Up for Breakfast? Try this Low-Fat Combo

We skip it, postpone it, rush through it, rarely look forward to it, and too often just ignore it. All too often it's only during a vacation that we seem to take time for it. 

But breakfast can help us maintain good health and increase morning productivity. Remember, the food you put into your body is your fuel for the day. The all too popular coffee and danish (or doughnut) provides a minimum of vitamins and minerals and includes far too much sugar and fat. The sugar provides an immediate surge of energy, but there is an almost equally fast decline that can make you feel dizzy, weak, and even starved, often resulting in binge eating at the next meal. 

You can avoid this rollercoaster ride by selecting foods with a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Experiment with high-fiber breakfasts, including regular oatmeal, bran cereals, whole wheat toast, or low-fat, whole-grain muffins. Include a good source of protein, such as nonfat milk, yogurt or ricotta cheese, and a piece of fruit. 

Here are two recipes that can become starting players in your morning lineup.

Low-fat breakfast sausage

1 pound 95 percent lean ground turkey or pork

1/3 cup minced onion (or 2 tablespoons dehydrated onion)

2 tablespoons skim milk or water

1/2 cup oat flour (blenderized dry oatmeal)

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/2 teaspoon each sage, garlic powder, and pepper

1/4 teaspoon thyme

Stir together oat flour and spices. Add remaining ingredients and stir lightly, just until combined. Let stand 20 minutes. Form into small patties and "fry" at medium heat in nonstick skillet until browned. Makes 16 one-ounce patties. Nutrition analysis: approximately 50 calories, 5 grams of protein, and less than 2 grams of fat per patty.

Oatmeal/wheat pancakes

1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal

2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt

3 egg whites

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 cup water (as needed; depends on brand of yogurt used)

Combine oatmeal, yogurt, and egg whites and let stand 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, and stir the batter just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Thin with water to batter consistency, if needed. Cook on a nonstick skillet. Makes 16 pancakes about 4-inches in diameter. Nutrition analysis: Each pancake has 80 calories, 3.5 grams of protein, and less than 1 gram of fat. 

These pancakes freeze well. Layer between wax paper after cooling, and place in a resealable plastic bag. Remove individually and reheat in microwave or toaster. You can also experiment with various flours and/or extract flavors.