November 19, 2008

Breakfast For “ I Hate Morning” People

We're pleased to have a guest post today from Toni Brayer, M.D. She's practiced Internal Medicine in San Francisco for over 20 years, and has done lots of impressive stuff like serve as President of the San Francisco Medical Society, and Chief of Staff at California Pacific Medical Center. In other words, she knows a LOT more about health than Crabby does. Toni is also a speaker and a writer, and she has a great blog over at Everything Health--be sure to check it out!

And no, that is NOT her pictured below; it is someone who failed to follow her smart advice.

I’m one of those people who hate to eat breakfast unless someone else is making it for me. Since I don’t have a personal chef, that means it takes a big conscious effort for me to do what is right: Eat breakfast before I start my day. Every study on weight control and optimal performance tells us we need to fuel our bodies and I am a believer, but it ain’t easy!

For those of us who would rather just skip it, the easier breakfast is to prepare, the better. And nothing is easier and better for you than oatmeal. It provides carbs, fiber, vitamins and bulk to keep us from feeling ravenous or weak before lunch. But that doesn’t mean we can raid the middle aisles of the grocery store where there are rows and rows of sugary cereals. We need to be smart in our choices and that is why oatmeal fits the bill.

The best choice is steel-cut oats. Also called Irish Oats, these little grains have more cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber than any other oatmeal. They are 100% whole grain and the bran germ is left intact. The germ contains B-vitamins and iron. Plus it is really filling.

You can make up a big batch and just warm it in the microwave, which saves on cook time later in the week. Add low-fat milk and a few raisins or banana slices and you are set.

Other quick but nutritious breakfast choices are fresh fruit with yogurt, hard-boiled or poached egg with whole-wheat toast or a fruit smoothie.

OK, I know that the fruit smoothie might be a stretch for someone who hates to prepare but here is why you should make the effort.

It counts as two of your 5 fruits and vegetables a day! Frozen organic berries can be found in any grocery store and mixed in the blender with yogurt, milk or apple juice, it is a quick “to go” breakfast. Add protein powder and it is a complete meal.

Breakfast doesn’t “just happen”. Like anything worthwhile, it takes a little planning and making sure the shelf and fridge are stocked, but getting in the habit of eating a healthy breakfast can be the start of a healthy and long life.


  1. I committed myself to oatmeal with raisins (or dried cranberries) and flax a few months ago. I have egg or meat as well usually. I feel better, stay full longer, and it has straightened out my blood sugar. Go Oats!

  2. I'm really interested in the whole -' breakfast is the most important meal of the day theory.' Frankly I think there is a LOT of research out there done by cereal companies who find all these fabulous findings because it's good for their bottom line. I wrote a whole expose on the buzz around breakfast research at

    I think the whole idea that we have to eat breakfast has become such a holy cow that it's something we never think to question and probe into a little deeper.

    But, when people start waiting for their body to tell them they are hungry before they eat, they're amazed at what a difference just that change makes to their weight management efforts.

  3. I think I must be the only person in the world who doesn't like smoothies...but I just don't.

    I am right there with you on the "I Hate Morning" thing though. It's not just a matter of not wanting to make breakfast in the morning, but often I don't really feel like eating first thing in the morning either. But I try. I do often make oatmeal ahead of time so I can just reheat in the morning, but I have started eating smaller servings (like half of a serving) because I got tired of forcing it down and then feeling yucky; the small serving seems to go down better and then I have a piece of fruit mid-morning.

  4. I absolutely love breakfast! It's probably my favorite meal of the deal and my go-to meal (brunch and brinner) if I'm too lazy to do some actually cooking. It's so easy to hard boil and egg or make an omelette. Ok, it's not terribly healthy which is why I rely on mostly smoothies which I also love!

  5. When I was working a job where what time I started in the morning varied a lot, I developed the Fastest Breakfast on Earth: a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter washed down with a glass of prune juice, followed by a handful of wheat thins.
    I'm definitely Not a Morning Person, and I don't like to eat first thing in the morning. When I can, which isn't often, I like to drink about 12 ounces of coffee when I get up, and then, about two hours later, eat a full meal (complete with vegetables!) and then not eat again for eight or ten hours. The outside world makes it hard to live like that. [/whine]

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  6. LOVE breakfasts. Plural:)

    Oatmeal with banana and cinnamon, or scrambled egg whites on toast, or some peanut butter and a glass of milk/an apple, are such great ways to start the day!

  7. I dislike morning smoothies because I dislike morning taking-the-blender-apart-and-cleaning-it. If I had a maid, I'd probably love smoothies.

    The great thing about eating breakfast is that you start the day out right!

  8. I'm busy getting breakfast into everyone else, so sometimes forget myself! Oatmeal and fruit is a fav here. Yum!

    (psst -- link malformed: should be

  9. Alexia, thank you.
    I am strongly tempted to start swearing at Blogger -- the link "" keeps creeping into the links. Yesterday I copied and pasted the link to myhealthvillage, to avoid any possible mis-typing. Blogger STILL put its link into the HTML.

  10. I totally use my morning oatmeal as a "dumping ground" of healthy ingredients. I add 100% cacao, frozen blueberries, apples, nuts, whey protein, and cinnamon. Roni (Greenlitebites) had a great idea of using green tea instead of plain water.

    Also--you can make a big batch of steel-cut oatmeal in the crock pot and freeze servings in baggies or containers.


  11. I make my fruit smoothies the night before and then just quickly "re-blend" them in the morning before work. This makes it quick, easy, and nutritiously dense.

  12. Yay breakfast! I feel so much better throughout the day when I eat first thing in the morning.

  13. I seriously think I need to think about maybe trying a smoothie. I DO drink a glass of spicy V-8 which is also supposed to be a double serving of least that's what they say. It tends to close up my throat a bit, but I like it better than regular V-8. More of an adrenalin rush.

    I like Scottish Oatmeal...but I have a nasty habit of hoarding my stash instead of cooking it. It's hard to find my brand.

  14. That photo cracks me up. I love it. lol.

    Great post! I used to be a big oat eater, but lately I've been really, really into the smoothies. Plus, there's something satisfying about blending things up in the morning. lol.

  15. I loooove breakfast. I look forward to it when I go to bed at night. I'm ALL about the oats - Bircher muesli, baby. Oats, nuts, fruit - filling and nutritious. Mmmm... just another 12 hours or so 'til I get to eat it again!

  16. I can’t leave the house without eating in the morning –no matter how early it is. I usually make two hard boiled eggs (put them on before showering) or a nut/seed smoothie. That usually holds me until about 10:30.

  17. I love GOING OUT to breakfast, but making it? Not so much. The thing is, I started running every morning, and now I can't make it very long if I don't have it. I've been making oatmeal with 2 kinds of fresh fruit & usually a little milk or yogurt stirred in. I love smoothies, but they don't seem to fill me up.

    By the way, is it better to run (or play tennis) before or after eating? A few times I've gone running after breakfast and wound up with these awful intestinal cramps. But I wonder if I might have more endurance if I ate something first.

  18. It bothers me that the suggestions in this article are almost pure carbohydrate, with the exception of the poached egg. I've never understood why loading up on pure sugar (even steel cut oats get converted into sugar!) is a good thing, but I know some people swear by it.

    I personally hate eating breakfast. It's not because of not wanting to make it; it's because eating within the first couple of hours I'm awake tends to make me nauseous. I have no idea why. I've also noticed that if I do force myself to eat before mid-day, I'm ridiculously hungry about less than two hours later.

  19. Like Purplegirl, I can't eat breakfast first thing in the morning: it makes me seriously nauseated.

    That said, I finally hit on a solution: Once a week I cook a HUGE batch of scrambled eggs and a separate batch of "omelette filling:" onions, peppers, mushrooms, ham, spinach, and whatever other stuff I have laying around. I put the eggs in one container and the filling in another.

    Now, in the morning when I get up, I have a piece of fruit. My body seems ok with that, and I get some vitamins. Then, when I make lunch for day, I also make breakfast: in a container I spoon in some "filling," and top it with some eggs. Around 9:00am I microwave breakfast. It makes a HUGE difference in my mood, and in how much I eat all day, and it's the only way I've found to get around the food-in-the-morning-makes-me-sick conundrum.

    (And yes, I'm usually an egg girl, although I have to say that occasionally only oatmeal will do. :D)

  20. I like all those suggestions. They all sound pretty yummy. Sometimes I'd rather just drink my coffee and skip the other stuff. I cannot eat first thing. I have to wait a few hours like PG said. Or I get woosie.

  21. Those were great suggestions! I am one of those people who has a big breakfast... I literally prance out of bed in the morning because I know I have my delicious breakfast ahead. I am also one of those annoying peeps who never hit the snooze button and can have super animated conversation right out of bed...

  22. oatmeal rocks in my book! I eat it most every day.....not just for breakfast either......sometimes when I need a good whole grain with another meal :)

  23. My chiropractor asked me about my breakfasts, and I said black coffee, thyroid meds, and ah hour after the thyroid med I can add half and half to my second or third cup of coffee (half caf)and maybe have a square of chocolate. He was appalled, he said Seriously?! and I replied Yes, I canNOT eat in the mornings, I'm not hungry and I don't want food, it makes me nauseous. He said OH, well if you're not hungry and don't want to eat, then it's ok, you're listening to your body. I do however have a midnight snack, because I am usually hungry THEN and it helps me sleep. So maybe that is my breakfast..?

    I also can't eat oats, they seriously mess me up, I have gluten intolerance but there's something else as well about oats. It bums me out because I love oatmeal. So I'll try cooking the steel cut oats ahead of time for my hubby, and he can toss some trail mix on top!

    I do love plain yogurt with dried berries and nuts and seeds for lunch though.

  24. Love oatmeal, for the moment. We have a love-hate relationship, depending on the month. Breakfast is great. Why do you think your mom harped on about eating before school? Momma knows best! Good post!

  25. I love the morning. I know I know...

    but I DO loathe the evening and have been known to often eat oats for dinner :)

  26. Not a breakfast eater! But you know the "saying," Physicians know a lot, Surgeons don't!

  27. I am a firm convert to the pre-cooked and warmed up oatmeal in the morning. Simple, easy, filling. At it's one of the 2 whole grains I eat a day.

    But I've always been a breakfast eater.

  28. I was a breakfast skipper for years, but now I eat it. Usually an egg white omelet, but sometimes a smoothie or protein pumpkin pancakes or oatmeal.

    As for steelcut oatmeal... if you like it and don't have time to cook it mornings, get one of those fuzzy logic rice cookers with a timer, set it up before you go to bed and there you go. Best hot bowl of steelcut oats you'll ever eat!


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