Spa-BEveryone knows that a good breakfast is a must, but many of us of fall back on familiar excuses for skipping the first and most important meal of the day or grabbing something less than nutritious on the run.

At the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Doral, Florida, where guests learn how to make lifestyle choices that will pay long-term health dividends, dietitian Tracy Wilczek, MS, RD, LD, has heard all the excuses and knows how to overcome them. We turned to her for tips on overcoming excuses and getting into the breakfast habit and to Chef Anthony Stewart for recipes.

Breakfast Crêpes

Calypso EggsSpa-B1

Serves 4

1⁄4 cup combination of finely diced red onion and red, green, and yellow bell peppers (or any vegetable combination you prefer)
1 cup Egg Beaters
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚F.
In a small nonstick frying pan, sauté onions and peppers until they begin to soften. Cool.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well, using a spoon. Lightly mist a four-cup muffin tray with cooking spray.
Divide the egg mixture evenly into the cups.
Place the muffin tin in a hot water bath.* Bake until firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with plain hash browns (no salt or butter).

*To prepare a water bath for baking, put filled muffin tray in a larger pan and add enough boiling-hot water to reach halfway up the side of the muffin tray.Spa-B2 This technique cooks delicate dishes such as custards without breaking or curdling them.

TD&N Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 56; Total Fat:2g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g;Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 1mg; Sodium: 111mg; Carbohydrates: 1g; Fiber: 0g; Protein: 8g

GETTING A GOOD BREAKFAST: Q & A WITH TRACY WILCZEK

Today’s Diet & Nutrition (TD&N): What are the most common reasons people fail to eat breakfast?
Wilczek: The main reason most people fail to eat breakfast is lack of time. Another barrier is that people often think putting together a breakfast meal is complicated or will take too long and therefore they skip the habit all together. It all comes down to planning—or a lack thereof. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to eat breakfast in the morning. You just have to plan, shop, and stock the right foods, and carve out an extra 10 minutes for your morning routine.

TD&N: How can people who don’t eat breakfast be motivated to start doing so?Spa-B3
Wilczek: Most parents would not send their kids off to school in the morning without eating breakfast,so why do we let that rule slide for us as adults? You wouldn’t get very far if your car had an empty gas tank. Think of our bodies the same way. You need fuel for your body to run properly and efficiently.Breakfast has an important purpose, not only to fuel, but to “break the fast.” You fast all night long during sleep, and it’s important to break that fast and give your body the energy it needs to wake up and run—whether it’s driving your kids to school and doing errands or organizing a conference call or business meeting. Caffeine can get you only so far. That cup of coffee in the morning does nothing for the hunger pains that are sure to come if you haven’t eaten any food.

TD&N: Are there certain types of breakfasts that are best or simple for people who aren’t motivated to eat in the morning?
Wilczek: If you haven’t eaten breakfast in years,start small, start somewhere. A piece of fruit is one of the simplest ways to begin. There’s variety and portability, and most just need a quick rinse and you’re good to go. Another super-simple, supernutritious breakfast choice—the most preferred breakfast choice at the Pritikin Longevity Center—is oatmeal. Even the quick-cooking oats are a good source of soluble fiber, which helps stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol over time, and they take only a few minutes in the microwave. It’s the fiber in the oatmeal that fills and is likely to keep you feeling fuller longer than would a bowl of cold cereal. Every morning I cook my oatmeal with soymilk instead of water and top it with frozen berries for some color and
sweetness. The oatmeal is hot and the berries are cold, so it reaches the perfect temperature in no time. Cinnamon also makes a great flavor enhancer.

TD&N: Are there any healthful fast-food or graband-go options for people whose excuse for not eating breakfast is that they don’t have the time?
Wilczek: Again, using oatmeal as an example,Starbucks and McDonald’s are two chains that have oatmeal available all day. At Starbucks, you can choose your cooking liquid—water, skim milk, soymilk—and choose a banana from their fruit basket instead of sides of nuts and brown sugar. While the oatmeal at McDonald’s is already made—meaning there is added fat and sodium—you can request that no extra sugar be added, and there will be fresh apples and raisins on top. While it’s always better to make your food at home,this option is better than a breakfast sandwich or super-sized muffin! You can also get unflavored oatmeal packets with only one ingredient, rolled oats, from brands such as The Publix Greenwise and Whole Foods 365.You can keep some at work or in your gym bag or briefcase so you can make oatmeal for breakfast or an afternoon snack. As long as you have access to a microwave and water, a bowl, and a spoon, you’re all set.