Tag Archives: breakfast

Breakfast Smoothie Revamp

My original Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie has served me well.  I make one every morning without fail.  It’s still an easy and nutritious way to start my day.  Recently, I had to buy the Carnation Instant Breakfast variety pack because the market was out of the big tub of milk chocolate flavor and I discovered something…although I still hate the vanilla and strawberry flavors, the dark chocolate variety is far more rich and delicious than the milk chocolate.  There’s a hitch though.  The dark chocolate flavor ONLY comes in the variety pack.  I’ve been a big fan of CIB powder…it’s helped me get well and be well fed over this past year with Gastroparesis.  All of us GPers know that frankly, when we’re really sick, have no appetite and are having trouble maintaining weight, sugar content is the last thing on our minds, getting enough to eat is the first but I’ve always had a nagging concern about all the added sugar in CIB (its second on the list of ingredients).

I’ve developed my own version of CIB powder using instant nonfat dry milk and dark, rich natural cocoa powder and not a stitch of added sugar.  The fresh milk, dry milk and banana in the smoothie already provide carbohydrates without the added sugar of CIB.  I already take a quality, high potency, daily liquid multivitamin supplement by Now Vitamins so the 10-25% RDA of vitamins and minerals found in CIB powder seems insignificant and redundant by comparison.

According to the Hershey’s website, natural cocoa powder (not dutched or dutch processed) contains healthy fat, antioxidants and a small amount of fiber (cocoa like coffee, is derived from a bean).  These antioxidants, called flavanols, are associated with good cardiovascular health, healthy cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure.  Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 1/2 cups of green tea, 3/4 cup blueberries and 1 1/3 cups red wine.

According to World’s Healthiest Foods, bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, essential for maintaining normal blood pressure, heart function and promoting bone health.  A simple mixture of banana and milk creates an antacid effect by suppressing  stomach acid production.  Bananas also contain pectin, a soluble fiber, called a hydrocolloid that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation…yes, you heard that right!  Although bananas are best known for treating loose bowel movements (think BRAT diet:bananas, rice, applesauce and toast…all coincidentally GP-friendly…something to ponder) they also can promote healthy bowel movements by providing soluble fiber to relieve constipation.

Milk and whey protein powder are excellent and easily digestible (as long as you’re not intolerant!) sources of protein.  Milk contains most of the nutrients essential for the body to carry out its daily functions.  According to Barlean’s, the makers of Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement, flax oil is nature’s richest source of vegetable-based Omega 3 fatty acids and promotes heart health, healthy cholesterol levels, joint mobility and bone density, energy, healthy blood glucose and skin, hair and nail health.

Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder

Approximately 12 servings at 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) per serving

2 1/4 cups instant nonfat dry milk

3/4 cup natural cocoa powder

sweetener of your choice, if desired, I like mine unsweetened

Mix milk and cocoa powders thoroughly…a wire whisk works well.  Store in an air-tight container (I’m using my old CIB tub).

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

68 calories, 2 grams fat, 1.6 grams fiber, 6.8 grams protein

Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie Revamp

Serves 1

1 cup skim milk

4 tablespoons Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder

1 scoop chocolate flavored whey protein powder (I use Whole Foods brand)

1 large ripe banana*

1 Tbl Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement- Strawberry and Banana flavor (available at health food stores and on-line @ http://www.barleans.com)

Blend until smooth.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on a large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long)*

433 calories, 7.4 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 33.3 grams protein**

*Small banana (6″-6 7/8″ long): 90 calories, 0.3 grams fat, 2.6 grams fiber, 1.1 grams protein)

Medium banana (7″-7 7/8″ long): 100 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.1 grams fiber, 1.3 grams protein

Large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long): 121 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.5 grams fiber, 1.5 grams protein

**If either of the fat or fiber numbers concerns you, reduce the cocoa powder by half in the Mary’s No Added Sugar Instant Breakfast Powder, omit or reduce the flax oil supplement or choose a smaller banana.

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Fleetingly Festive

It’s that time of year again and historically I have about a four minute window in which I feel festive.  Those four minutes basically fall somewhere between Thanksgiving Day and December 1st…after that I get “Scrinchy”…a combination of Scroogy and Grinchy.  Yesterday that four minute window opened so I took the opportunity to decorate and hang wreathes on the front and mudroom doors.  This is my first holiday season with Gastroparesis and I’m doing my very best to accept and adjust to “the new normal” but that doesn’t mean I still don’t feel a profound sense of loss.  Just between us, an occasional tantrum has been thrown…like when I dropped the gravy on Thanksgiving Day and promptly put my coat on and went out to “walk it off”.

Back to the wreathes!  It felt so good to get completely lost in a task.  I was so focused on wired ribbons and faux-sugared fruit picks that I completely lost track of time and when I looked at the clock it was time to start thinking about dinner.  What to have?

Pancakes are always easy and my stash of pumpkin spice pancakes in the freezer were gone.  Since I was feeling fleetingly festive I whipped up a batch of Gingerbread Pancakes seasoned with brown sugar, molasses and holiday spices and for topping: some Vanilla Maple Pear Compote…how I LOVE pears…at least they’re GP-friendly!  I generally enjoy my pancakes with scrambled eggs but given they were gingerbread with warm pear compote decided on a 1/4 cup of cottage cheese instead…vanilla Greek yogurt might also be a nice addition.  Either way, don’t forget some extra maple syrup to put it completely over the top!  Warm, seasonal, festive and yes…another tasty Gastroparesis-friendly recipe.

Just a reminder: Pancakes freeze well separated by wax paper in a Ziploc bag and the compote freezes just as well in small containers…just defrost in the microwave and pair with a protein for a no effort GP-friendly dinner.

Gingerbread Pancakes

These pancakes are not sweet and are subtly spiced.  Feel free to add more sweetener and amp up the spices but be careful there’s a fine line between spicy and bitter.  Having said that, the Vanilla Maple Pear Compote complements them beautifully.  Pancake batter can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

Makes 12 4″ pancakes, 6 servings of 2 pancakes

Pancake mix of your choice-enough to make 12 4″ pancakes (I used 2 cups Whole Foods 365 Organic Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon molasses (I prefer Blackstrap molasses)

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

freshly grated zest of 1 lemon – (a microplane produces very light wispy gratings of zest-leave out if you are concerned)

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups fat free milk (follow whatever your mix suggests, may also use water if your mix contains buttermilk-check preparation instructions)

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.  Do not overmix.  For best results allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before using.  Drop batter by 1/4 cups onto a sprayed non-stick griddle.  When bubbles form on the top of the pancake its time to flip.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on 2 4″ pancakes

222 Calories, 0.4 grams Fiber, 3.9 grams Fat, 7.8 grams Protein

Vanilla Maple Pear Compote

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups or 10 1/4 cup servings

Can be made ahead of time.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

3 large ripe Bartlet pears (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored and chopped

juice of 1 lemon, strained

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Cook until pears are very soft-approximately 30 minutes-only you know how soft you require cooked fruit.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

Based on 10 1/4 cup servings

88 Calories, 0.1 grams Fat, 3 grams Fiber*, 0.4 grams Protein

*Recipe analysis based on unpeeled pears-peels contain a significant amount of fiber so this figure may be a little inflated.

Lunch…the Most Predictable Meal of the Day!

Or maybe it should be titled Breakfast..the Most Predictable  Meal of the Day!  Both are pretty much set in stone right now.  I have a Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie for breakfast everyday.  As far as I’m concerned not much can compete with 32 grams of protein, a serving of fruit, calcium and some vegetarian Omega 3s.  Plus it’s “calorically dense” enough to help maintain weight.

My lunch is almost as predictable…a glass of freshly juiced fruits and veggies with a teaspoon of orange flavored fish oil supplement, tuna or egg salad (each made with 1 tablespoon of Hellman’s olive oil mayo) on a white pita and 1 ounce of Lay’s baked potato chips.  I can’t explain it but there is something very soothing about baked potato chips.  I don’t know if it’s because they literally melt into nothing when eaten or if it’s the salt but either way they are easy to eat.  Pita bread is also a much easier alternative to gummy white sandwich bread.  This lunch is far from gourmet but it is easy to make, contains a decent amount of protein (approximately 10 grams for egg salad (made with 1 large egg)  and 17 grams for tuna salad (made with 1/2 can of water packed white tuna and a little fresh lemon juice), approximately 300 calories (not including juice or fish oil supplement), some healthy fat  and of course some fresh fruit and veggie vitamins.  Now that it’s getting colder a small cup of soup instead of juice might be a nice addition – especially to take out and about in a little thermos.  Besides the recipe for no puree Baby Food Sweet Potato Bisque (see 9/21/10 post) I’m working on a no puree Baby Food Green Pea Soup seasoned two ways.  Stay tuned!

This lunch also packs up easily into my stylish little “lunch box” that looks like a purse purchased at Homegoods for about $15.  It’s made by Fit & Fresh and comes with leakproof containers and lids as well as a removable ice pack that snaps into place.  I haven’t figured out how to keep my juice fresh for traveling so I usually substitute tomato juice.  We do have a Food Saver system that my mother-in-law purchased for us that supposedly takes the air out of canning jars preventing oxidation.  I will experiment with that and hopefully have a future post with the results.

A predicable day gives me the confidence to be a little more creative at dinnertime if I know I’ve gotten in some good nutrition and calories.  If anyone else has easy, healthy  lunch ideas they are welcome to share.

Sneaking in Those Greens

Frozen, chopped organic spinach is a staple in my freezer.  I purchase it 4 boxes at a time and have a defrosted, drained box in my fridge at all times.  Spinach is one of the veggies on the recommended list provided by the Dietitian.  Recently, at Whole Foods, I grabbed one of the booklets out on the tables in the dining area.  It suggested a clever way to get more greens by adding baby spinach or defrosted frozen chopped spinach to your morning smoothie.  The author promised that you wouldn’t even notice the spinach.  I thought about it for a minute and decided to give it a try with my morning Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie.

I get the majority of my greens from juicing but for the days I know I’ll be out and about and not able to juice or know I’m going to be out for a GP friendly dinner of fish and baked potato, chicken and sweet potato or pancakes and scrambled eggs…all conspicuously devoid of greens it would be a great way to fill in the gap.  I’m happy to report that I put 1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped, defrosted, drained spinach in my smoothie this morning and all I noticed was a few green flecks.  Everyone is different so add whatever amount you feel comfortable with.  Also, everyone’s smoothie recipes are different so lighter flavors might not cover up the spinach taste as well as chocolate flavor.

Other easy ways to sneak in those greens:

Mashed Potatoes Florentine

Makes 4 generous servings

1 bag Ore Ida Steam & Mash Russets*

1 cup skim milk, low fat buttermilk, fat free half & half, chicken broth or a combination

frozen chopped spinach-defrosted and drained (snipped with scissors or pureed if necessary)-whatever amount is desired

fat free sprinkle cheese or grated parmesan

salt and pepper to taste

*OreIda Steam & Mash is a convenience item with a price to match (up to $3.99 a bag).  They’re good for hot or busy days when you don’t want to peel, chop and boil.

Make potatoes according to instructions.  My microwave is underpowered and it takes 20 minutes to cook potatoes thoroughly.  Heat spinach in microwave.  Mash potatoes with milk and stir in spinach, cheese and salt and pepper.

“Creamy” Chicken & Spinach Velvet Soup

I’m almost ashamed to call this a recipe but it helped get me throw the puree and liquid days.  The “velvet” comes from pureeing the pasta in the soup. It is warm, smooth and the prettiest shade of green.

1 19 oz can Homestyle Chicken Noodle Vegetable Soup*(not condensed)

frozen chopped spinach-defrosted and drained

leftover roasted chicken breast (for a little protein boost-optional)

*I use a local store brand because it doesn’t contain soy protein isolate.  I’m also, allergic to carrots and celery so I pick them out.  Leave the carrots in if you are able to eat them.

Thoroughly puree soup, spinach and extra chicken (if using) in a blender.  Transfer to a saucepan, heat and eat.

Breakfast of champions

Smoothies are a quick easy breakfast for me.  I find a liquid breakfast is an easy way to start the day as well as an easy way to get protein, calories and some healthy fat.  Everyone with GP has their own unique tolerance for fat and fiber.  I find that fat is more tolerable if it is spread out in a significant amount of liquid.

Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie

1 cup skim milk

1 envelope Chocolate flavored Carnation Instant Breakfast

1 scoop chocolate flavored whey protein powder (I use Whole Foods brand)

1 large ripe banana

1 Tbl Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement- Strawberry and Banana flavor (available at health food stores and on-line @ http://www.barleans.com)

Blend until smooth.  Makes one serving.  Approximately 480 calories, 32 grams of protein and a source of vegetarian Omega 3’s