Oatmeal Energy Breakfast

Recently people have been asking me to post my meal plan on here for them to follow. I would really love to do that, but I honestly don’t follow a strict diet plan. I eat things that I know I like and that I know are healthy for me. I don’t count calories, I don’t even count my macronutrients, instead I eat what I think my body needs.

This meal is one I like to have in the morning when I know I have a big day ahead of me. It gives me a nice energy boost and keeps me full for a few hours.

PB Oatmeal

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of rolled oats
3/4 cup of Skim Milk
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp of Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp of coconut oil

Instructions:
1. Put 1/2 cup of oats and 3/4 cups of skim milk in a bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes
2. Stir the oats and milk and microwave again for an additional 45 seconds.
3. Let the oatmeal sit for 2 minutes.
4. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in a few dashes of cinnamon, 1 tsp of peanut butter, and 1/2 tsp of coconut oil.

Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 275
Total Fat: 8g (3g of saturated fat)
Carbs: 38g
Protein: 13g
Fiber: 4.5g

Tips:
1. Sometimes I like to stir in a few Tbsp of non dairy vanilla coffee creamer to add to the taste, or I may stir in a scoop of vanilla protein powder. If I do stir in protein powder, I usually add a little more milk to get the consistency I like. If you do add protein powder, make sure the oatmeal cools before you add in the protein, otherwise the protein can denature making it less effective.

Do you have any healthy recipes you would like to share? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.

Bruschetta Spinach Omelette

Bruchetta Spinach Omelette

This omelette is not only a delicious breakfast, but it also is a great meal for any time of day. For anybody out there on a low carb diet, you need to try omelette recipes like this! The entire omelette has less than 5g of carbs, about 20g of protein, and a good amount of healthy fats (which you need on any diet!). Another reason I love this meal is because it takes only a few minutes to make. All you need to make this is 1 egg mixed with 2 egg whites, 1 cup of spinach, 2 tbsp of Parmesan Cheese, and a half cup of Bruschetta (plum tomatoes, garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil, and other spices depending on what recipe you may try). Mix the egg and egg whites in a bowl and cook in a pan. Once most of the egg is cooked, flip the omelette over and add the spinach and cheese on top. Fold the omelette over and finish cooking until the omelette in golden. Place on a plate and add the bruschetta on top. Thats it! Try it out and let me know what you think!

Like this recipe? Have any you would like to share? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Starbucks Breakfast Food

StarbucksLlogo Black
I will openly admit that I am a huge Starbucks fan. I am guilty of being a Gold Card Rewards Member and whenever I have a chance to stop at a Starbucks, I almost do! Because I may stop in a little too often, I knew I should make one of my first food reviews on Starbucks to not only educate myself about their food, but also help you make some healthier choices when you may need a quick bite to eat. This topic is specifically about the breakfast foods Starbucks has to offer. Another post about their snacks, lunches, and sweets will come in another post very soon… so keep an eye out.

Here are my suggestions for Starbucks Breakfast food:
Yes – Oatmeal with or without toppings, Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap, Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfait, Peach Raspberry Yogurt Parfait
No – Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Greek Yogurt with Honey Parfait, Butter Croissant, Chocolate Croissant, Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, Danishes, Muffins, Scones

OATMEAL
Yes – The oatmeal offered at Starbucks is definitely a good choice when you need a little something in your stomach. It probably is not enough to fill you up as a meal, but it is a great quick snack or light breakfast. Starbucks offers a Classic Oatmeal and a Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal, both steel-cut with old-fashioned oats. Both oatmeals are only 150 calories without any additional toppings, 2.5g of unsaturated fat, 0g of sodium, 27g of carbs, 4g of fiber, and 5g of protein. The toppings offered for the Classic Oatmeal are Brown Sugar (+50 calories), Dried Fruit (+100 calories), and a Nut Medley (+100 calories), all of which I would still say are fine to add to your oatmeal. The toppings available for the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal are Organic Agave Syrup (+40 calories), Fresh Blueberries (+20 calories), Dried Blueberries (+100 calories), and a Fruit, Nut & Seed Medley (+70 calories), all of which I would say are fine to add to your oatmeal as well.

Starbucks_Oatmeal

BREAKFAST SANDWICHES
Yes – Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap
No – Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich

Starbucks offers a variety of Breakfast Sandwiches, and many people do not know that at participating locations, some of their breakfast sandwiches can be made with either egg or cage-free egg whites (usually only the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, and Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap can be made with egg whites). If possible, I highly recommend getting one of the cage-free egg white sandwiches, not only because they are lower in fat and cholesterol, but they honestly taste really good. The breakfast sandwich I would first suggest getting would be the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich, followed by the Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap, and then the Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap.

    1. Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon and Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich – 320 calories, 7g of fat, 2g of saturated fat, 20mg of cholesterol, 43g of carbs, 3g of fiber, 18g of protein
    2. Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap – 290 calories, 10g of fat, 3.5g of saturated fat, 20mg of cholesterol, 33g of carbs, 6g of fiber, 19g of protein
    3. Chicken Sausage Breakfast Wrap – 300 calories, 10g of fat, 3g of saturated fat, 30mg of cholesterol, 33g of carbs, 5g of fiber, 14g of protein

Be aware, just like most other restaurants, these foods have high sodium contents (700-830mg of sodium each), so for those very concerned with sodium consumption I would stay away from all of the breakfast sandwiches.

Although Starbucks offers a number of other breakfast sandwiches, the one to definitely stay away from would be the Sausage & Cheddar Classic Breakfast Sandwich. This sandwich is 500 calories, 28g of fat, 9g of saturated fat, 165mg of cholesterol, 920mg of sodium, 41g of carbs, 1g of fiber, and 19g of protein. Although there is a high protein content, the amount of fat, cholesterol and sodium make this sandwich not worth consuming.

Starbucks Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfait

YOGURT PARFAITS
Yes – Strawberry Blueberry Yogurt Parfait, Peach Raspberry Yogurt Parfait
No – Greek Yogurt with Honey Parfait

In general, the Fruit Yogurt Parfaits make a pretty good snack. These yogurts have between 280-300 calories (not including the Seasonal Harvest Blend which is an additional 90 calories), a fat content of only 3.5g of fat, under 180mg of sodium, 8g of protein, and 3-4g of fiber. The only things I would be cautious of would be the carb content of around 55g and the 31g of sugar which both are not necessarily good when trying to trim down belly fat.
CAUTION: Now usually I am a HUGE advocate of Greek Yogurt because non-fat Greek Yogurt generally has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt; however the Greek Yogurt at Starbucks is not! This yogurt has 12g of fat, 6g of saturated fat, 30mg of cholesterol, 44g of carbs, 1g of fiber, 32g of sugar, and only 8g of protein (the same amount of protein as the other yogurt parfaits). Because I find this product misleading and it actually has worse nutritional value than the other Yogurts at Starbucks, I do not suggest getting it.

CROISSANTS, BAGELS, & ROLLS
No – Butter Croissant, Chocolate Croissant
Now I would not strongly suggest getting any of the Croissants, Bagels or Rolls; however, there are some smarter choices you can make if you are in need of some fast carbs. Stay away from the Butter Croissant and the Chocolate Croissant because they are high in fat and have hardly any positive nutritional value. If you need to get your carb fix I would suggest going with one of the bagel choices. Starbucks offers the following Bagels:

    Plain Bagel – 280 calories, 1g of fat, 0g of saturated fat, 490mg of sodium, 59g of carbs, 2g of fiber, 9g of protein
    Multigrain Bagel – 300 calories, 3g of fat, 0g of saturated fat, 490mg of sodium, 60g of carbs, 6g of fiber, 15g of protein
    Everything Bagel – 280 calories, 2g of fat, 0.5g of saturated fat, 500mg of sodium, 56g of carbs, 2g of fiber, 10g of protein

Starbucks also offers a Reduced-Fat and a Regular Cream Cheese Spread if you are in need of Cream Cheese, but I would suggest staying away from it all together because Cream Cheese adds between 7-11g of fat (4.5-7g of saturated fat).

DOUGHNUTS, SWEET ROLLS, & DANISHES
No – Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, Danishes
I do not recommend having any of the Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, or Danishes because all of the options Starbucks has to offer are high in fat (13-27g), carbs (39-67g), and sugar (12-35g). There are much healthier choices to be had at Starbucks so steer as far away from the Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, and Danishes as possible.

MUFFINS & SCONES
No – Muffins, Scones
Similar to the Doughnuts, Sweet Rolls, & Danishes, I do not recommend having any of the Muffins or Scones because all of the options are high in fat (12-28g), carbs (55-78g), and sugar (17-43g). Starbucks does offer a Petite Vanilla Scone that does have less fat, carbs, and sugar, but the serving size is so small, that I would still not recommend getting it.

Hope you enjoyed this post and feel a little more informed about what and what not to get at Starbucks! If you have any questions or concerns about this topic, or any of my other topics, please contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Breakfast foods at Denny’s

Dennys Dining out can be hard, especially when your choices are limited. Being on tour, I realized that diner food is sometimes our only option because it is served 24 hours a day. Because of this, my mission was to try and discover which food choices are the best for me to eat while dining out at one of America’s most famous diners, Denny’s. This is what I discovered:

My general Suggestions are:
Yes: Water, Orange Grove Smoothie, Fit Slam, Egg Whites, English Muffin without Margarine, Grits, Oatmeal, Seasonal Fruit, Low Fat Yogurt, Fit Fare Omelette
No: Milkshake, The Grand Slamwich with hash browns, Lumberjack Slam, All American Slam, Cheddar Cheese Hash Browns, Chicken Sausage Patty, Bacon Strips, Everything Hash Browns with Onions, Cheese and Gravy, Pancake Puppies, Sausage Links, Meat Lover’s Omelette with hash browns and bread, Philly Cheesesteak Omelette with hash browns and bread, Ultimate Omelette with hash browns and bread.

Now lets take a more detailed look at the menu and explain why I made some of my suggestions:

BEVERAGES
Yes: Water
No: Milkshake

When it comes to having beverages at any restaurant, I almost always suggest going with water. It is a safe choice, it is almost always free, its 0 calories, and it is good for you. YOU NEED WATER!!! with that said, Denny’s offers a variety of beverages to choose from. If you need to have something other than water because you have a crazy sweet tooth going or you are just needing to fill a desperate craving, most of the choices are ok, just be aware that they have high sugar contents. Definitely, however, stay away from the milkshakes. Milkshakes can be tasty and delicious, but the milkshakes at Denny’s have between 580-890 calories, 25-45g of fat (16-20g of saturated fat), 68-113g of carbs, and 55-77g of sugar. To put that into perspective, in 7 Pixy Sticks, which are basically pure sugar, there is 15g of sugar. So in one milkshake there is an average of around 30 pixy sticks of sugar, almost as many calories as a stick of butter, and about the same amount of saturated fat as 4 tablespoons of lard.

SMOOTHIES
Yes: Orange Grove Smoothie

The smoothies are actually not too bad, except for the fact that there are high amount of carbs and sugars. None of the smoothies have any fat and are 270 calories or less. The best smoothie choice is the Orange Grove Smoothie. With only 120 calories, 29g of carbs, and 22g of sugar, this smoothie is the healthiest choice among all of their smoothie options.

SLAMS
Yes: Fit Slam
No: The Grand Slamwich with hash browns, Lumberjack Slam, All American Slam

The Fit Slam is your best choice when it comes to picking one of the ‘Slams’. The Fit Slam has 360 calories, 10g of fat, 30g of cholesterol (incredibly lower than all of the other options), 820mg of sodium (lower than all of the other options as well), 46g of carbs, and 24g of protein. Overall it is not a bad choice for a meal. On the other hand some of the other ‘Slam’ options are down right disgusting when examining the nutritional information. Here is what is in some of the more ‘hearty’ Slams Denny’s offers:
NutritionFacts

  • All-American Slam: 770 calories (590 calories from fat with 65g of fat), 24g of saturated fat, 680mg of cholesterol, 1360mg of sodium, 5g of carbs, and 37g of protein.
  • Lumberjack Slam: 1000 calories (540 calories from fat with 60g of fat), 17g of saturated fat, 460mgof cholesterol, 3010mg of sodium, 73g of carbs, and 42g of protein.
  • The Grand Slamwich with hash browns: 1530 calories (920 calories from fat with 102g of fat), 45g of saturated fat, 545mg of cholesterol, 3690mg of sodium, 97g of carbs, 52g of protein.

To understand how this relates to the FDA suggested 2,000 calorie and 2,500 calorie diets, please refer to the figure above.

BREAKFAST SIDES/BUILD YOUR OWN GRAND SLAM
Yes: Egg Whites, English Muffin without Margarine, Grits, Oatmeal, Seasonal Fruit, Low Fat Yogurt.
Maybe: Hearty Wheat Pancakes
No: Cheddar Cheese Hash Browns, Chicken Sausage Patty, Bacon Strips, Everything Hash Browns with Onions, Cheese and Gravy, Pancake Puppies, Sausage Links.

The best choices to make for sides are the Egg Whites, English Muffin without Margarine, Grits, Oatmeal, Seasonal Fruit, and Low Fat Yogurt because of their relatively low fat contents and other nutritional benefits such as protein and vitamins. The Hearty Wheat Pancakes I am on the fence about because although 2 pancakes only have 1.5g of fat, 8g of fiber, and 10g of protein, they also have 950mg of sodium and 64g of carbs. If you are not on a low carb diet and are not worried about sodium intake (an athletic person or a body builder for example who may need more sodium than the average person for muscle growth) then I would say they are ok. Definitely stay away from the Cheddar Cheese Hash Browns, Chicken Sausage Patty, Bacon Strips, Everything Hash Browns with Onions, Cheese and Gravy, Pancake Puppies, and Sausage Links, because all of them have relatively high fat contents and bad nutritional value. For instance, 4 sausage links have 30g of fat and 6 pancake puppies have 101g of carbs and 1020mg of sodium.

OMELETTES
Yes: Fit Fare Omelette
No: Meat Lover’s Omelette with hash browns and bread, Philly Cheesesteak Omelette with hash browns and bread, Ultimate Omelette with hash browns and bread

The Fit Fare Omelette is pretty decent. Although it may surprise you that an Egg White Omelette has 18g of fat, I still recommend it over all of the other choices because it has the lowest amount of sodium at 870mg, the lowest cholesterol at 65g, and 34g of protein which is a good amount for a meal. Some of the other Omelette choices I would definitely not recommend such as:

    Meat Lover’s Omelette with hash browns and bread: 1090 calories (730 calories from fat with 81g of fat), 840mg of cholesterol, 2550mg of sodium, 39g of carbs, 56g of protein
    Philly Cheesesteak Omelette with hash browns and bread: 970 calories (630 calories from fat with 71g of fat), 705mg of cholesterol, 2640mg of sodium, 38g of carbs, 46g of protein
    Ultimate Omelette with hash browns and bread: 820 calories (550 calories from fat with 61g of fat), 640mg of cholesterol, 1700mg of sodium, 33g of carbs, 33g of protein

FAVORITES
I would basically suggest to stay away from most of the breakfast favorites simply because there are problems with most of them in at least one nutritional field. I will admit that I love pancakes and surprisingly the Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast and the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast only have 15g of fat and 12g of fat respectively which is decent for the portion size you receive; however, they too also have some downfalls. Although of all the breakfast favorites I would suggest these two because they do have good qualities with good amounts of protein, fiber, and relatively low fat content, the Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast has 130g of carbs and 1610mg of sodium, and the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast has 1410mg of sodium and 390mg of cholesterol. Some other breakfast favorites have bad downfalls too, such as the Bacon Avocado Burrito with hash brown (65g of fat, 425mg of cholesterol, 2400mg of sodium), the Moons over My Hammy (41g of fat, 530mg of cholesterol, 2320mg of sodium), the Texas Prime Rib and Egg Sandwich (47g of fat, 495 mg of cholesterol, and 1750mg of sodium), and the Country-Friend Steak and Eggs (43g of fat, 415mg of cholesterol, and 1850mg of sodium)

FINAL WORDS
In general, you can see that many of the choices at Denny’s may not be as healthy as you think. I hope my suggestions help you make some healthier decisions when going to eat out at some of your favorite restaurants. Please contact me with any questions of concerns at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.