What to Eat For Breakfast When It’s Hot

We had our first taste of summer on Mother’s Day–a hot and humid one with temps in the 80s. Despite our ridiculously cold and snowy winter and spring, humidity will never be met with smiles from me. Give me cold over hot humidity any day!

Don’t let the trees fool you–it was hot!

The change in weather, coupled with the fact that the A/C hadn’t been set to go off at work, left us with a very stuffy office on Monday. I was glad for the cool breakfast I had already eaten (smoothie), while my coworker waited for her breakfast (oatmeal) to get to room temperature so she could enjoy tolerate it.

This got me thinking about some good grab and go breakfasts for the warmer weather and wanted to share some of my favorites. The best part is that they’re all easily adapted to what you’re in the mood for and can be made a day or more ahead if that’s how you roll. You know, like when you set up your breakfasts assembly line style.

Yogurt parfait assembly

Smoothie

My basic formula is:

  • protein powder
  • greens
  • fruit
  • fats
  • liquid

In the mix below is Garden of Life RAW Organic Protein Vanilla (here’s a review of the protein powder), a heaping teaspoon of almond butter, frozen banana chunks, giant handful of mixed greens, about a tablespoon of hemp seeds, a heaping teaspoon of shredded coconut, and about a cup of unflavored, unsweetened almond milk.
Green smoothie

A variation of this is the smoothie bowl. You usually use yogurt as your protein source and don’t add a liquid so it stays thick enough to eat with a spoon. I made the delicious blackberry coconut smoothie bowl below using a recipe from Hello Natural.

blackberry smoothie bowl

Yogurt Parfait

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I love my yogurt parfaits! I have a basic formula for my parfaits:

  • Plain full fat yogurt
  • Fruit
  • Omega fatty acid
  • Sweetener
  • Nuts

Here’s a view of the layers:

strawberry yogurt parfait

This one had flax, a handful of oats, a handful of almonds, about 1/2 tsp royal jelly, frozen strawberries (made the night before, so they thaw overnight), and yogurt.

Overnight Oats

I love that this breakfast is adaptable for cold and warm temperatures. When it’s cold, I microwave it in the morning to warm it up and when it’s hot outside I’ll eat it cold or warm it up just a little bit in the microwave so it’s a little below room temperature. The formula:

  • Old fashioned oats
  • Chia Seeds
  • Fruit (usually frozen banana)
  • Liquid
  • Spices
  • Separate container of nuts and/or seeds for topping

overnight oats in glass container

The key is to use a 1:2 ratio of oats to liquid. Above specifics include almond milk, banana, and cinnamon topped with walnuts and raw pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas). The used Bonne Maman preserve jar makes for a great (and free!) container for this purpose. I also use them for my yogurt parfaits.

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

This is a bonus one that I make on the weekends. I could make it on the weekdays and then wait to add milk at work, I suppose, but I oddly like having something different on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I use Fitnessista’s recipe and will often throw it (figuratively, of course) in the microwave on cool mornings or eat it cold on warmer mornings.

Here’s how it starts out once you add the nut butter:

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

I’ll admit it’s a little bit of a pain when you’re really hungry and can make a bit of a racket, but the results are worth it! Once you’ve broken up and mixed in the nut butter, it should resemble something more like this:

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

Mmmm…now we’re talking! Then it gets even more fun–pick your toppings and drown it in milk! Below I’ve added raw shredded coconut, pepitas, walnuts, and raw cacao nibs.

Breakfast cookie dough cereal

This is one of the few times I use cow’s milk instead of almond milk. I don’t have anything against cow’s milk, I just find I like different liquids for different situations. And cereal is definitely the right occasion for regular milk for me!

Questions: If you had to deal with either bitter cold or hot and humid weather, which would you prefer? Do you change up your breakfast routine when the weather changes? What are some of your breakfast go-tos?

Mixing It Up

Hi all! I know it’s been awhile (or, at least, a little longer than my usual), but last week I said that I’d probably move to two posts a week and that’s where it’s at. I was hoping to do more of a Tuesday/Friday schedule, but that didn’t work out this week. So I’m mixing it up and doing Wednesday/Friday.

I’m also mixing up a lot of other things in my life right now. Or at least it seems like a lot for me being the creature of habit that I am. When I find something that works for me I like to stick with it. That being said, it is good to get some variety in your life and everything in moderation is always what I’m preaching, so I best be practicing it, too!

On the food front, I’m mixing up my breakfasts again. I had been sticking to a yogurt parfait in the morning for nearly a year. Yes, a year. I’d sometimes mix it up on the weekends and have oatmeal or go out for breakfast, but I always missed my parfait. You’d think I would have gotten sick of them, but surprisingly not.

Pumpkin parfait container

Then, a couple of months ago or so, I changed it up and moved to smoothies for breakfast. Except, again, every.single.day. I finally decided this week that I’m having a combination of items for breakfast throughout the week (smoothie one day, yogurt another day) and I should branch out and try a chia pudding or overnight oats. I’ll let you know if (when!) I do how they come out.

Almond Coconut Milk Smoothie

Also something I have nearly every single day? An apple with nut butter for my afternoon snack. Notice that I did say nut butter, which implies a little variety. It used to be peanut butter only, but I had branched out a while ago and have since been using sunflower and almond butter as well. Remember my stash that I keep at work (upside down, of course!)?

Peanut and sunflower butter upside down

I’ve recently started including pears (gasp!), watermelon (no!), and today, an orange (mon Dieu!)! I think I’ll have a handful of nuts with my orange, though. Doesn’t exactly go with peanut butter. Like, the one thing that doesn’t. Probably because nothing rhymes with orange. 😉

Orange with smiley face

I may have drawn on my orange…

That may not sounds like a lot, but for a type-A, sticks-to-a-plan person like me, this pushes me outside my comfort zone a bit. And is if that weren’t enough…

Ron Popeil but wait there's more

I’m also mixing up my workouts! With the week or so hiatus between classes, I made it to the gym a few times. I ran on the treadmill, did some Little-style walking hill intervals, and hit the heavier weights. I definitely missed the variety of the gym.

I’ll be back at home a lot now that I’m in the midst of a really busy 10 week class, so I wanted to be able to mix it up at home as well. I downloaded the Nike Training Club app after reading about it on Courtney’s blog. I did one of the 15 minute butt workouts, combined with the first five minutes of an abs/glute workout, and I’m still sore two days later! I love that you’re coached through each move and everything’s timed for you. The only thing I didn’t like was the inability to skip a certain move.

Nike Training Club app

I’ve also been expanding my yoga practice thanks to YouTube through my TV via our Wii. I’ll generally search for “yoga for runners” or “yoga for hips” and I’ll get some great results from that. I love the variety since my yoga library is limited both in terms of DVDs and what’s available on On Demand (we have the least expensive cable option) and I’m definitely not one to do my own yoga workout.

You know how else I’m mixing it up, but is actually not working in my favor? Being on my feet a lot more at work. With our medical record Go Live, I’ve been in the infusion room for the past week instead of my desk and I’m doing a lot of standing around. For some reason, standing, as opposed to walking, really bothers me and has made my PF flare up a bit. So I’m easing up on the running for right now so as not to aggravate it further. It wouldn’t be a problem except that it was like going from 0-60 MPH. I went from all sitting to all standing. This week’s been a better variety of sitting and standing, so thank goodness for that.

What prompted me being all kinds of wild and mixing it up? I’ve just felt a bit “off” lately. You know what I mean? My body’s been a bit fussy in terms of GI issues and generally feeling tight, so I’m trying to figure out what I can do to make it better. I’ve also recently discovered the idea that gluten may not be the only issue for me–that FODMAP foods may also be to blame, hence the slight dietary changes. I’m not going all in just yet because that would be a lot of food to change up at once. Plus, it’s ice cream season.

Double fisting ice cream

Questions: Do you tend to stick to certain habits? Do you need to make yourself change things up or do you look forward to it? Is there anything you’ve changed up recently?

Friday Favorite: Almond Coconut Milk (Updated)

TGIF, amirite? In what has ended up being a week of sickness and recuperation, I’m happy to finally be on the other side! There’s nothing like feeling sick to make you grateful for just feeling normal.

Today’s favorite has made a regular appearance in my some of my food lately. I happened upon this when I was picking up my usual unsweetened almond milk.

Almond Coconut milk

Coconut is all the rage these days, partially thanks to the CrossFit/paleo community who are firm believers in the use of coconut oil even though it’s gotten a bad rap for having so much saturated fat. So why is it suddenly okay? Since about half of its saturated fat content is actually from medium-chain fatty acids, which are easier to digest than longer-chained ones, it’s not as harmful as we first thought. So not all saturated fat is created equal.

Coconut water is also a great source of electrolytes. I personally don’t love the taste of the ones I’ve tried and I don’t require electrolyte replacement right now, so I don’t drink it. I may revisit the idea once I amp up training and the heat and humidity return to Massachusetts, whenever that may be.

This combo contains coconut milk, however. Like coconut oil, it does contain a some fat. Let’s take a look at the label:

Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Amond Coconut Milk Unsweetened nutrition

The fat content isn’t that bad, especially considering I use less than the serving size. One of these usually gets me closer to 8 servings. And there’s nothing wrong with fat in moderation! It keeps you full and is necessary for many things to happen in our bodies.

I want to point out that this isn’t the “cleanest” product out there. There are some added vitamins and other, shall we say, stuff. I would be better off buying an organic version. However, the way I look at it is this: I don’t use it that often and when I do, I don’t use that much. My diet is relatively clean most of the time, so I’m okay with using this. If I find a better, cleaner version in my travels I will buy that instead. It’s all about the amount of exposure over time.

Update: While I still stand by my statements above, I no longer purchase this product. I am now particularly wary of carrageenan, a thickener that comes from red seaweed. However, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill seaweed. For some reason our bodies see this as an invader and so mount a response against it, notably in the GI tract. It can cause inflammation, irritation, and possibly even cancer. If I happen to eat one thing once in a while with this, again, I’m not going to freak out. But since I have almond milk 1-2 times a week, I think I’ll stick to the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk.

Almond Coconut Milk Smoothie

Delicious in smoothies

The reason I really like this product is, as I said above, it contains some fat. Regular almond milk doesn’t contain much of anything, so this has more umph to it. Why this and not organic cow’s milk? I feel it mixes better into smoothies and I don’t mind that it has a slightly lower calorie content. Plus, I eat a decent amount of dairy and like to mix it up. I don’t like using water in smoothies because there’s nothing to it, and I don’t like using cow’s milk because, well, mixing milk with raw spinach just doesn’t do it for me. Almond coconut milk has more presence than water, but not so much as cow’s milk.

Why not soy milk? I avoid soy as much as possible because it’s an endocrine disruptor, a goitrogen (and therefore messes with my already underactive thyroid) and most soy in this country is genetically modified (a Frankenfood!) and in a ton of items we don’t even realize (thus, the cleaner you eat, the more you can avoid it). Okay, I’m done with my little lecture.

What else do I use it in? My oatmeal, for a little extra something-something.

Oatmeal with almonds, maple syrup, almond coconut milk

And I also do a 50/50 mix with cow’s milk in my Not Your Sugar Mama’s Be Cozy hot chocolate.

Not Your Sugar Mama's Hot Chocolate with cow and almond coconut milk

 

Questions: What form (if any) of milk do you consume? What’s your feeling on the coconut rage–love it, over it, or don’t really care?

Have a great weekend!

*I apologize for the size of the pictures. It seems that WordPress changed some options and I haven’t yet figured out why I can’t edit them as much as I could before. Perhaps it’s time to change to a self-hosted site so I have more options? Does anyone have a particular one they suggest?