On the go breakfast. What can I have other than sugary cereals?

On weekday mornings when you are racing against time to get ready for work, pack tiffin and/or make your kids ready for school, having a proper sit down breakfast comprising all food components on your plate, let’s admit it, is not always viable. And that’s where ready-to-eat breakfast cereals come in handy. Just open a packet, pour the contents into a bowl, add some milk and ta-da, your breakfast is ready in less than 5 minutes.

It’s a convenient breakfast, no two opinions about it. However, ask yourself – is it a healthy breakfast?

  • Most packaged cereals are made from refined flours. They are highly processed and shaped into different forms like stars, loops, rectangles, triangles, and what not to grab eyeballs.
  • Sugar is the second or third ingredient in most cereals.
  • Small amounts of whole grains don’t make cereals healthy, and also the amount of sugar used nullifies any benefit.

Now, let’s know the ugly side of eating sugary cereals:

You still feel hungry

Even after you have wiped clean an entire bowl of breakfast cereal, you still feel hungry, right? Thank the loadful of carbs in it. Most cereals are high on the glycemic index, a number that indicates how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. The more rapidly your blood sugar rises, the more quickly it will fall, leading to hunger pangs.

You eat more during the day

What you eat in the morning more or less sets precedent for the entire day. A proper breakfast rich in protein, like eggs, makes you feel fuller and more satisfied than eating a carb-rich-protein-poor breakfast of cereals.

Leads to several diseases

High sugar consumption is harmful and may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

So before you add a packaged breakfast cereal to your cart,

  • Read the ingredients list and do not buy a particular brand if the sugar is listed as the second or third ingredient.
  • Grab cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

Whenever, you are having packaged cereals, pay attention to your portions and fortify your cereal with extra protein like nuts and seeds and/or greek yogurt or pair it with eggs.

However, the best thing to do is to avoid cereals and go for personalised breakfasts. They are not that tedious, with a little planning it is doable. Let’s see –

Breads – breads are easy and effortless, we all agree. Better to get sourdough or oatmeal breads and pair it with a host of foods like –

  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Milk/yogurt
  • Almond butter or peanut butter, if you are a vegetarian or vegan
  • Beans

South Indian breakfast – dosa/idli, sambar and coconut chutney. Dosa can be time consuming, but idlis are not, right? However, do not forget the chutney.

Parantha and dahi – Aloo or gobhi parantha/mix veg parantha with dahi can be a wholesome breakfast, and delicious too.

Oats upma – now don’t make a face, because that’s what I used to do too till a few years ago. But actually oats upma is quite delicious. I use steel cut oats. Soak oats in luke warm water for 20-30 minutes, wash. In a wok, take some oil, add mustard, slit green chillies, curry leaves. When mustard seeds pop, add finely chopped veggies (carrot, beans, cauli flower, onions, peas, etc.) and sautee them for 2 minutes. Add oats and pour warm water. For 1 katori oats, you need 4 katori water. Salt to taste. Mix and put a lid. After 5-10 minutes on slow gas, and it should be ready to serve. It’s sticky and delightfully tasty.

For my husband, I make overnight oats. In a jar/bowl, take 1 cup warm milk, add a tbsp. of curd, and 2-3 tbsp steel cut oats. Mix and let it rest. The next morning, the mixture will look like curd. With a spoon, mix it. Sautee finely chopped vegetables like onions, tomatoes, beans and carrots in little oil, add salt and add this to the overnight oats mixture.

Sprouts and khakhra – another weird combination, but again a tasty one. Steam sprouts like moong or moth, add finely chopped onions, tomatoes and green chillies and relish it with khakhra.

Ragi/Nachni chilla – soak ragi flour and rawa in equal proportion in little curd and water. Season with salt. Add finely chopped onions, green chillies, capsicum. Leave it aside for 20 mins. Now grease a tawa and make ragi chillas and serve with coconut chutney. I have a large tawa that easily accommodates 4 chillas at a time.

Now, tell me aren’t these amazing breakfast ideas, and as I said, with a little bit of planning, they are doable. So say goodbye to those packaged cereals, and indulge in some nourishing, soul filling breakfast. And you know what, all these foods can be taken in a dabba and eaten on the way to work.