Ok, who doesn’t enjoy that delicious little breakfast sandwich from the nearest fast food place? Kids and parents alike love that tasty, greasy bite of heaven. But in the time it takes you to walk/drive to the nearest restaurant, wait in line, pay and get your sandwiches, you could have easily made and eaten a healthier version that both your wallet and waistline would appreciate.
With a little foresight into having these common ingredients in your kitchen, this should take you a max of 10 minutes to make. Plus, you can indulge more often and not feel guilty about all the extra fat and calories if you exchange a few healthy alternatives to the classic.
Start by toasting and slightly buttering whole wheat English muffins. Fry up an egg – this is the most labor-intensive part, which should still only take about 3 minutes. Add fried egg to the English muffin. Top with baby spinach, your favorite light cheese (like fat-reduced cheddar, Colby or Havarti) and tomato and/or avocado slices. Done. Easy, fast, has all the major food groups and the kids love it.
Have an extra few minutes and want to indulge more? Buy frozen, ready-made potato hash browns and pop them in the oven, as directed. My kids love these – it adds to the feeling of having a special restaurant treat, but the fat is way reduced by baking instead of deep frying.
– Whole wheat English muffin – toasted and lightly buttered
– Fried egg (pref. in a little Canola or other light oil)
– Baby spinach leaves
– Fat-reduced cheese (cheddar, Colby or Havarti)
– Tomato and/or avocado slices
Little Belly Monster, my 5 year old, was in the kitchen with me last night as I was making dinner. He not only likes watching me cook, he’s now started asking me about the ingredients. He asked me what was in the fried rice I was cooking, so I told him – rice, egg, vegetables, sauce. “Spinach?”, he asked (he’s obviously onto my “secret” ingredient. I love that it’s not even unusual to him). I answered with a simple, “Yes”, to not bring any further attention to this. He then started saying how fried rice is yummy and so good for you. I had to let him know that it’s not always that way (to alleviate future questions in restaurants), I just like to add veggies.
Well something in that comment, and all the past years of food training, clicked for him. He went on a 3 minute diatribe about how important it is to eat vegetables and to eat healthy. He went on and on about how veggies prevent cavities and stop your teeth from falling out…and how treats are ok to eat sometimes but not all the time…and how you don’t need to eat dessert every day. He ended by saying that he knows there are other reasons to eat healthy but he doesn’t know all of them. Wow.
My husband stood there, shocked, as he listened to all of this – he’s not as enthusiastic about my hard line on healthy eating. He’s now convinced that I’ve brainwashed our children. Say what he will, I was so proud of our Little Belly Monster. It hasn’t always been easy, but he is well on his way to becoming a great little foodie.
Here’s the dish that inspired it all…
It’s true, persistence does pay off. After a few attempts at trying to integrate Indian food into our family repertoire, we had varying degrees of success with the monsters. The spiciness being the biggest barrier. But at this last meal, there were no questions asked except, “Can I have more raita and some naan bread?” Amazing.