February 06. 2018 11:30PM

Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: Skip breakfast? Why? You'll look forward to these eye-openers


It's not quite like Dr. Seuss envisioned, but Green Eggs and Ham Tortilla is a colorful and tasty start to your day. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

If there is one nutritional crime I’m consistently guilty of committing, it’s skipping breakfast. I go right for the coffee and get my day going, sometimes not realizing until I’m putting dinner together that I haven’t eaten anything all day.

It’s a habit I got into when I was prescribed a thyroid medicine several years ago; in order for the medication to absorb properly, it’s best to take it with an empty stomach. For me, the consequences of the medication not working were something I would do just about anything to avoid, so I settled into a routine of not eating breakfast.

I’m not the only one guilty of breakfast crimes. I was asking a friend what she had in the morning for breakfast and she confessed to a morning routine of stopping in at a coffee chain and getting a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich en route to work. Another friend told me she hits the drive-through and usually picks up a muffin with her coffee.

This breakfast situation has been on my mind lately because I’ve become oddly fascinated with watching TLC’s show “My 600-lb Life.” This reality based show follows around a different person each week as they struggle with food addiction and attempt to qualify for weight-loss surgery under the care of a doctor in Houston, Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, who is willing to work with them. Many of the people featured on the show haven’t left their houses (or sometimes their beds) in years.

One thing Dr. Now, as he is called by his patients, tries to instill in his patients is that food is fuel and everyone needs proper nutrition to function. Some of the patients are malnourished despite their high calorie intake because they regularly reach for fast foods with virtually no nutritional content, illustrating that it is possible to be obese and malnourished at the same time.

Watching this prompted me to reflect on my own eating habits and got me thinking of my breakfast situation. I started keeping hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator, as well as sliced carrots and cucumbers, so I have some fuel on hand during the day. I know when my kids are in school, they eat school breakfasts and lunches and I always make them a good dinner, but like many mothers, my own nutritional intake during the day doesn’t always take priority.

Looking at food as fuel has inspired me to prepare some easy dishes for the first meal of the day. I especially love filling up the crockpot with whole grain cereals sprinkled with cinnamon, which can be customized with chopped nuts, fruits and honey.

I also did a take on Dr. Seuss’s classic “Green Eggs and Ham.” Crack an egg into a little pesto on a hot skillet, cook it up and serve it in a blue corn tortilla with a slice of ham, and you’ve got an easy, protein-packed meal.

Another idea is to make some breakfast bars with whole grains, peanut butter and coconut oil. You can switch up the mix-ins like dried cranberries, raisins and other dried fruits and experiment with different kinds of grains to keep things interesting. Try adding some Chia seeds or mixing in some sliced almonds.

Sometimes the smallest changes can yield the biggest results. I’ve noticed an increase in energy during the day since I started fueling up earlier.

Dr. Now would be proud.

Green Eggs and Ham Tortilla

Per serving:

1 egg

2 tbsp store-bought pesto

1 blue corn tortilla

1 slice deli ham

cooking spray

salt and pepper to taste

Set a skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray. Once the skillet is heated, crack the egg into the skillet.

Add one tablespoon of the pesto to the egg white by spooning it into the white and gently mixing and avoiding the yolk. Allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the egg white is opaque and cooked and the yolk is done to your liking.

Place the tortilla on a plate and spread on the remaining pesto. Place the slice of ham on the tortilla and slide the egg from the skillet onto the ham.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.

Coconut Breakfast Bars

2 cups fruit and nut granola

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup currants

2 tsp chia seed

1/4 cup shredded coconut

2 tbsp maple toasted coconut

1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325.

Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. 

Add the peanut butter, salt and coconut oil to a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir frequently while heating; remove from heat when smooth. 

Add the banana and remaining ingredients to a large bowl and pour the peanut butter and coconut oil over the top. Mix well to combine, then pour into the prepared baking dish. Press the mixture into the baking dish.

Bake at 325 for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is light golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan, then turn the pan over onto a flat surface and remove the parchment paper. Cut into bars to serve.

Whole Grain Breakfast Bowl

1/2 cup barley

1/2 cup cup steel-cut oats

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups water

3 tbsp red quinoa

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 banana, sliced

brown sugar or honey to taste

regular or almond milk, to taste, if desired

Add the barley and oats to a rice cooker. Add the water, quinoa, salt and cinnamon. Cover tightly and cook. 

When the rice cooker is finished, the water should be absorbed and the grains softened. (You can also make this in a crockpot overnight on a low setting.) 

Sprinkle with cinnamon and add honey or brown sugar to taste, if desired. 

Drizzle with milk for added creaminess, if needed. Add sliced banana or other fruit before serving. 

(You can also prepare this on a stovetop by placing the grains and water in a covered saucepan over medium-high heat and cooking until the water is absorbed.) 

Garnish to your liking with remaining ingredients before serving.