Letters to the Editor: July 11, 2021

A reader asks: We read your column in our local newspaper and were wondering if you could give us suggestions for the best breakfast that contains protein, fiber, tastes good (!) And is fairly quick / easy to prepare. Kashi doesn’t do it for us! All ideas are very welcome! “

Gladly! In fact, we would all be wise to look for healthy options to “break our fast”. According to the latest research, many Americans lack adequate amounts of fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D in our diets. Protein with every meal also helps build and maintain muscle mass and immune function. All it takes is a little planning.

Here are some tips from the pros at Food & Nutrition magazine, a publication of the Academy of Food and Nutrition:

Many of us, especially children and teenagers, need more of the nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products, including protein and fiber. Believe it or not, a simple breakfast of high-fiber granola paired with high-protein milk or fortified soy beverage will fill the bill. Better yet, toss fresh, frozen, or dried fruit on top.

Soak cereal mixes overnight for an instant, nutritious breakfast. Mix quick barley with milk, yoghurt or 100% fruit juice and place in the refrigerator overnight for a tough, nutty and quick breakfast the next morning. If you prefer savory rather than sweet, mix in dry oats, plain yogurt, a dash of olive oil, and a kosher salt and crushed red pepper shake (really) and refrigerate until morning.

Do you have leftovers? Combine cooked brown rice, quinoa or farro with a sweet or savory liquid (maybe vanilla soy milk or chicken broth?). Then cover with dried fruits and nuts (for sweet) or leftover cooked vegetables (for savory) and place in the refrigerator overnight. I’ve been told the hearty variety goes well with salsa.

Have you already tried mashed avocado that is spread on wholemeal toast? Top it off with a boiled egg for more protein.

Or make this egg scrambler in a microwave safe mug or large mason jar. Brush the inside of your mug with cooking spray, add 1 or 2 eggs, and whisk with a tablespoon or two of milk or water. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped vegetables (mushrooms and spinach work well). Cover and place in the microwave on the highest setting for about 30 seconds. Stir and microwave 1 minute longer until eggs are set. I appreciate the quick cleaning with this one.

Finally, these experts say, don’t forget to have beans for breakfast too. As the only food that counts as both a protein and a vegetable, beans are loaded with protein and fiber, as well as calcium and potassium. Hummus – a creamy paste made from chickpeas – is one example: spread it on whole grain toast or crackers, or chop up vegetables for a quick, nutritious breakfast.

I have some new ideas myself! Thanks for writing.

Barbara Quinn-Intermill is a registered nutritionist and diabetes specialist affiliated with the Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital. She is the author of Quinn-Essential Nutrition: The Uncomplicated Science of Eating. Email her at [email protected]