Have you recently gone for a checkup and when your test results came back you found out that your cholesterol was high? Or are you dodging going to the doctor because you are concerned on what he may say? Well you are not alone. Many people are often dumbfounded when they hear the news that their cholesterol is high. This is especially common with people in their forties and fifties. I know most people that I talk to have no symptoms they thought were associated with high cholesterol (1).
Cholesterol is a fatty looking, wax like substance (2). I think it looks like old raw chicken that was forgotten about on the kitchen counter. You get the picture, it is not pretty! So, what do you eat for breakfast if you are trying to manage your cholesterol?
Here are five breakfast ideas….
1. Oatmeal with almond slices with fruit on top
A great girlfriend budget friendly option is Steel cut oatmeal. Use ½ cup of dry oats and follow the package instructions using water. Steel cut oatmeal can take some time to cook so you may want to put it in a small slow cooker the night before so that it is good to go the next morning. Once cooked, add fruit such as a chopped green apple or berries. Sprinkle with cinnamon. If you want it sweeter, it is ok to add a small amount of Stevia. You can make a larger batch if you want to reheat it for a few days to save time.
Put 3/4 cup of Kale,Collard Greens or Spinach in a high-speed blender. Of course, fresh is best, but frozen is fine and is budget friendly. Add fruit of your choice. Berries, melons or a green apple are good options. Use about ½ cup of fruit. Add a small hand full of pumpkin seeds or almonds and a scoop of plant-based protein powder. Add liquid of your choice. Liquid options include filtered water, coconut water or almond milk. If you want it to be creamier, than add some avocado (frozen chunks are available). Feel free to add more green vegetables to adjust to your taste preference. This is my go to breakfast. I make it, add a straw and can drink it in the car if need be.
3. Quinoa porridge
Put one cup of quinoa and rinse very thoroughly. Cook quinoa per package instructions. It usually takes about 15-20 minutes to cook. One cup of precooked quinoa usually yields three cups of cooked quinoa. Once cooked, add a small handful of sliced almonds, walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cardamom and a touch of nutmeg. If you want it sweeter, it is ok to add a small amount of Stevia. Quinoa is a good option if you are following a gluten free diet. You can reheat leftovers and have breakfast for several days. Frozen precooked bags of quinoa are available at places like Target if you are pressed for time.
4.Looking for a grab and go breakfast? - Greek yogurt with a handful of walnuts or almonds
When purchasing your Greek yogurt in the grocery story, check the label and find one that has six (6) grams of sugar or less and has no artificial flavors or sweeteners. If your budget allows, go for the organic. Grab a handful of walnuts or almonds and take them with you with your Greek yogurt. This is a quick and easy option.
5. Looking for fast or convenience food choices and can’t pass up your favorite coffee fix, try one of these options?
Grab a pack of nuts (almonds, walnuts) and an apple or fresh fruit cup. Or order oatmeal (preferably steel cut or slow cooked) with nuts or seeds and fruit. Lastly, if you really can’t live without your favorite fast food breakfast sandwich, start with asking if you can order one with whole grain, sour dough, or rye bread or a whole grain english muffin (instead of a croissant or a biscuit) and try to cut out or really limit the cheese. Research now shows that it is ok to add an egg (3). Also, be mindful of the meat portion size and ask them to hold the butter when preparing. I know Wawa and Dunkin' Donuts have nutritional apps where you can order ahead, pick healthier choices and get rewarded for it! You can key in your favorite style of sandwich and select the type of bread, meat, etc. Check out the nutrition guidelines on the apps. Many include the calories, dietary cholesterol, sodium, etc. Feel free to email me if you need help in finding a better choice that still satisfies your taste buds. I know many of you can't bare to give up your favorite sausage breakfast sandwich.
Of course there are other lifestyle changes like exercise and stress management too that may help. Be sure to consult with your medical provider before making any changes.
A special thanks to my girlfriends, Anita, Arleen and Mary Beth for the inspiration to write this article.