Copycat Your Favorite Restaurant Breakfast The Healthy Way

The average American household spends about thirty minutes getting ready to start the day and only four of those minutes are consumed with making and eating breakfast. Health studies have shown that breakfast is the single best way to get your metabolism moving after waking up from a good night sleep. It’s no coincidence that the phrase “breakfast of champions” is part of our lexicon.

So how exactly are you supposed to eat a healthy breakfast in four minutes? The short answer is, you can’t. But there is some good news. Instead of driving through the fast food place for a sodium-rich, fat-soaked breakfast, why not plan ahead. With the right plan and a little advanced prep work, those four minutes of your morning can produce a delicious and healthy breakfast for you and your family.

Hit a Grand Slam in Your Own Kitchen

A tasty breakfast doesn’t have to be bad for you. There are a number of different foods you can substitute for the high-calorie breakfast meals we all love. And, they take the same amount of time to prepare, if not less. If you’re trying to reduce the fat, start with turkey bacon or turkey sausage on your plate. Precook these the night before and heat them in the microwave if that helps.

For the other menu items, choose organic, cage-free eggs for the healthiest protein. Scramble up egg whites to get all the protein without the cholesterol. Stir in a dash of hot sauce, red chili pepper flakes or garlic powder for a bit of a flavor kick. Or, scramble up one whole egg and two egg whites to enjoy a filling breakfast packed with protein with a third of the cholesterol but all the flavor and the color.

If hash browns are a part of your favorite breakfast, make them healthier by baking them on a shallow baking sheet instead of frying them. A little olive oil or spritz of cooking spray and shredded potatoes is all you need. A few flips with a spatula and they are ready to enjoy. Again, you can precook these and then just heat them in the oven for a few minutes. The trick is to re-think your favorites and plan ahead. You can prepare anything for breakfast the night before, even scrambling the eggs, so in the morning all it takes is a quick reheat and away you go.

Flapjacks You’ll Flip For

When it comes to the ultimate stack of pancakes, IHOP is definitely hard to beat. But with a few tricks up your sleeve, there’s no competition between you and this breakfast giant; you’ll win every time. To make your flapjacks healthier, you’ve got to start with the main ingredients. Try substituting whole wheat flour for the white flour to help manage blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. If you are not a fan of how the heavier flour weighs your fluffy pancakes down, try adding a small amount of baking powder to your batter to help give your flapjacks a little rise.

If your pancake recipe calls for butter or other fat, you can substitute applesauce or use an oil that’s healthier. Pancakes are made with only a few ingredients, so make those ingredients healthy and you can’t lose!

What about those oh so delicious fancy pancakes, like chocolate chip? If you absolutely can’t contain your desire, there is hope for you, too. Dark chocolate is actually a great source of antioxidants. Start by adding a bit of dark cocoa to your pancake mix. Then you can dress up your pancakes even more by sprinkling a few semi-sweet chocolate chips on top of each pancake after the first flip on the griddle. Just a few will go a long way toward making your pancakes pretty and delicious. Remember, use healthier ingredients to begin with so when you add your little treats, like chocolate, your pancakes aren’t a total disaster to your diet.

Of course, all your healthy choices will go out the window if you smother your stack of pancakes in butter and sugary syrup. Instead, keep mashed fruit in your freezer and spoon a bit out for a delicious and nutritious topping. Applesauce is another favorite, as well as vanilla yogurt. If you still can’t imagine pancakes without maple syrup, make your own imitation syrup at home. Again, you get to control the sugar and fat.

Still tempted to grab a stack of pancakes on the road because you don’t have time in the morning? Again, it’s all about planning. Make your pancakes ahead of time and freeze them for later. When you need a good breakfast in a hurry, take a couple out and pop them in the toaster, microwave, or on a cookie sheet in the oven and you will have perfectly cooked pancakes in minutes.

Drinks Of Choice

When you decide what to drink with your breakfast, think closest to nature first. A glass of juice, whether it’s orange juice, tomato juice, grapefruit juice, or cranberry juice is always a good start. Again, read the labels and watch out for the hidden sugars in prepackaged fruit juices. A tall glass of milk may be perfect for you. Whether you prefer skim or whole, cow’s milk, soy, almond, or rice, read the label carefully and choose wisely according to your diet needs. You won’t be able to be so choosey if you eat at a restaurant. A glass of water is also the perfect start to your day.

Coffee may be on your menu, but be sure to watch out for the added sugar and cream. A little goes a long way. Try honey or raw sugar for a healthier choice. Low fat milks may be a substitute for cream, but watch out for the added sugar in your fat-reduced dairy products. Plain tea may be a better option if you can’t manage coffee without a lot of added sweeteners and creamers. Artificial sweeteners and non-dairy creamers are also worth consideration. The idea is to be aware and choose the best breakfast drinks for your healthy diet.

It’s true that a good breakfast starts the day out right, both for the way you feel and for your metabolism. But what sort of breakfast you eat makes a difference. Re-create some of your favorite breakfast dishes at home so you can control the ingredients. Your healthiest breakfast most definitely can be right at your kitchen table.

Kate Miller
Kate Miller

Kate Miller, mom of 5, is on a mission to stay fit and healthy. As HealthyWage's Community Manager, she's fortunate to be surrounded by inspiring success stories day after day. In 2012, Kate lost 50 pounds and documented most of her journey right here on the HealthyWage blog. Since then, she's had to learn the subtle intricacies of staying on track by mastering the daily ebb and flow (and parties and holidays and periods of extreme laziness) of life.

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