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  • Nicci

The Ultimate Healthy Breakfast

My favorite food groups are Mexican and Breakfast. Give me a platterful of spicy, cheesy, melty Tex-Mex goodness or a full spread of bacon, hashbrowns, eggs, grits, and biscuits and gravy, and I'm a happy girl. I'm also a stuffed, bloated, tired girl. While these two types of foods bring me great joy, they are not always the healthiest choices I could make. For a lot of people, this idea that their favorite foods are unhealthy choices leads them to either feelings of deprivation or feelings of pointlessness--it's too hard to give up these faves, so I might as well not even try.

Fortunately, there are ways to adapt even typically unhealthy choices so that you don't feel deprived. Let's start with breakfast.

While I haven't found a really tasty, healthy sub for biscuits and gravy yet (trust me, you'll be the first to know if I do), I do love a good omelet, and I'm happy to report that this can be a healthy, quick, easy, and filling choice.

Sometimes, when it comes to healthy eating, I get in a rut, fixing the same things over and over because I know that they are healthy, I know they are easy, and I know how they fit into my eating plan for my goals. With omelets, I never get tired of them, even though I eat them almost every single morning. Because the ingredients are so customizable, you can change them up for a different flavor every single time.

The adaptability of the omelet also allows it to fit into almost any eating plan, except strict vegetarian and vegan. And while there are egg substitutes, I have no experience in making a vegan omelet, so I can't give you any tips there.

As for everyone else--need more fat in your diet? Use whole eggs. Need less fat in your diet? Use egg whites or a combination of whole eggs+whites. Need more protein? Add more whites, lean meat, cheese. Need more carbs? Add more veggies and have a side of fruit or toast. Paleo or Whole 30? No cheese. Keto? Use bacon. The possibilities really are endless.

I'm going to give you MY typical omelet plus some variations that I've enjoyed.

Eggs: This is a no-brainer. Most days, I make my omelet using a combination of three egg whites plus one whole egg. I throw those into a big measuring cup and beat them with a fork or whisk. Other options: Vary the number of eggs, the number of yolks, the number of whites to fit your goals. 3+1 works for me to keep my fat lower (which allows more room for fat in other foods through the day) and it's enough to make a big omelet that keeps me satisfied. Veggies: I usually dice some tomato, green bell pepper, and mushroom and throw those into the skillet for a little bit to soften the peppers and mushrooms before adding the eggs. Other options: They are basically endless--if it's a veggie, throw it in. I've used onion, sun dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes, broccoli, spinach, roasted red peppers, capers, green chiles, jalapenos. Vary the combinations and see what you like best.

Meat: Usually, I just leave off the meat altogether, but most frequently, I'll use lean ham, because we usually have it on hand for sandwiches. Other options: Whatever sounds good to you and fits your goals works here. I've used bacon and turkey sausage, but you don't have to limit yourself to "breakfast" meats. Try steak (steak and eggs, anyone) or even chicken and see what happens. (Note: a friend added tuna to her scrambled eggs once and ended up unable to eat scrambled eggs ever again, so I'm not going to recommend that.)

Cheese: Most of the time, I add two tablespoons of shredded reduced fat (2% milk) cheddar or colby jack after flipping the omelet and before folding it. Other options: If it's cheese, I've used it. Favorites include feta, pepper jack, parmesan, mozzarella, blue cheese, and even Laughing Cow, cottage cheese, and ricotta. If you're dairy-free but sad about it, try nutritional yeast instead of cheese. It sounds crazy, but it does give it sort of a parmesan flavor. I use that on occasion instead of cheese.

Seasonings: This is where it gets really fun. Pay attention to your cheese/meat/veggie combos and play around with it. I've used almost anything. My basic go-to is salt and pepper, but I also like to use salsa, chipotle seasoning, garlic and herb seasoning, Greek seasoning, Italian seasoning. The same basic omelet can taste different every day of the week.

This morning's omelet was particularly tasty. I used spinach, sundried tomatoes, reduced fat feta cheese, and garlic and herb seasoning (I really like to use Cavender's Greek seasoning with this combo, but I'm out). What do you like in your omelet?

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