Healthy and Cheap Breakfasts

Running season, swimsuit season, lettuce-bikini season. It’s all about to start. This is the time to incorporate some healthy eating habits. Don’t starve yourself—that can confuse your body and make it harder to lose weight. If you’re hungry all the time you’re not enjoying life, and you’re more likely to give in to some junk food.

For me, Team Vegan is about to start up again (April 26: mark your calendars now!), so it’s time to think about food as fuel. This year our team will train together for 13 weeks to run either a 5k (3 miles), a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) or a Marathon (26.2 miles!). Crazy, I know, but with the right food you can run 100 miles!*

Fill up on good vegan food. A big bowl of oatmeal in the morning contains very few calories, is naturally vegan and free of cholesterol, and you’ll be too full to nibble on Krispy Kremes. Doesn’t hurt that it’s cheap, too! When you buy oats instead of coffee-shop sugar-bomb muffins, you’ll have extra money to sponsor a Team Vegan runner. Sweet!

I love my oats during the week. But let’s face it: we can’t be all good, all the time. Sometimes it’s fun to splurge a bit on a Sunday morning. Below is a link to a great French toast recipes, and my recipe for tofu scramble. Both recipes are yummy enough for breakfast in bed, but still healthier (and cheaper) than hitting your local greasy spoon.

*Although it’s true that long-time vegan Scott Jurek routinely wins the 100 mile Western States race, he doesn’t just eat the right food. He also trains. A lot. Please don’t try to run 100 miles after eating your oatmeal tomorrow.

Steel Cut Oats

If you’re trying to get outside more this summer, you’ll have less time to cook—so plan ahead. Every Sunday I make a gigantic pot of steel-cut oatmeal, to feed me for the next week. Steel-cut oats are also called Irish Oats. They’re tough little things, totally different from the quick oats we’re used to. You can’t really eat quick oats the next day. Ick. But Irish Oats cook for a good 30 minutes and make a fabulous thick porridge that reheats beautifully. 30 seconds in the microwave, some sliced banana, voila: a perfect breakfast.

Make a big pot on Sunday so that your mornings are taken care of. For those of us adding training to our already busy lives, we need to find food that is both fast AND healthy. I cook 2 cups of oats in 8 cups of water and that lasts me through the week. Sometimes I add a handful of raisins, a chopped apple or two, or a whole cinnamon stick. Every morning I spoon out my serving, heat it, and top with banana. Sometimes walnuts, cinnamon, more apple, things like that. Not only is this convenient and healthy, it’sfilling. A big bowl of oats will keep you from grabbing a donut or fatty muffin, it will give you loads of energy for the day, and it won’t give you any fat for those hips.

Compare this: One donut has around 340 calories and enough fat to condition your hair. One big bowl of oatmeal has only 140 calories and no fat!! Donuts are fatty and calorie-dense, but not filling. Eat a donut and 30 minutes later you’ll be hungry for more junk. Oatmeal is the opposite. Filling and packed with nutrients and energy, but not fat and calories. When you’re full you don’t have to worry about giving in to junk food temptations.

Icing on the cake: When you eat foods like oatmeal you don’t have to measure or count calories. The more you eat, the better–and you’ll still lose weight if you eat oatmeal instead of donuts! Team Vegan will be sharing lots more energy food ideas like this. I’m not suggesting the team won’t be enjoying beer and French fries on Saturday nights, after our long runs. I’m suggesting that the team eat less fat in general so that training goes better and our junk food nights are that much more enjoyable!

Tofu Scramble

Scramble Seasoning Mix

Make a big batch of this spice mix and keep in your cupboard.

2 and 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tb onion powder
2 Tb paprika
1 tsp celery seed
1 Tb turmeric
3 Tb salt
1 tsp pepper

–Mix and store in a sealed container. Keeps indefinitely.

–General use: Mix 4 Tb of this mix with 1 block of Mori-Nu silken tofu and 1 block of fresh, firm tofu. Sauté with your favorite veggies. Serve with toast, home fries, fakin’ bacon and of course, lots of coffee with Silk soy creamer. Taste before serving—some people prefer a stronger seasoning, if so, just add an extra tablespoon.

And last but not least, here is an easy recipe for vegan French toast from one of my favorite activists in Washington. Enjoy spring and see you outside!

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