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Friday, April 9, 2010

Breakfast

I love breakfast. Not just because I love the food, but reading the newspaper and drinking coffee are so much more enjoyable first thing in the morning for some reason. But I do love the food. I love oatmeal and eat it every day. I used to eat cold cereal until grad school when I finally realized that I was lactose intolerant and my chronic stomach problems were due to the milk. Then I switched to hot cereal, made with water, and have not looked back since. I also find oatmeal much more satisfying. I can eat half a box of cold cereal and be hungry again in an hour. The only exception to my preference for oatmeal was during both my pregnancies. For some reason I developed an extreme aversion to oatmeal so I ate almond butter and toast and yogurt smoothies or a huge bowl of homemade muesli with fruit and yogurt when I was pregnant with Big A. When I was pregnant with Little A I started out doing the same as soon as my oatmeal aversion developed (by about 6 weeks), but then got intense raisin bran cravings. I was going through HUGE boxes of raisin bran each week. I hated this as it is so high in sugar and I would inevitably be hungry again in an hour...and would also be running to the toilet pretty often. But I could not control my craving. Fortunately, my lactose intolerance went away during both pregnancies. Anyhow, the biggest challenge I always find when we travel, is finding a place to go for breakfast. Cold cereal or a muffin just doesn't cut it for me. Consequently, through much research I have managed to find great, healthy places. In NYC, it was a place called Wildgreen Cafe, which, unfortunately, is now closed. In Chicago, it was the West Egg Cafe, which I highly recommend. I never go out for breakfast in Toronto because I would rather have my oatmeal than anything else, but I have also learned never to order oatmeal in a restaurant. It is a very personal thing, oatmeal. I have mastered the art of making it just how I like it (not to thin and not too thick...lots of cinnamon, sweet but not too sweet, etc.), but it simply cannot be replicated by anyone else. I also like it plain with just cinnamon, ground flax seed, a pinch of salt and sweetener. No nuts, raisins or fruit. I once heard that adding pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice is good... when I tried it I almost threw up I thought it was so disgusting! I also only like quick oats. Not instant, not large flake and not steel cut. I've tried to make myself switch to large flake or steel cut because they are lower on the glycemic index, but I just can't do it. The texture doesn't do it for me and I simply don't enjoy it nearly as much.

Breakfast is also a stressful time with the girls. I am usually alone with them and trying desperately to get a healthy meal consumed in a reasonable amount of time. Big A LOVES LOVES LOVES cold cereal. I hate that because most of them are so full of sugar. Her favorite is this organic corn cereal that is really just fancy corn puffs. They have zero nutritional value. They are so high in sugar she is bouncing off the ceiling some mornings after a few bowls. I am always encouraging her to have other things such as oatmeal, eggs or toast and almond butter. Sometimes I'm successful but usually I'm not.

Little A is just so unpredictable in terms of whether she will eat her bread and almond butter. This morning it was a no-go again so I gave up and started digging around for an alternative. Since she's now taking yogurt off a spoon, I decided to take a risk and make her some hot cereal. I'd already given all the infant cereal we had for her to my sister-in-law for my niece, since Little A wouldn't eat it, so I found some organic oatbran cereal in the cupboard. I cooked it up with banana and cinnamon, the same way I make Big A her oatmeal. To my surprise, Little A let me feed her the whole big bowl! Unfortunately, I only had skim milk to make it with, but I am going to defrost some breast milk from the freezer and make it with that tomorrow so she can get some more fat and protein in this meal. Of course, knowing my luck, she won't eat it tomorrow...