Because my brain tends to work in a food-centric way, all this talk of fresh starts leads me to ponder breakfast. Now that’s a start that (when it happens) is often anything but fresh. Sugary cereals or packaged bars, inhaled while running out to door, breakfast seems to be a meal we have trouble prioritizing.
But it’s our daily start. Shouldn’t it be fresh?
Sitting with loved ones for a hearty, healthful meal at the beginning of each day is something more likely seen on TV than at many of our own kitchen tables, but I wonder if there is an option somewhere between that, and a bagel in one hand and a steering wheel in the other. Maybe there’s a simpler way to do breakfast that doesn’t give up its freshness factor.
- Frozen berries, orange juice, and bananas pureed together can be four breakfasts in one blender. Toss in slivered almonds and flax seeds and you’ve got fiber, protein, and omega 3’s mixed in with all those vitamins.
- Hard boiled eggs can be simmered and shelled on Monday for the whole week. Pair with multigrain toast and an apple and you’re out the door and off to a solid start.
- Steel-cut oats can soak while your sleep, and be ready when you wake. Make a big pot of any kind of oatmeal, flavor with maple syrup or raw sugar, add pecans and serve with orange slices and there you go: whole grains to fuel your brain from your first project until lunch. Bonus tip: make one big pot on Sunday and portion it into 8 oz. jars for grab and go breakfast all week.
These options might take more time than just coffee to go, but those few extra minutes buy a nutrient-rich beginning for all the other minutes in the morning (plus the cost savings of buying whole foods instead of individually portioned, highly processed items). Every morning is a new opportunity for a fresh start.
Now here’s a really crazy idea: what if our first meal of the day wasn’t an afterthought, but an intentional time to remember how blessed we are to be able to break our nightly fast? It’s miraculous that God provides our juice and cereal alongside mercies new every morning and a love that endures our frantic starts. Maybe it’s silly that a small meal at the dawn of a new day could be a reminder of something sacred, but maybe that’s all we need to fuel our hearts and minds—at least until lunch.
When you can take your time with breakfast, this is a great way to use up oatmeal leftover from the week. Serve with poached eggs and fresh fruit for a delicious and balanced beginning.
Nutty Oat Pancakes
Beat one large egg.
Stir in 1 cup of cooked oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and ½ cup of milk.
Add 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup pecan pieces, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir until just mixed.
Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium high heat.
Use a quarter cup measure to spoon batter into pan, three at a time. Cook until golden brown and bubbles begin to form, then flip, about 90 seconds each side.
Top with maple syrup, more nuts, and/or fresh berries.
Makes 12 pancakes.
This article was originally published in the April, 2014 issue of Messenger magazine. http://www.brethren.org/messenger