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Monday, July 19, 2010

Healthy Breakfast. No, Really.


So I love food. I love a LOT of food. However, this poses a little problem, or a big problem, depending on how you want to look at it. It occurred to me a month or two ago that I had reached the heaviest weight I'd ever been in my entire life. I couldn't understand how this could be possible. I cut out every single scrap of dairy from my whole diet. I stopped consuming the obscene amounts of meat I used to consume. I hardly ever ate candy, cake, or cookies, simply because I couldn't due to the dairy, and yet my weight was still gradually climbing.

The reasons behind this dilemma are actually pretty obvious. I was barely ever active, and on top of that, the amount of food I was eating (even if the food itself was healthy) was pretty ridiculous on its own. It wasn't uncommon for me to make a large amount of food for dinner with the intention of packing away leftovers for the next day, only to have Keith and myself polish off the entire batch in one sitting. Not great.

At first I blamed only the fact that I was basically sedentary and attempted to become more active without changing my diet at all. We started going for walks several times a week in a state park a mile or two away from our apartment. This was an important thing for me to do, but taking an hour-long walk in the woods followed by two platefuls of pasta had no affect on my weight whatsoever. Surprise.

A pretty view from one of our walks

The solution? It was mostly paying more attention to nutrition labels and serving myself more human-sized portions of food. I'm really only at the beginning of this process, but there has definitely been a happy surprise every time I step on the scale. It's been as simple as paying attention to the fat, calorie, cholesterol and carbohydrate contents in the food I buy and really trying to get those numbers to be as close to zero as possible. It seems like a pretty obvious solution, but apparently observing the obvious isn't one of my strong suits.

Breakfast was also something I had been neglecting, and when it wasn't neglected it was filled with greasy eggs, potatoes, and corned-beef hash from a diner. Hunting around for healthy breakfast ideas, most of the things google and even tastespotting turned up were not particularly healthy. Powdered sugar, gooey cheese, and greasy bacon were only a few of the things that topped some of these "healthy" breakfast ideas. I did however come across a recipe for adorable, perfectly portioned mini-frittatas that could be customized in any way imaginable, and better still: they're baked instead of fried.

This alteration of the recipe (courtesy of "What's Gaby Cooking") is my attempt to make as healthy of a breakfast as possible from this idea. I switched out the eggs for egg beaters, a no fat and no cholesterol replacement for eggs. This was my first time tasting egg beaters, and they were pleasantly fluffy and delicious. The vegetables here are steamed rather than stir-fried in oil, and only the smallest amount of vegetable spray was used to help the "eggs" pop out of their cups.

Healthy Breakfast: Mini Frittatas with Veggies

Egg beaters
A handful of your favorite vegetables - I used broccoli because I had some rolling around in the fridge
Parchment paper or muffin liners

Preheat your oven to 350ยบ and line a muffin tin with either parchment paper or muffin liners. I will most likely use parchment paper the next time I make these as the finished product doesn't really pop out of the muffin liners very easily (though they are cute.) I lined four cups to make two frittatas per person.

Chop your veggies relatively finely. I quickly steamed the broccoli in the microwave in special steaming bags, though you could also blanch them in boiling water for a minute or steam them in a colander set over a couple of inches of boiling water. Distribute the veggies evenly into the lined muffin tin. Pour the egg beaters over the vegetables until the cups are slightly more than half full (about one egg's worth.)

Bake until set. The egg beaters took 15 minutes to set in my oven, though you may want to check them periodically beforehand to make sure you aren't over-cooking them. Serve with a side of fruit for a very healthy breakfast.


  1. I had the same diet-epiphany you describe here a couple of years ago (although I should be honest and say that both large portions and lots and lots and lots of tasty beer consumption were to blame) and have had to work at finding the "right mix" of activity and diet (still working on this project! ha).

    So I joined a gym. And go regularly. And now, I eat (and importantly - drink!) pretty much anything I want, and still maintain a healthy weight. My friends think my new found gym-bunnyness comic, since I've always made fun of them for doing the same. But ya gotta do what your body needs, right? Even if it means spandex shorts and nerdy trail runners and sweating profusely around complete strangers.

    If I ever get over my fear of egg beaters, I shall give your cute frittatas a try. Also! Love the blog :)

  2. Thanks for the comment! It's amazing to me that something as simple as changing portion size can make such a huge difference when mixed with a little exercise, and yet I always assumed if I was eating healthy, it wouldn't matter how much I ate.

    As for the egg beaters, I was definitely a little skeptical too. The recipe would also work with regular eggs beaten with a splash of some kind of milk or water (and probably be tastier.) They would most likely take closer to 10 minutes to set in the oven.

  3. Great recipe! You are so right about it all, portion control is a must!