The morning rush, getting yourself and the kids up, fed and out the door before the sparrows have stirred in the morning is quite a feat for anyone!
The breakfast selection in this morning scurry often falls to convenient sugary cereals and pastries, all of which begin the day with a ‘sugar sabotage’.
These types of sugar laden breakfast foods deliver a sugar overload, spiking the blood sugar providing quick, unsustainable energy. Most likely by mid-morning the ‘sugar crash’ occurs, fluctuating blood sugar levels leaving one reaching out for another snack to get through the day.
Excess sugar now well known to be a major contributor to inflammation in the body; the leading factor in all diseases. When I look out a sea of eager faces at a school presentation, it saddens me that the current statistic is that half of all elementary age student will suffer from one or more totally preventable disease, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes or hypertension!
And that’s the CURRENT fact people…yes it’s probably only going to get worse!
The 2015 USDA government guideline states that the amount of added sugar consumed per capita per year in the USA is 156 Lbs. per year! Wow! and we’re talking here about the sweet stuff that is added to foods, not about naturally occurring sugars in foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Recently I present a health talk and cooking demo centered on healthy breakfast, highlighting a few the worst food offenders in hidden sugars, and demonstrating healthier options. In preparation for this presentation I did a little scouting of typical quick and easy breakfast foods, and what I found was shocking!
First up, a ‘Spookylicious’ Limited Edition Frosted Chocolate Pop Tart, and when I flipped it over and read the nutrition facts and ingredients (a disaster of damaged fats, high fructose corn syrup and preservatives) oh yes, it was scary!!
One little 52-gram Pop Tart delivers a whopping 18 grams of sugar! That’ almost four teaspoons of sugar, and I believe most kids would eat at least two of these in one sitting. The 156 Lb. number translates to 50 teaspoons of sugar a day, add a glass of orange juice (10 teaspoons of sugar) with as much sugar as a soda to the meal, well on the way to hitting that high number.
How much added sugar should we be consuming? The current guideline for elementary age children is no more than five teaspoons per day, and eight for middle schoolers, the Pop Tart breakfast took care of that.
So, what are we going to do about it? Save that sugar portion for quality treats, and focus on eating REAL food at meals. Food that is as nature intended, with no unnecessary added sugars, damaged fats and preservatives.
Healthy Breakfast to Go!
I hear you, this can be very time consuming, and so I have created for a breakfast option that you can do ahead, that is portable, and healthy!
Thiss delicious recipe pf overnight Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with QuinoaI prepared live on WBTV ‘Morning Break’ Show O, prep it ahead of time, and set to simmer slowly overnight in your slow cooker. The key component is assembling your ingredients in a Mason Jar, an inexpensive option these are even available in the freezer safe variety.
Oats in unprocessed form has great healthy benefits such as soluble and insoluble fiber to improve digestion, has been shown to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and curb inflammation. Take away all that good fiber by eating a processed, sugar laden instant oatmeal package, and your breakfast is about on par with the Pop Tart.
This recipe calls for steel cut oats, which is the unprocessed, cut raw oats, rolled oats is an option too. Steel cut oats delivers an impressive 5 grams of protein per ¼ cup serving, and in raw form does require a longer cooking time, making it a great slow cooker ingredient.
Protein and healthy fats are key components to slow down the blood sugar spike, I like to add quinoa to this recipe as it adds another 6 grams of protein to the meal. Quick cooking, high in fiber iron and calcium, I keep cooked quinoa in the fridge and add it to salads and meals throughout the week.
To flavor up this power packed breakfast, in time for the Fall I add pumpkin and the healing spices of cinnamon, ginger and turmeric to this recipe, you’re welcome!
The recipe below makes six servings, these can be prepped ahead of time and kept in the fridge, or even frozen (if you’re using the freezer safe Mason jars!!) Placing the Mason jars in a water bath in the slow cooker is the key to even cooking and not burning the edges. If you don’t have a slow cooker, this could be done in the oven, however you’d need to keep an eye on it and switch the oven off after the cook time is reached.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, post your comments and pictures on the Taste of Healing Facebook page of your breakfast in a jar!