One of the areas many struggle with nutritionally, myself included, is eating a well balanced breakfast. My breakfast of choice as a kid was PopTarts, Toaster Strudels, or Hidden Treasures cereal eaten dry with a glass of milk on the side. Did you know if you held the Hidden Treasures cereal up to the light you could tell which ones were filled with icing and save those all to eat at the end? Unfortunately we won’t be able to test this out any time soon as their brief stint lasted from 1993-1995, however it obviously left a lasting impression on me.
I’m certain you all have equally favorite breakfast foods that share the common nutritional denominator with some of my old favs: refined carbohydrates, sugar, and saturated fats. These days my favorites share in these commonalities but include instead cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, and waffles.
If we’re really sticking true to honoring ourselves and our hunger and fullness cues – while trying to fuel our bodies to function at their finest for us – eating the above foods on the regular may not be helping us meet our goals.
Research tells us a high protein, whole grain, and healthy fat combo for breakfast helps keep us fuller, longer by giving us the lasting energy to get through our morning. Rather than a monkey bread coma at the keyboard. This isn’t a new concept by any means. But, it is the most common meal I see clients asking for advice and striving for a better balance. I usually see one extreme or the other – all carbohydrates or all protein/saturated fat.
These make ahead breakfast sandwiches have all the elements to fuel your morning right – whole grains, high protein, veggies, and dairy. Each sandwich has over 20 grams of protein which is fabulous to start the day. Bonus points if after warming it up, you top it with avocado slices to nail the healthy fat category. Doesn’t get much better balanced than this!!
Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches
Yield: 6 sandwiches
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
3/4 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped (I used green tops only)
5 whole eggs
5 egg whites
1/3 cup milk
6 whole wheat English muffins
6 slices cheese
Optional: avocado, hot sauce, salsa, tomato
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat oil in skillet. Add spinach, mushrooms, onions, and dash of salt & pepper. Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until veggies are soft.
- In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, egg whites, milk, and another dash of salt & pepper.
- Spray 9×13 inch pan with cooking oil. Place cooked veggies evenly in the pan. Pour egg mixture over.
- Cook for 16-18 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.
- Allow to cool slightly. Cut 6 large circles out of eggs (I used a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter. You could also use a food storage lid or free hand cut with a knife. Or cut into 6 squares and use every last bit!)
- Assemble 6 sandwiches using 1 English muffin, 1 slice of cheese, and 1 egg circle for each. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in freezer safe bag. Keep in the freezer for up to a month. Keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Top with optional toppings, as desired, right before eating and after reheating.
To reheat from frozen, remove from plastic wrap. Tent a paper towel over the sandwich. Microwave for approximately 90 seconds. Allow to cool for a couple minutes before enjoying.
- So many options to customize these! Skip the milk in the eggs and cheese for dairy free (check your bread choice too). Or, top with a slice of Canadian bacon. Choose gluten free bread, if needed.
- Use whatever veggies you have on hand! No need to make another trip to the grocery.
- Top with extras after you warm it up – some of them (avocado, salsa, tomato) won’t freeze too well.
Athletes: Eat one (or two!) post morning workout to rebuild and repair after a tough one. Looking to up your protein intake? Put two egg slices on each sandwich.
Healthy Eating: I suggest using half eggs and half egg whites to reduce the saturated fat. To reduce this even further, choose reduced fat cheese. It still melts and tastes yummy (no thank you, fat free cheese!) and will cut a few grams of saturated fat to help with heart health.
Kids: Eggs are a great source of protein and fat for young kids. If your kids aren’t a fan of a plain scrambled egg, this is a good way to try it again. Mix it up! Or, stash it under their favorite cheese.