Despite breakfast being dubbed “the most important meal of the day,” I still run into many people, both young and old, who skip breakfast. [As a review, breakfast has been proven to help students succeed in class with better performance and fewer behavioral problems, and breakfast eaters are usually thinner and/or lose weight more effectively the breakfast skipper. Also, let it be known that we are not talking a labor intensive, Sunday brunch style meal; it can be a simple breakfast eaten at some point in the first few hours of your day. Even a smoothie on your way to work can fit the bill.]
I have developed the fortunate habit of eating breakfast, so the act of eating it isn’t a challenge for me, but in my adult years, I have focused mainly on fine-tuning my breakfast choices. After my primary education days of cereal and toaster pastries, (yikes!) I turned to frozen bagels with peanut butter in college, and had a few years where I ate a toasted PB & J on whole wheat bread every day. My new love, other than the leftover and sometimes funky breakfasts I have, is the home made English muffin sandwich.
I have been looking for something hot and satisfying to have for breakfast, but anything even partially ready-made is full of fat, cholesterol and/or sugar. So, I started playing around with my breakfast. I went through a few drafts, none of which are bad by any means, but here is my favorite: A 100% Whole Wheat Thomas English Muffin, a fried egg, plus a second egg white, with a tablespoon of flavored hummus. (The hummus adds lots of flavor, which helps make the sandwich satisfying, and there are many varieties to choose from!) This is a winner nutritionally, but it is also shockingly less expensive and even saves time compared to going through a drive thru.
My Sandwich wins all the categories except protein, though that’s still a good amount of protein per meal. I get more fiber with less sodium and saturated fat when I make my own sandwich, and being a bit lower in calories, if I want fruit or another item with my sandwich, I have calories to spare, especially without the greasy hash-brown (which would be another 150 calories, 80 of which are from fat.)
2. Cost: An Egg McMuffin costs $2.89 where I live, and factoring in the servings of my English muffins, hummus and 2 eggs per sandwich, the cost of My Sandwich is $0.87 per sandwich! (These are Wal-Mart prices, other than my Trader Joe’s hummus.) I figured there would be a difference, but was shocked when I saw the numbers! (The $4.79 for the fast-food meal REALLY seems out of line, now! A hash-brown and coffee probably costs them a few cents!) For all of us who are either on a tight budget or concerned about the rising food costs due to this years’ drought, here is a way to get great nutrition for a steal!
3. Time: Depending where your drive-thru breakfast comes from, the time it takes you to buy your breakfast will vary. For me, the short trip still takes at least 10 minutes, at which point I am on my way out of the parking lot. At home, it takes me 7 minutes to make. Here is a quick “recipe:”
- Spray a small skillet with non-stick spray and pre-heat on med-low.
- Get out your ingredients. Gently open the English muffin with fork or fingers (I like doing this more than using a knife,) and toast the muffin.
- When pan is hot, crack eggs in the pan, washing you hands afterward! If you want to use fewer yolks than whites, you can learn how to separate them with simple directions and even a video. Salt and pepper the eggs if desired.
- While eggs are cooking, remove the English muffin and smear with 1 tablespoon of hummus.
- The sandwich is less messy with the egg over-hard, but any done-ness you prefer would work, or you could always scramble them!
- I fold the egg over to fit it on the sandwich, and then I eat!
All of these breakfasts (usually with fruit) have a good combination of carbs, protein, fats and fiber to help me recover if I have already worked out, and to keep me full until lunch! Why, oh why, would you rely on expensive, less healthy and slower choices when you can make a breakfast that’s better in every way?