Eat Breakfast like a king/queen;
Eat lunch like a commoner;
Eat dinner like a peasant.
That the old adage, anyway. What does it mean? Put your effort, expectations, and budget (both time and $$) into that first meal of the day — then scale down to a balanced, luncheon-sized plate at lunch, and move on to peasant food at dinner — meals of rice, beans, veggies, potatoes, soups, cabbage, breads, couscous, tiny servings of meat (if any!) and pasta with lots of veggies and meat-less / cream-less sauces.
This really isn’t the American way, is it? We skip breakfast completely; grab a quick lunch on the run at work, school, or wherever we are at the time — then eat out, fix a big dinner, or go out with friends for a meal and drinks to unwind from our long day. — Or worse, we grab a bag of chips and a burger, followed by a box of cookies and a bag of M&Ms or something equally munchable, and we settle in for a long winter’s night in front of the television.
Either way — it doesn’t work.
Here’s the opening paragraph from a recent article in Mens Health Magazine called The 19 Best Breakfasts: (yes, they also have an article called The 19 Worst Breakfasts. These guys reallllly like to make lists.)
Studies have shown that regularly skipping breakfast increases your risk of obesity by 450 percent. One study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University found that people who regularly ate a protein-rich, 600-calorie breakfast lost significantly more weight in 8 months than those who consumed only 300 calories and a quarter of the protein. The big-breakfast eaters lost an average of 40 pounds and had an easier time sticking with the diet, even though both groups were permitted about the same number of total daily calories….
That’s one hell of an opening volley. Skipping breakfast — just that one American bad habit — is enough to increase your risk of obesity (not your risk of being plump or pudgy — your risk of OBESITY) by a full 450%. That’s what we get for hurrying out the door. For not going to bed early enough to get up early enough to make a really well-thought-out meal.
So. For those who need rules, here are the breakfast rules:
- No fried foods for breakfast. (you burn up too many of your 600 calories on something that doesn’t do you any good….)
- 1 serving of calcium (at least) every day for breakfast. Best if it’s 2% reduced fat cheese or 2% or lower milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, cream cheese etc.
- 2-3 servings of a whole grain and high fiber bread/cereal.
- At least 1 serving of fruit for breakfast every day.
- At least 7 eggs a week.
So what are the best ways for this little list of rules to play out?
- 1 McDonalds Egg McMuffin + 1 grapefruit + 8oz Organic Valley 1% chocolate milk (how easy is that?)
- 3 egg omelette w/ 1.5 oz 2% fat shredded cheese and any veggies you want + 4oz orange juice.
- 2 packets of Quaker Lower-Sugar Instant Oatmeal + 1 sliced banana + 8oz 1% Organic Valley or Horizon Milk (use some of it in your oatmeal!) + 1 hard-boiled egg
- 2 slices Oroweat Double Fiber Bread + 2 fried eggs (in a non stick skillet w/Pam) + 3 slices Oscar Mayer Smoked Ham + 1 slice Kraft Low Fat American Singles (this all makes a sandwich) + an organic apple + 8 oz V-8 Vegetable Juice
- 1 whole grain bagel with 2 oz Neuchâtel cheese schmeer + 4 clementines (satsumas) + coffee + 1pkt sugar + 2T half&half
- 2 6-7″ corn flour tortillas + 3 scrambled eggs + 1.5oz 2% sharp cheddar shredded cheese + 2 slices Oscar Mayer smoked ham + 1/3 c salsa + 1/4 c chopped avocado (about 1/2 of a sm. Haas) (makes 2 breakfast burritos) + 2 plums + café au lait made with 8oz 1% milk and stevia
- 2 Double Fiber English Muffins + 2 poached eggs + 2 slices of crisp bacon + 2 slices of Kraft Low Fat American Singles (2 home-made Egg Mcmuffins) + 2/3 c fresh strawberries + 8oz V-8 Spicy-Hot Vegetable Juice
- 10 ounces of Greek yogurt sweetened w/ 1 T honey + 1 med. sliced banana + 2/3 c grapes + 1 c cantaloupe chunks + toasted whole wheat English Muffin w/ 1 pat of butter + hot chamomile tea w/ 1t honey
- 1oz Fiber One cereal + 1oz Grape Nuts cereal + 1oz Cheerios + 2/3 c fresh blueberries, + 10 ounces 2% Organic Valley or Horizon Organic milk + 2 sausage links + 6oz cranberry juice cocktail
- 1 1/2 c 2% milk fat cottage cheese sweetened with 1 T molasses + 1 peach, sliced + 1 apricot, sliced + 1/2c mandarin oranges slices — all dusted with Vietnamese Cinnamon + 2 toasted slices of Oroweat Double Fiber bread + hot green tea
- 10 oz greek yogurt + 1 c fresh strawberries +1 med banana + 1 pkt Emergen-C +1/3 c water + 1c crushed ice (makes a fruit smoothie) + toasted whole wheat English muffin + 1 pat butter + hot rooibos tea
- 1 large tomato (to stuff) +2.5 oz chunk light tuna packed in water, drained + 1 chopped hard-boiled egg + 1/4 c minced celery + 1 t capers + 1 oz minced onion + 1oz toasted sunflower seeds + 2T low-fat sour cream + 1/2 t dijon mustard + 1/2 granny smith apple, minced fine + salt/black pepper/dill (all this makes the stuffing) + 8 oz 2% Organic Valley milk + hot black coffee
- 2 slices of lightly buttered Double Fiber toast + 2 poached eggs + 1/2 c orange juice + black coffee + 3 slices of crisp bacon
- 3 egg spinach fritatta (made w/ 2 c fresh baby spinach, 2 slices of double fiber toast crumbled, 2oz crumbled feta, seasoning, and 1/3 c whole milk) + sliced granny smith apple + hot chai made with 2oz milk + 1t honey added.
- 3/4 c cooked rice + 6oz greek yogurt + vanilla + 1T molasses + 1T honey + 1/3 c dried (unsweetened) cherries (or other dried berry) + 1oz chopped pecans + dash salt (this makes rice pudding) + 2 eggs over easy + hot genmai tea
- med skin-on baked potato (about 10-12 oz) + 2oz 2% shredded cheddar cheese + 1 slice bacon crumbled + 2T low-fat sour cream + 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped, + 1t Trappy’s Red Devil Pepper sauce + salt and pepper + 1 med tomato, sliced + 2 T minced fresh red onion (all this makes a great stuffed potato) + 6 oz grapefruit juice
Yep. All between 550 and 650 calories. All high protein. All with milk/calcium. All with fruit. If you want to see more choices for nation-wide chain restaurants, check out the 19 smart breakfasts listed in the magazine article.
If you start your day with any of those breakfasts (or any combination you figure out for yourself that comes in at about 600 calories) then you’ve definitely started your day like royalty. Good protein, good fiber, good calcium, good vitamins — you won’t be hungry for hours!
End your day with hearty bowl of soup and a crusty piece of bread and some fruit — and your peasant meal will keep you going all night. In between — go simple and healthy with fruits, veggies and vegetable proteins (and something small and yummy.)
Break fast like a king.
Lunch like a commoner.
Dinner like a peasant.
And it won’t hurt if the king is King Julian from Madagascar — who likes to “move-it move-it….”