of whole grain cereal and skim milk, whole grain waffles topped with nut butter and sliced banana, instant oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, or a Kind bar. Smoothies also take minimal prep and can be easily customized depending on your taste.
Maybe you are good about getting up early and making breakfast but are fresh out of ideas. One of my favorite things to make is a protein pancake. In a magic bullet I mix up about 3-4 egg whites, 1/2c dry oatmeal, ½ scoop of protein powder and a sprinkle of cinnamon and I cook like a pancake in a skillet. I top it with almond butter and microwaved frozen berries. You can use the same recipe and cook it in a large mug sprayed with non-stick spray in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or bake in the oven in a small loaf pan at 350F for about 20 minutes. Another recipe I like to cook in large batches and eat throughout the week is egg white bites. I pour liquid egg whites into a cupcake pan sprayed with non-stick spray and add spinach or bell peppers then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 350F oven for about 20 minutes. You can even use whole eggs instead of egg whites, and add tomato and basil for a different flavor. Another quick idea is to fry up an egg and put it on a toasted English muffin with tomato and avocado.
So you can see the options are endless when it comes to breakfast. The trick is to do a little preparing beforehand so you can start your day off right. I’ve given many quick options as well as some of my favorite breakfast recipes. Another option might be to eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. You really can eat anything for breakfast as long as you don’t skip it.