How to eat a healthy breakfast

Natural Meals in Minutes: Beans for Breakfast???

by Rita Bingham, Author, Lecturer, Nutritional Consultant

Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast

Research shows that a nutritious breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does a good breakfast provide good fuel to get a body moving, it provides necessary nutrients to help us "think smart."

Imagine attempting to drive to work with an empty fuel tank in your automobile. In the morning, you normally have not had any food for 8-12 hours. When you skip breakfast, or fill up on "empty" calories, you set yourself up for low energy which will effect both brain and body. The fuel necessary to keep moving and mentally functioning is taken from the muscles, slowing down metabolism and further sapping energy reserves. It seems to be a vicious cycle.

A breakfast made up of whole grains and legumes provides an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, is filling as well as satisfying, and is a great way to start the day! Fill up on high-energy foods rather than caffeine-laden drinks, which only create the desire and the need for more, artificially stimulating a body that cries for wholesome foods to process.

Whole Grains and Legumes Make Healthy Breakfast Foods

Why whole grains and legumes?

Refined grains (used in almost all commercial breakfast cereals, breads, muffins, pancake mixes, etc.) have had fiber and nutrients removed. Over processed and "instantized" beans and legumes have been stripped of many water-soluble nutrients and some of the fiber. (Canned beans, however, maintain more fiber and nutrients than grains which are milled to remove the outer fibrous hull, creating white flour, white rice, etc.) When consumed, they create a quick blast of energy which is soon followed by a rapid drop. This roller coaster effect causes the body's metabolism to become confused and unable to function efficiently, thus ensuring continued highs and lows throughout coming days and weeks, creating constant havoc with energy as well as weight.

Whole grains and legumes take longer for the body to process, providing a steady supply of nutrients and adequate fiber to keep the foods you eat moving quickly through your body. For those of you just starting to include whole grains in your diet, start slowly, or the extra fiber will make these move TOO quickly through your body. Combining grains and legumes is the perfect solution, as grains move quickly and legumes move slowly, thus balancing each other out.

Yeast breads, muffins, pancakes, flour tortillas and pitas, cakes and cookies can all be made using a combination of whole grains and bean, pea and lentil flours. These flours can be ground at home or purchased at health stores and some grocery chains. If you are unable to find a source near you, order directly from Bob's Red Mill, 5209 S. E. International Way, Milwaukie, OR 97222, 503-654-3215. Ask for a catalog of all their fine products. Each of Bob's bean, pea and lentil flour packages includes unique recipes you won't want to miss.

Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

1 c. whole wheat flour (or 1/3 c. tapioca flour and 2/3 c. brown rice flour for those who are allergic to wheat)
1/3 c. white bean flour
1 T. melted honey
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. canola oil
3/4 c. fresh buttermilk
3 egg whites, beaten stiff

Mix ingredients in order given, folding in egg whites last. Pour 2" circles of batter onto oiled griddle and cook over medium heat. If batter is made with tapioca and brown rice flours, cook at medium-low heat.

Great Wheat Muffins

1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. pinto bean flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
3 T. molasses or honey
3/4 c. chopped dates or raisins
1 c. chopped almonds or pecans
1 c. milk
3 T. vegetable oil
2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Combine dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients except eggs and stir until moistened. Fold in egg whites. Fill oiled muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees, until delicately browned.

For additional recipes, order Country Beans by Rita Bingham

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