I’ve been doing this low cal thing for a while, and one of the hardest things to accomplished this seems to be eating breakfast at work. We all have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jumps starts your system, can help you control the hunger at lunch time (since there’s already food in your system), and can help you concentrate and work better in those early morning hours at work.
However, how often do you grab a bagel as you run out the door, or stop for a breakfast sandwich on your way to work? It’s not like on the weekends when you are home and have your over or all this time to prepare a nice, filling low cal meal. No, at work it’s rush, rush, rush. No time (or equipment) to make a nice filling low cal meal.
Well I’m happy to say that when I’m at work I tend to eat quite well with minimal time and calories. To the point that even though my breakfasts are between 320 and 335 calories, I get comments on how delicious it looks. And all you need is about 30 minutes prep time on Sunday night, a microwaveable dish (with cover), a microwave at work, and some Tupperware.
As some of you may know who know me, I’m doing a low cal/cheat system sorta calorie loss thing. That means for 5 days I am careful about my calorie intake, while the other 2 days I go back to my happy-go-lucky lifestyle. That means that:
- A) For two days I can eat all those of foods that I deny myself the rest of the week (including factoring any parties, going out, and other events that it’s just not reasonable to keep track of all that stuff)
- B) Can give myself a break for thinking about the food I’m eating
- C) Keeps my body from going into the starvation mode that fails so many diets
- D) and most importantly reinforces to myself that weight can fluctuate, and it’s the long goal that I’m looking at, not the short-term.
But this isn’t about that… perhaps a later post. This is about the 4 days a week (Mon-Thur) that I need a healthy, low cal, and filling, breakfast that will keep me on track without wasting time at work. I have posted a few recipes in the past (like the Eggs (Florentine style) w/ Black beans picture right & other recipes) but wanted something that was a bit easier to prep and cook at work. With that I came up with 2 different dishes that I alternate each day to keep me going: Bacon & Spinach Omelet and Poached Eggs in Tomato sauce.
Both use the same base that I prepare on Sunday night, and then I tweak it for each meal. Each serving goes into 4 little Tupperware containers so I just need to grab my eggs, cooking dish and one container as I head out the door. Better yet, the ingredients and methods are pretty simple. May seem a little complex but this entire process takes less than 30 minutes start to fridge.
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 bag of spinach (about 4 cups) pre-washed and ready to use if you can find it
- 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Salt & Pepper
Sauté the onion a pan with butter over medium high heat.
While that is cooking, loosely chop the spinach. You don’t want it in small pieces, just enough to no longer be large pieces. Once the onion is translucent, turn off the heat, add the spinach, give a toss, and cover. (yes there will seem to be an outrageous amount of spinach. Don’t worry it cooks down) Let sit for a minute. Give it another stir, and cover for another minute. By doing this with the residual heat in the pan you avoid overcooking the spinach.
Separate into 4 equal parts and place into 4 Tupperware containers.
Bacon & Spinach Omelet variation prep: [+87 calories / 2 servings]
- 2 slices bacon
- Cheese (I use 1 ounce of smoked mozzarella)
Cut bacon into strips. I tend to cut the two piece in half, and then lay on top of each other and then cut them together. Saves time. When you are done you should have a bunch of little strips of bacon. Place that in the pan you just used for the onions and spinach and cook until crispy. Separate into two batches and place in two of the Tupperware containers.
Take the cheese and dice into small pieces, and place into the same Tupperware. I tend to use smoked mozzarella as it goes well with the flavors and I usually have it on hand as I use it as a low cal snack. I have used 1 slice of Provolone in the past which has a few more calories, but so long as you are around 50 calories per cheese you should be good.
Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce variation prep: [+114 calories / 2 servings] (Note: this also involves a bit more skilled microwave-cooking-fu… you might want to stick to just the omelet till you get the hang of doing poached eggs in the microwave)
- 1/2 c Tomato sauce
- 1/2 c caned crushed tomato
- 2 slices provolone cheese
Mix together Tomato sauce (I tend to use Classico’s Florentine version) with the crushed tomatoes, and add to the two remaining dishes. Mix it a bit, and then place 1 slice of cheese in each container.
Place all the Tupperware in the fridge. The prep work is done. All that’s left is to grab 2 eggs each morning, along with your cooking dish and 1 of the pieces of Tupperware.
I use a microwaveable omelet maker to cook both of my dishes (and to transport the eggs in my backpack in a ziplock bag inside). Cost about $3, have 2 of them to alternate between. However most small covered microwavable dish will work.
- 2 eggs
- Omelet base
Place omelet base into your cooking dish. Make sure mixture is equally spread out. Beat together 2 eggs in a paper coffee cup. Pour in the eggs. Microwave for 1 minute. If using the omelet maker, flip over. Otherwise try to turn over the egg mixture to help cook it evenly. Cook for another minute. Remove and add salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 eggs
- Tomato base w/cheese
Place Tomato base into cooking dish. Microwave for 30 seconds. take the container you brought breakfast in and fill about an inch up. Crack the eggs into the dish and microwave that for 45 seconds-1 minute (will vary depending on microwave). The eggs inside should be lightly poached. Remove the eggs to on top of the tomato base (a slotted spoon works best, but a fork works in place). Try not to add too much water to your dish. Place cheese over the eggs and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove and add salt and pepper to taste.
And that’s it. Add some coffee (I drink mine without sugar or cream) and you have a filling breakfast. Once you get comfortable with the basics you can start playing around with the ingredients. I make my own herb butter with horseradish, parsley and butter to add a few more layers of zest to my onion/spinach mixture, but still keeps roughly the 50 calorie per serving amount the butter adds. You can replace 1 of the eggs in the omelet with 2 egg whites to make a more healthy meal (and remove roughly 40 of the calories too). I’m also a fan of adding some hot sauce to the omelet. No extra calories typically with tons of flavor!
Have your own low cal tips for eating a healthy breakfast at work? Leave a comment below.