What (else) can I eat in the morning that doesn't take any time? (I'm sooooo tired of eggs!)

I must be a freak of nature. I never get tired of eggs! I love them just about any way you can cook them. As I write this, I'm still digesting a very late Saturday brunch (I'm still readjusting to Eastern Standard Time) of steak and two fried eggs. I may also be just about the only wife left in the USA who gets up every morning and cooks her husband breakfast -- two fried eggs -- every day before he heads off to work. I work, of course -- what do you think this ezine is? -- but at home, on my own schedule, which is, I realize, a huge luxury.

If you like eggs okay, but find them a little monotonous, you could try omelets, a really great way to vary eggs. I think I'll do a section of Cooking Low Carb! on omelets soon. But maybe you're just plain sick of the things.

What can you eat for breakfast besides eggs? Not to belabor the obvious, here, but you may eat for breakfast anything you'd eat for any other low carb meal! Eggs for breakfast are simply customary, not essential. You can have meat, cheese, fish, any protein your little heart desires. Personally, I think a pork chop makes a very nice breakfast from time to time. A hamburger patty is a good breakfast as well. If you're in a tearing hurry in the morning, as so many people are, you might invest in A) a box of pre-made hamburger patties -- be sure that the box says "100% All Beef"; many pre-made hamburgers have carb-y fillers in them -- and B) one of the George Foreman Electric Grills I reviewed several issues back. Since the grill cooks both sides of the burger at the same time, it's fast, and since it doesn't need to be watched, you can be combing your hair or finding your shoes while the burger -- or a chop, or a small steak -- cooks.

Let us not, in this discussion, forget about sausage. Pork sausage, turkey sausage, no matter, it's meat, and it's a good breakfast, so long as you read the label and make sure you're getting one without a lot of added sugar and other junk. I've taken to cooking pork sausage patties on my George Foreman Electric Grill as well, and it works just fine. Ham is another possibility that's traditionally "breakfasty", but be cautious which brand of ham you buy. Ham virtually always has sugar added, but how much sugar varies a lot. I've seen ham with 1 gram of carb per serving, and I've seen ham with 6 grams of carb per serving! That's a big difference. Read the labels. If you're buying ham at the deli, make them read the labels!

This would be a good place to mention that bacon, although it is low carb, is not high enough protein to make a good breakfast all by itself. You'll need to eat it along with a protein food.

Leftovers can make a fine breakfast, and of course all that is needed is to heat them up in the microwave. (Handy tip -- double the time at half the power makes most warmed up leftovers taste a whole lot better than warming them up quickly at full power. 2-3 minutes at 5 for a piece of chicken, for instance, is about right in my microwave.)

Some of the low carb cookbooks have recipes for "muffins" and "breads" and such, but none of the recipes I've tried have been spectacularly successful. Most of them depend heavily on beaten eggs, and end up tasting eggy rather than bready, which isn't what you want if you're tired of eggs. Still, I haven't tried all the recipes yet, so there may be some that are somewhat more satisfactory. If you've tried a low carb muffin or bread recipe you liked, you might send it in and share! I have had a reader send in a recipe for a low carb granola she invented, and I've shared it below in Cooking Low Carb! I also have a pretty good low carb/high protein waffle recipe I'm sharing. It's not dirt low in carbs, so you wouldn't want to eat them every day, but then you're not likely to make waffles from scratch every day either, are you? You could, however, double the recipe and freeze the extras. Warm them up in the toaster oven, not the microwave, if you want them to be crispy!

If you'd like something light, and very fast, you could have cottage cheese with some strawberries or raspberries, or with a wedge of honeydew or cantaloupe. A half-cup of cottage cheese has about 4 g of carb and 14 g of protein, about the same protein count as two eggs.

Another possibility for a non-egg breakfast is a protein shake. Atkins puts out a shake mix, though I haven't tried it. I reviewed ProFormix in this newsletter awhile back -- very low carb, very high protein, tastes quite good. No doubt there's other low carb shake mixes on the market you could try. I also gave a recipe for a sugar-free, stevia-sweetened protein shake in my book, _How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds_; I repeat the recipe below. A shake is especially good for folks like my friend Charlotte, who simply can't face cooked food in the morning.

What are the fastest breakfasts?

Well, that shake we just passed can be pretty darned fast, especially if you make it from a mix. Even if you use my recipe, you can put all the ingredients in the blender, stick the blender container in the refrigerator over night, and just whiz it up in the morning. Either way, just pour your shake into a car cup, and you're good to go! If you flavor it with instant coffee, you can even get your morning caffeine at the same time.

Other fast, easy ideas include hard boiled eggs -- just boil a dozen eggs over the weekend, then grab two every morning on the way out the door -- individually wrapped string cheese (2 or 3 of these would make a good breakfast), or a few slices of deli meat -- sliced turkey, chicken, roast beef, or ham -- and/or cheese in a baggy. Any of these can go in your purse or attache case and be eaten in the car, on the train, or at your desk.

Why should you eat breakfast at all? I'll tell you why. It has been long established that what you eat for breakfast will determine your blood sugar stability and your level of hunger for the whole day. Eat a good breakfast and you are way ahead of the game. Skip breakfast, or even worse, have a big bowl of cereal or a muffin or a pop tart, and you'll be in trouble all day no matter what you eat later on. You don't have to eat the second you get up -- you can wait an hour if you like -- but a high protein breakfast is a vital health and energy strategy.

This was driven home anew by an article that appeared in the medical journal Pediatrics last year. It was a study of the effects of the blood sugar impact of various breakfasts on the level of hunger of obese teenage boys for the rest of the day. The outcome? The boys who ate a cheese omelet for breakfast were so much less hungry for the rest of the day that they spontaneously at 81% fewer calories during the rest of the day than the boys who ate instant oatmeal and skim milk! And we know that the same blood sugar stability that keeps you from getting hungry also helps you to be cheerful, clearheaded, and energetic. Not to mention helping you to resist the donuts in the break room and the candy bars in the vending machine.

No matter how rushed you are, you just can't afford to miss a trick like that!