A Tale of Two Breakfasts

The two breakfasts in the above photo took about the same amount of time to make--about five minutes. They'll take about the same time to eat, another five minutes.

Both meals are roughly equal in volume and have similar satiety factors, which means you could eat either one and feel equally full for about the same length of time.

Yet one breakfast has nearly three times the calories of the other. Betcha can't guess which.

And, for those of you still clinging to the ludicrous notion that healthy food has to cost more than unhealthy food, guess which meal costs less?

Uh-huh. That bowl of oatmeal costs about 20c to make, less than one fourth of the 90c-$1.00 cost of the eggs and sausage.

Why am I talking about this? Because these two radically different breakfasts serve completely different goals.

Laura loves sausage and eggs, probably even more than I do. She could easily wolf down that higher-calorie breakfast and hardly think twice about it. But her long-term goals are to get her cholesterol numbers down and get more fit. Oatmeal is a food she likes that helps her reach those goals.

My goal, on the other hand, is to have a heart attack by age 47.

Just checking to see if you were paying attention! Seriously, my goal is to rebuild my body during a period of heavy distance running, so I temporarily need to increase the protein and fat content of my diet.

Two totally different meals, two totally different diet and health goals.

What goals will you support with your next meal?

Related Posts:
Make Your Diet Into a Flexible Tool
15 Creative Tips to Avoid Holiday Overeating
What to Eat When You're Sick as a Dog
The "It's Too Expensive to Eat Healthy Food" Debate

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Sally said...

I will eat real food that I enjoy.

I've never been much of a breakfast eater. Toast (with butter) and fruit is my norm, if I eat breakfast. Lately, however, I've been more consistent about eating breakfast and I've added an egg to that -- usually cooked in butter. No sausage or bacon, though. Interesting thing has happened -- I've been losing weight and my cholesterol has dropped.

Unless it's in cookies, oatmeal is one of my least favorite foods! I've been trying for years to consume more grains, but I'm just not at all fond of them.

Little Les said...

I'll take one of the eggs, a few of the almonds, and the banana. You can have the rest!

Stuart Carter said...

Actually... recent peer reviewed scientific papers have now pretty much disproved the link between food cholesterol and blood serum cholesterol. Heredity is what defines your blood serum cholesterol, not how many eggs you eat.

Amy said...

I enjoy your blog! I'm curious about your heavy distance running and corresponding meal & nutrition goals. I hope you'll be writing more about it.

(I run 60-70 mpw, which I consider heavy distance, but I 'spose everyone has their own definition!)

Daniel said...

Good insights so far. A couple of quick reactions:

Sally, me too, I used to not eat much for breakfast, but I've made a change over the past few years and made it a bigger meal. It's made me more productive during the day, and (counterintuitively) it's also helped me avoid bouts of overeating later in the day.

Les: if only I actually liked oatmeal.

Stuart: agreed, heredity is a major factor in blood cholesterol levels, but the idea that heredity is the only factor is farcical.

Amy, thank you! I haven't really covered that subject in much detail--and yes, I'd say 60-70 miles/week is heavy distance!

In my case, during periods of heavy training, I dramatically increase my overall food consumption, and also increase the percentage of my food intake from protein. I also add in protein shakes (usually whey isolate protein) as well. I've found it helps me avoid illness and assists in recovery after those cruel long runs.

I'll see if I can work up a post that addresses this in more detail.


Kira said...

Love it! It's surprising to me just how filling a couple of eggs + whole wheat toast is for not very many calories. Occasionally, when I'm in a rush, I'll eat a bowl of cereal, and I'm always starving a few hours later. It's so much better for me to a) refuel after exercise and b) eat something that will keep me satisfied, whether that's oatmeal with a little protein powder or eggs and toast.

Julia said...

Sally -- I know what you're saying about whole grains. I started substituting whole wheat flour into my chocolate chip cookies... they taste just as good (maybe better) and I'm getting a little extra fiber into my diet...

As for breakfast, I regularly have a fried egg on whole wheat toast. It definitely gets me through the morning so much better than anything else.

Joanne said...

Hmm seeing as how I'm training again, maybe I should step up my oatmeal to the eggs and sausage?

I think it's important to remember that healthy is not the same for everyone and that different people have different needs!

chacha1 said...

I love oatmeal and, fwiw, it's easy to change the flavor profile with a little imagination. It doesn't HAVE to taste like library paste. My go-to is chopped walnuts, pumpkin pie spice, and dried cranberries.

We had eggs and sausage for breakfast on Sunday. Niman Ranch uncured chipotle cheddar sausage. Wow, those things were good.

Maybe worth noting that one could add some protein powder, or powdered milk, to the oatmeal to increase the protein content? Or nut butter, for extra protein AND fat? With all the same fiberlicious benefits? :-)

Daniel said...

Sounds like eggs and oatmeal are a more common breakfast food among readers than I'd thought! Happy to hear people are so mindful in their eating.

And Joanne: exactly my point. I want my readers to think about what those needs are, and then meet them. Our needs can change depending on what we're doing in our lives, and if your meals are active decisions that work for you (and knowing you, I'm sure they are!), perfect.

I just don't want my readers habitually grabbing a box of [*shudder* just an example] branded boxed cereal for breakfast just because it's what they always eat.


Erin said...

If you are an oatmeal fan, have you tried Baked Oatmeal? It is oh, so good. And, bonus, makes your house smell fantastic. Here's an easy recipe: http://hotdinnerhappyhome.blogspot.com/2010/11/oatmeal-breakfast-of-champions.html. Hope you enjoy it!

-Erin @ HotDinnerHappyHome.blogspot.com