Friday, September 25, 2009

A SImple, Super Frugal, High Protein Breakfast

I've listed some of my dinner meals, but not the other stuff we eat, so here's our breakfast.

I like a high protein breakfast. It keeps me full longer and gives me energy to clean up around the house. Adding carbs early in the morning sets me up to be groggy and unproductive.

My husband and I start everyday with what we call "egg pile." Not everyone likes the routine of having the same thing every morning, but we do. I usually make something special on one of Dan's days off, like omelets or even pancakes.

We used to have "egg pile" in a sandwich, but I don't have bread on hand every day, so I shortened it. Occasionally, we treat ourselves to bread, which is yummy, but not necessary. If anything, adding the bread makes us hungrier sooner.

I get a 12 oz sausage roll from the Dollar Tree for $1.00. It does have vague "spices" listed as an ingredient, but no nitrates, which is our current health mission. I break the sausage roll into twelve pieces and flatten the pieces. So, two sausage "patties" cost us $0.17.

This goes on an egg, thus the name "egg pile." We get a dozen medium eggs from Walmart for $0.96, or $0.16 for the two eggs.

The egg is also topped with a half ounce of cheese that my husband and I split, for another $0.06.

Each kid gets an egg for breakfast, for $0.16, with a half ounce of cheese, split, for $0.06. They then graze as needed for the rest of the morning. Someday, I'll write a whole post about why we love being grazers, but not today.

Why so skimpy on the cheese? Because I make fried eggs, and I hate cheese cooked onto the pan, so I don't pile it on. I put on what fits neatly. We eat cheese and drink milk throughout the day.

Breakfast is an excellent place to cut costs. Grain based meals, like pancakes and french toast, along with oatmeal, are great frugal breakfast options for people who can handle carbs in the morning. I love eggs myself, and have actually had egg cravings during this pregnancy where it seemed like eggs were all I ate all day.

How do you save on breakfast?


Captain Cleavage said...

hubs and I are very very lucky in that when It comes to breakfast we have what I like to call the "hook-up"

He works at a food dist. warehouse and once a month they have sales. we usually get about 3 boves of egg paties (the real kind) and 2 cases of bacon for about 10 dollars which may seem like it is costly but it also last us 1-2 months. we also have been known to skip breakfast as we are late risers. sometimes I wil have a thing of yogart and a piece of fruit. For somereason it is vury hard for me to eat a full b-fast anymore with out getting nauseated. but yeah thats us...wholesale food by the bulk and fruit which we get from local growers (which is sooo much cheaper! lol)

Jenny said...

Well, for starters, what you and I consider "frugal" probably aren't the same thing at all. I've never calculated it until today, but for example my eggs cost a quarter for each one which frankly, I still consider a bargain for considering that they are exceptionally high quality and a fantastic source of protein. I also buy sausage for $3/lb. That's 3X what you pay but it's also local and almost organic. I'll compromise when we're at someone else's home or when we're out to eat, but I will not buy factory farmed meats (or other animal products such as dairy, eggs, etc.) for home.

That being said, some of our cheaper breakasts:

-Steel cut oats cooked in the crockpot overnight. Top in the morning with a drizzle of real maple syrup, some fresh or dried fruit, and maybe a handful of walnuts.

-Quiche; use leftover bits of meat, veggies, egg, cheese, etc. It can be made crustless if you wish.

-Hashbrowns: Bake an extra potato or two for dinner. In the morning dice or shred the cold potato, sautee with some peppers and onion. Serve with fried egg.

-Biscuits and Gravy: I only use about 1/4 lb (so $0.75 worth of good, local, organic meat)of sausage. Brown it and make gravy with it and the drippings (flour, milk, salt, pepper) Serve over biscuits.

-Muffins/Breads: Homemade carrot muffins, zucchini bread, banana breads, etc. I always make them with whole wheat pastry bread, try to cram in as many fruits/veggies as possible and usually reduce the sugar that the recipe normally calls for.

-Yogurt with fruit and granola. I make the yogurt myself. The Greek yogurt we like is $4.99 for a smallish carton. I can make it myself with about $1.35 worth of organic milk. We serve it with granola (easy to make) and berries (usually frozen, either things we picked and froze ourselves or purchased when on sale. When bags of organic berries go on sale 2/$4 I'll usually get a raincheck, go online and find a ton of $1/off one product coupons, and then go back to combine the raincheck plus coupon for $1/bag berries. Works for us.)

mary bailey said...

My son doesn't always want breakfast before school but I do try to encourage him to at least have milk or yogurt if he doesn't want anything else. When it comes to eggs, he likes a bowl of egg salad for breakfast. Right now he's on a soy bacon kick. Sometimes it's banana bread, sometimes it's cereal.

Penny Saver said...

We do steel cut oats in the crockpot, too. I add dry milk to the water so it has some added protein and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg. I usually drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the top for a healthy oil to start the day. It is delicious, very inexpensive, and healthy.

I'm another who doesn't buy factory meat (I recommended The Omnivore's Dilemma in another post - it changed my view of food!) Most of our meals are meat-free because sustainably raised meat isn't cheap.

This goes back to a previous post, but I've begun coupon shopping and am saving a lot of money, but I'm still avoiding the processed junk. I have recently gotten coupon deals on:

*natural peanut butter, combined with a sale to make it $.25 per jar
*cereal, 10 boxes for under $1.00 with coupons, sale, and mail in rebate - I don't buy anything with HFCS, artificial colors, or partially hydrogenated fat, so it's mostly boring whole grain stuff and thankfully my kids will eat it!
*100% fruit juice, free when combined with a sale
*milk, $1.00 off a gallon
*vitamins, free when combined with a sale
*canned tomatoes, 8 cans for $1.50 when coupon combined with clearance

Do you have a store in your area that has bulk bins? You might look for whole grains other than rice to see how you like them. We eat a lot of quinoa, which is a complete protein, wheat berries, bulgur, barley, and other unprocessed grains that I get cheap out of bulk bins. They keep us full longer than flour-based foods and are hearty and flavorful. We have a store called Winco that is super cheap for bulk grains, but I've seen them in local natural food stores and Whole Foods.

Rachel said...

Emily, My husband leaves for work at 6:00, my son leaves for the bus at 6:15. They don't want a large breakfast, so I don't get up and make it. They eat cereal. When I get up later, it varies, according to my mood. This morning I had a boiled egg and a piece of toast. Yesterday morning I had a bowl of raisin bran.

I cook breakfast for dinner one night a week. Usually Friday works best for us. It is a break in the budget from meat dishes, still has a lot of protein, if we have eggs. My husband loves grits, so if eggs are served, so are grits. Sometimes we have pancakes with sausage or bacon.

Sarah said...

I lurve me some eggs. Every now and again I'll do the oatmeal thing but scrambled eggs with veggies mixed in (onions, peppers, tomatoes) and a bit of cheese on top is amazing.

Carla said...

I am always amazed at how cheap the food you buy is. Food is so expensive here but we have to pay it. We go through a lot of eggs. They are almost $3 a carton regular price for conventional eggs. One place has them on sale for $1.79 a dozen once every few months and I try to load up enough until the next sale (I have 6 dozen in my fridge right now as I overshot how much we'd need). The other day you mentioned chicken. That would be $20 a bag here, $15 on sale. Milk is more than $7 a gallon here and it's only been recently I've been buying it (I nursed my kids until they were 4.5 years old, even tandem nursing). Not much is cheap here :(

As for breakfast, I too like eggs. I will have two or three if I'm eating low carb. I'll sometimes have a piece of toast if I"m not. The kids like eggie nests, a piece of bread with the middle hollowed out and an egg fried in it. Sometimes they like cereal. I only buy it when it's $1.99 a box or less (they like rice crispies and honey bunches of oats). I'm trying to get them to like oatmeal but they have sensory issues and there are lots of things that will make them physically sick if they try to eat (they will eat it in other things as long as it doesn't have that mushy texture). DH is the least frugal as he like a big bowl of ice cream and will eat a couple of bowls of cereal. I don't know where he puts it, lol! They usually have fruit and yogurt if they feel like it. I never restrict their food as my mother did when I was little and it cause me to have binging problems and a fear of not having enough to eat that I am still having trouble getting over.

Henrietta said...

Penny Saver, I think that's a great idea to try out the different grains from the bulk bins! My husband and I should give that a try!

Oatmeal is our preferred breakfast for many reasons. 1) Inexpensive. 2) Good for the high cholesterol with which I have been genetically "blessed." 3) Tradition--my great-grandma always told me to eat oatmeal for a good breakfast. :-)

Sometimes we'll have cereal. I also bake bagels (3 oz each, instead of the giant store-sized ones), and we'll eat those with whipped cream cheese (whipped spreads more easily and you can use less).

On weekends, sometimes we'll have eggs and turkey bacon/sausage, or pancakes/waffles. I also made a quiche recently that was quite the hit with DH! Definitely not an every day thing, though!

Coming from someone who has a family history of high cholesterol and tries to watch what she eats, are you concerned about it at all? The thought of eating an egg (about 2/3 of the daily recommendation for cholesterol) and sausage and cheese nearly every day is just too much for me!

Emily said...

Penny Saver, we do have some stores with bulk bins, but from what I remember, the prices are way high. I'll have to check again to see if I can add some variety to our whole wheat diet. I'm glad you're doing well with coupons (:

Carla, wow, those are very high prices! But, you're right, you have to eat.

Henrietta, a lot of the studies linking cholesterol related heart problems and eggs are now being disputed. If you have a cholesterol problem, stick with what your doctor says, of course. For our family, it falls under, "If God made it, it is good." So I am not worried.

Anonymous said...

We save by avoiding alot of premade and pre-prepared food. I'll make pancakes and freeze a batch or two. We love a fried egg and a slice of toast. Oatmeal is always a healthy and inexpensive option. I also make individual puff pancakes in muffin tins; eggs, butter, milk, sugar,vanilla. We enjoy these on the weekend with bacon (a treat for us) and we freeze any extras.

Kim from Philadelphia

Penny Saver said...

Our bulk bins are quite affordable. Barley, for example, was $.89 per pound the last time I went. That's easily 3 side dishes for four at our house, so $.30 per meal. With half a $.99 bag of green beans and 4 chicken thighs for about $1.50, it's a healthy meal for under $3.

I'd be concerned with the high fat and saturated fat content of this breakfast. I plugged it into (which is a great resource for finding out the nutritional information for your meals) and found that your egg pile is 189 calories, and 69% of those calories are from fat, with 24% from saturated fat. Only 30% of the calories are from protein.

One ounce of pork sausage is 96 calories and 72 of them are from fat. If you're also having high fat meats like sausage, ground beef, and hot dogs for dinner, I'd be concerned about having too much fat and saturated fat throughout the day at the expense of other healthy nutrients.

Many people consider high protein diets to be healthy, but for long term good health, I don't know of any nutritionists or doctors who would recommend a diet so heavy in fat.

Anonymous said...

My father raises chickens so we're blessed to have free eggs from him. What we don't get from him we buy from the local Amish farms. It's worth it to me to spend a little more and get all natural eggs the way God actually intended them to be! We love eggs here, too, and have them nearly every morning. Thankfully the fresh Amish eggs are just 30c more a dozen than the local grocery store, so the price isn't that different.

Definitely look for sales and use coupons though. We went to the store today and got 20lbs of potatoes, 5.5lbs of brocoli, 1 lb mushrooms, 3.5 lbs squash/zuccini, 1lb plums, 2 heads of lettuce, 6lbs onions, 1.5lbs green peppers, 2.5lbs sweet potatoes, 2.5lbs bananas, and 5 loaves of fresh Italian bread for around $30.00. Not that this is necessarily breakfast related, but I was thinking about you and the real lack of fresh veggies that you can afford while I was shopping this morning.

Rapunzel's Room said...

We keep chickens, so luckily we have our own source of natural eggs. A dog got into our yard and killed all of our chickens a few months ago so we have been buying store-bought and it just isn't the same! We also have a large garden and family members that are farmers, so we get most of our produce free/really cheap.

Some of our favorite breakfasts include:

- Pankcakes..I like to add some flax and I make double and triple batches to freeze so that we have quick options in the morning.

- Egg Cups...eggs, breakfast meats, and veggies cooked in muffin tins. These are easy for my husband to eat on his way to work.

- Muffins with grated veggies or lots of fruit, with flax.

- Hashbrowns with veggies and eggs

- Oatmeal is our favorite...we eat this quite often. The steel-cut in a crockpot or baked oatmeal is divine!

Lori said...

I make homemade granola bars, doughnuts and muffins for my son. My husband and I don't eat breakfast.

K said...

I am breastfeeding and I CRAVE EGGS! I have never been an egg person before this, and even when I would try them they would usually make me feel sick to my stomach (unless I ate a very small amount). Now I am eating eggs (mostly just egg whites) all the time!

MamaMay said...

I love your blog. I am protein in the morning person as well, but I cook mine in the crock pot overnight. I am not human until I eat and have a hard time cooking until then.

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