Just about two years ago, I embarked on a shift of sorts, known around these parts as "The Morning Person Project." The premise was pretty simple. Some of the most accomplished people I know are early risers and it seemed to be the best time to regularly get a workout in. I also, frankly, just needed more hours in the day.
In 2011, all of this is still true and even though I haven't mentioned it in awhile, I think I can tentatively say I'm actually enjoying it. There are a lot of things that seem to be a matter of "fits and starts" but mornings aren't one of them. If consistency can be a challenge for you as well, you know what these little victories feel like.
In addition to just generally being part of the world a little earlier and, ideally, bouncing some endorphins around, I've come to take great care in planning what was at one time my least favorite meal- Breakfast.
I've always done good thinking while cooking and it turns out this is no different in the earlier bit of day. It helps wake up the other side of my brain and it also sets the stage for some good moves later on. With that in mind, I've put my three latest favorites below. None of them, when prepped accordingly, is at all time consuming and they work best when rotated.
Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Parfait: Greek yogurt with two heaping tablespoons of pumpkin puree, topped with cinnamon and a scant handful of Scholars Inn Granola (thanks, Molls!). This is for the sweet tooth mornings and it genuinely tastes like getting dessert for breakfast for 230-250 calories*.
Avocado Toast: A piece of whole wheat toast with half a mashed avocado, hot sauce or salsa, seasoning and one of Bruce's eggs over easy. 300-320 calories*
Breakfast Beets: Pictured in this morning's golden incarnation at the top of this post and in a glorious deep purple above, this is my latest favorite. Maybe atypical as breakfast goes but it feels a little fancier without the extra work. Any fresh herb will do (tarragon and basil are my favorites), just roast your beets the night before (I do mine in foil), leave them out on a plate or refrigerate overnight and then rub the skins of easily in the AM. Chop, add cottage cheese, herbs, lemon juice (+zest if you're up for it) and a couple cracks of good black pepper. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and tell me it's not genius. Thanks to my dear man, Jamie Oliver. (275-300 calories*)
*This is not about to become a calorie counting blog but I'd already counted them up and am usually at least curious so there you have it.
As for the rest of the morning, it goes a little like this:
- 5:15 Alarm goes off. I get one snooze if I need it (i.e. I am *this close* to unlocking the keys to time travel and need to finish the thought before that pigeon stops talki...zzzzz)
- 5:32 Okay, for real this time. Radio on, ice water poured and four mornings out of five I'm into the workout clothes I laid out on my way to bed. This is very important because I am not firing on all cylinders and something as simple as no clean sports bras could still be a deal breaker. I've made progress but I'm no saint.
- 5:54 Shoes on, teeth brushed, cat fed, face splashed. Jog to the gym. Or run if it's 5:57 already (it usually is).
- 5:59 Deep breath. It's cool and it is that very particular brand of early morning air that feels a bit private. The second freshest breath of the day.
- 6-7 Any assortment of sweaty things. So long as I can wring out my ponytail at the end, I'm in pretty good spirits and, no, I don't think that's gross.
- 7:05 Back to the house, kick on the coffee, finish that glass of water.
- 7:10-7:25 Stop sweating. Morning edition is on and I am now listening to the news, attacking my Reader and drawing a picture of what the day is going to look like.
- 7:30-8 Wash, dry, sparkle. You know the drill.
- 8-8:15 Breakfast with a crispy side of email.
- 8:20-8:35 Off to the races with a good chunk of day already behind me.