Help me un-peanut butter my breakfast
June 15, 2014 9:26 PM   Subscribe

Difficulty filters: Hypoglycemia and picky-ness.

So, here's the thing. I eat two pb sandwiches every morning for breakfast. Why? Well, they fill me up (protein and fat) so I know that my sugar isn't going to tank before lunch. Also, I love pb. I actually crave this breakfast when I get up in the morning. I don't love the fat content, though. I want to lose inches and this pb habit is preventing that. I need different options for breakfast that are filling and easy/quick and not fattening like pb. I'm not someone who can do a yogurt or a bowl of cereal for breakfast. That will hold my sugar at a normal level for about 1 hour, if I'm lucky. I have no time in the morning to make anything that takes longer than the 30 seconds it takes me to make a sandwich. I'm a very picky eater. The obvious choice would seem to be eggs, but they upset my stomach and I generally don't like them. I can't tolerate whey protein, so those shakes are out (and would likely not be enough food, anyway). I've just never come across anything that will fill me up for as long as the pb does. I've even tried that PB2 powder, but it's inconvenient and tastes...not good. Plus, it rips the bread because it has the consistency and behavior of cement. Please help me find better breakfasts (and my abs).

tl;dr: I need a very filling breakfast option(s) to satisfy my picky palate that also won't spike and crash my sugar. Oatmeal/grits/gruel/cream of wheat/other mushed/soup-ed grain nastiness can GTFO.
posted by msbadcrumble to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like the fat is what is helping you stay full and you should keep a certain amount (possibly all) of it. Have you tried fewer carbs with your peanut butter? Do you already use whole grain bread? What about if you added a glass of milk, but just had peanut butter on toast -- would that fill you up? It seems worth trying a few variations on a breakfast that makes you happy until you see if it would work with fewer calories.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:48 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Keep the PB, lose the bread. Add pb to oatmeal and enjoy a freaking awesome breakfast.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:49 PM on June 15, 2014 [8 favorites]

Nonfat (FAGE or Chobani) plain yogurt smoothie containing 2 tablespoons of pb and one banana. Satiety City. Make it the night before.
posted by oxisos at 9:53 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Baked oatmeal seems to work well for a lot of people who don't like mush. You can make it over the weekend and heat it up in the morning. Budget Bytes Has some good recipes. She mushes it up with milk, but I just he at it up and eat it as is.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:56 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not everyone's bodies are the same, but you may want to reconsider your implication that fat is fattening. I personally have found, and I think that others/recent scientific literature can back me up on this, that fat isn't fattening and that if you ate no sugar peanut butter (this exists, although most of the major brands have sugar/corn syrup) without the bread as part of a limited sugar/grain diet, you might be able to lose the weight you want to. I lost 10 pounds last month eating several times as much fat daily as I normally do. I think the smoothie with peanut butter suggestion could be really good. If you don't like yogurt use whole milk. This oat-free oatmeal from Mark's Daily Apple also is not mushy and is easy to pre-make and reheat.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:57 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

I buy Bell Plantation's PB2, a powdered peanut butter with one gram of fat per two tablespoons and only 45 calories a serving. It would go well mixed with some yogurt or in a smoothie.
posted by mirepoix at 10:06 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

On rereading, I see you've already tried that. Sorry.
posted by mirepoix at 10:07 PM on June 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, do you like meat? A lot of the paleo stuff encourages people to broaden their views on what constitutes breakfast. In the western world we don't really think of eating a meat-based meal for breakfast but if you're a meat fan then reheating that is a breakfast idea. You can get pre-cooked chicken strips that go either in the refrigerator or in the freezer, you toss these in a pan for a few mins and then put on your favorite sauce and you're good to go. Even better have them with some chopped veggies.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:08 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

When I get tired of mushy oatmeal, I like to make millet, which is more filling than bread (seriously, the four slices of bread is probably your issue) and has a texture more like cous-cous or quinoa but is less bitter. I also like to make oatmeal the night before, let it thicken in the fridge overnight, and then reheat it with olive oil, with a more crumbly texture).
posted by Comet Bug at 11:04 PM on June 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

When you say two sandwiches, does that mean four slices of bread? If so, that's a lot for breakfast, and is more of an issue than the pb, probably.

Here is my go-to, super-filling, low-sugar breakfast: Bircher muesli (always read the ingredients, choose one that is mainly oats & seeds with no added sugar), plain Greek yoghurt (mine contains only: whole milk, cream, non-fat milk solids, live cultures), chia seeds, flaked almonds, frozen blueberries.

Put about 1/2 cup of muesli in a bowl, cover with milk, dollop of yoghurt, tbsp chia seeds, throw a handful of blueberries and flaked almonds on top. Refrigerate. Mix together in the morning & eat. Can be layered into a small jar and transported to work for desktop deliciousness.

(Play with ratios. If you find it's not keeping you full, add more yoghurt.)
posted by Salamander at 11:05 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

An intermediate step to hal_c_on's suggestion, if you're making these sandwiches with two slices of bread each, is to just use one and have "open-faced" peanut butter sandwiches. Depending upon exactly where you are with your glucose control and weight loss, approximately halving the amount of carbs might make a big difference.

As a type 2 diabetic, I have been really amazed by how key it's been to simply reduce, not even eliminate, the complex carbohydrates in my diet, with the side benefit of fairly effortless weight loss. I initially thought that eliminating sugars was most important, but evidently not, at least for me. I even eat pizza fairly frequently, I just make mine with super-thin crust.

Along the lines of what treehorn+bunny says there, a meal that's mostly meat, cheese, etc. with some high-fiber vegetables or half a slice of whole-wheat bread is probably a good meal for the goals you articulate in the OP.
posted by XMLicious at 11:10 PM on June 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Keep the PB, lose the bread. Add pb to oatmeal

The OP said she doesn't want oatmeal. Eat the PB plain on a spoon directly from the jar.
posted by John Cohen at 11:41 PM on June 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Avocados. Slice, sprinkle with some salt, eat.
posted by astapasta24 at 11:42 PM on June 15, 2014 [10 favorites]

I've done some research into low-GI foods that can be ready to eat quickly, because sometimes I don't eat enough dinner and then I wake up in the middle of the night because I'm hungry. (For example, here I am at 2:30 a.m.)

- Greek yogurt, a generous drizzle of honey, a handful of pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and either a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream or a third of a cup of half and half. The great thing here is that the fat and protein basically come in separate ingredients (I can only find fat-free Greek yogurt) so I can vary the two macronutrients almost independently. And if I substitute toasted oatmeal or bran cereal for the pepitas, I can also add a carbohydrate component that is, again, independent from the fat and protein.

- pearl barley simmered in stock with generous amounts of butter (like, 1/4 lb butter per lb dry barley) or similar amounts of olive oil. Pearl barley has a glycemic index of 30-40, and the individual grains stay intact and not mushy at all. This freezes well and can be quickly defrosted in a covered saucepan with just enough water to make good thermal contact between the pot and the barley.

- split pea soup, again with a 1/4 lb of butter per lb peas. Split peas are a low-GI carb and almost a quarter protein by dry weight. Again, you can vary the butter independently, although the butter is what gives it the creamy smooth non-grainy texture. When defrosting this, I like to turn the stove off while there's still a chunk of ice in the middle. Then I cover it a minute, and serve in a shallow layer on a large plate so that it comes to edible temperature quickly.

- an apple with peanut butter. You can either cut the apple into wedges and spread peanut butter onto each, or just take bites from the intact apple, sticking a chunk of peanut butter onto the apple before each bite. But either way you can fit almost a quarter-pound of peanut butter onto a large apple.

- a pint of half and half. This might not work so well if your diabetes requires you to get some carbs, but you really can't beat the prep time.

- a Caprese salad sandwich. You can pre-slice the mozzarella and tomato to save time. Use a whole-wheat roll to for lower GI, and basically pour olive oil onto the cut surface of the roll until oil leaks back out through the crust. I also like to make this with dark toasted sesame oil.

- three eggs scrambled with two tablespoons of butter and a splash of heavy cream. Ready in about a minute if you turn the heat high and stir vigorously with a silicone spreader the whole time.

I know some of these take more than thirty seconds to make, but I strongly doubt you're actually making two sandwiches in thirty seconds. I've never made peanut butter sandwiches on sandwich bread, but to make two peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches on four pieces of matzo it takes me at least five minutes including set-up and clean-up.

Okay, time to eat something and go back to bed. Good luck. Hypoglycemia sucks.
posted by d. z. wang at 11:45 PM on June 15, 2014 [9 favorites]

2 slices of grainy toast with avocado (lemon juice/pepper if you like).

I think you have a good system going on here. Why not alternate the PB with something else a bit 'healthier' every other day, and add some exercise to your daily routine.

Maybe change to healthier bread option and be done with it.
posted by Youremyworld at 12:02 AM on June 16, 2014

Instead of 2 sandwiches, why not just have 1 or 1 1/2?
posted by missmagenta at 2:50 AM on June 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

There's interesting debate as to what in your diet makes you fat. In general, calories in = calories out, but in particular simple sugar is a trigger to your body to manufacture fat. Simple starches convert easily to simple sugars.

So like others have suggested, I would read labels and consider getting natural peanut butter and look for only one or two ingredients peanuts and maybe salt.

Reconsider your peanut butter vehicle. Typical supermarket bread is simple starches and simple sugars. Use fresh fruit or vegetables: apples, bananas, celery, carrots, pears, oranges.

Measure what you're eating.

Count your calories (which is, in effect, measuring what you're eating). If you drop 200 calories/day from a 2000 calorie/day diet, you are cutting roughly 1400 calories/week, which is equivalent to 1/2 pound of fat. My doctor has recommended this rate as being healthy and long-term effective.

If you use the oatmeal option, use a variety without added sugars.
posted by plinth at 3:26 AM on June 16, 2014

Peanut butter on apples is super delicious and has more fiber for satiety. Just one sandwich with apple slices, apple butter, or bananas might also be worth a shot.

Have you experimented with non-peanut butters? The sunflower seed butter I have in my house right now has fewer calories for the same volume of peanut butter.
posted by tchemgrrl at 3:47 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm fully agreeing with everyone else on the it's not fat it's sugars and carbs. Eat straight bacon fat and zero bread and you'll lose a Lot of weight. Same info for blood sugar. Pb good bread bad. So I'd say either buy sugar free Pb or find a local grocery store with a homemade peanut butter machine or make you own and use celery or carrots (not apples they make my blood sugar spike like most fruit) as the delivery vehicle.
posted by chasles at 4:42 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

As a fellow mush-hater, I empathize. Breakfast is tough!

I make high-protein low-sugar cookies (more like granola bars, really) full of peanut butter, oats, dried fruit and double the eggs called for in a regular cookie recipe. (I assume that eggs in baked goods are ok).

Other good breakfasts: peanut butter in a low-carb tortilla, rolled up for maximum pb potential. Roast veggies with cheese and hot sauce. Egg-less huevos rancheros might work well -- just tortillas, pre-cooked beans (homemade if you need to do low-sodium), salsa from a jar and shredded cheese. Stick under the broiler and you're done. Almost like breakfast nachos, really.
posted by third word on a random page at 5:00 AM on June 16, 2014

I have low A1C so I need to eat some protein in the morning, but it's best if I avoid heavy carb doses.

One of my lower-carb breakfast go-tos, starring the nut butter of your choice:
  • 2 generous tablespoons nut buter
  • 8 oz goat's milk (I don't do cow's milk well). Almond milk is yummy but I'll generally find myself hungry around 10:30 a.m if I substitute it for the mammalian sort for breakfast.
  • 1 scoop vegan (or not ) protein powder. I find I can taste it in the shake but it's not overpowering. You could compensate by increasing the cocoa or sweetener, see below.
  • A couple teaspoons cocoa
  • A teaspoon or so of sugar. Splenda or stevia would work just fine as well.
Throw it all in a blender for 30 seconds or so.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:36 AM on June 16, 2014

Grab a bowl. Pour in 1 cup of frozen blueberries. Microwave for 30 seconds. Dump in a container of plain Greek yogurt. Top with crush walnut pieces. That gives you protein, fiber and fat from the walnuts.

If you are still hungry, make a foldover sandwich using one piece of bread and a sugarless peanut butter, like Teddie All Natural.

Both recommended to me by a NP who specialized in diabetic nutrition education. It's true, the yogurt doesn't stick with you as long, but if you sub one of your sandwiches for something else, it will reduce the fat and give you some variety.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:01 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Breakfast pizza-- some kind of very thin bread covered with a mix of cheeses; run under broiler. Assuming you're trying to go low-fat, find some lower fat but not nonfat cheeses. (I like reduced fat Stella blue cheese and lower fat Jarlsberg. You can mix these with smaller amounts of regular fat cheeses like Parmesan.) Mix or top with whatever is handy.

Have you ever tried Boca burgers? For some reason, I find them incredibly filling and the satiety lasts for a long time.
posted by BibiRose at 6:24 AM on June 16, 2014

PB on bananas. Or apples. Skip the carbs (although carby, the fruit is less so than the bread), and make sure you're using a natural PB and not the cheap stuff that's loaded with sugar.
posted by cgg at 7:41 AM on June 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have you tried cold lean roast? If you make the roast on Sunday it will keep until Thursday and you can have it straight from the fridge. It would be high protein and quick. The only thing is to make sure you get a quite lean cut of beef. I believe round roast would work. Skinless chicken breast should also work. You can always boil the beef/chicken/ham instead of roasting it to reduce the fat content a bit more.

Have you tried low fat cheese? I don't know if it would be low fat enough for you. But again cubes of cheese pulled out of the fridge are very fast and high protein.

Would it work to have a less high protein/high fat breakfast or a smaller one and bring a snack to work/school to stave off the sugar crash?
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:05 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Zone Perfect Protein bars? (14g protein). I have hypoglycemia also and have been eating these for breakfast for a long time. I also get an upset stomach from most protein powders, but don't have any problems eating these, whatever protein powder they use. They are sweet enough without spiking one's sugar like a candy bar. I am ok for 2-4 hours afterward. For extra protein, drink a glass of milk with it (6-8g protein). This brings you up to 20g of protein at least (comparable to a serving of fish). I am guessing your sandwiches have about 14-16g of protein all together, so it would be a close substitution.
posted by sevenofspades at 8:08 AM on June 16, 2014

What about finding a better PB (like mentioned above, a low-sugar one) and changing your bread to something like this Paleo bread? You could use the same amount of PB but cut the bread to 2 slices, and you'd be avoiding a lot of the carbs you're eating now but still getting the fat & protein.
posted by jabes at 9:02 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree with the crowd recommending natural peanut butter (no added sugar) and less bread. There's nothing fattening about peanut butter per se; it's calorie dense, but the satiety produced by the fat and protein is what keeps you from feeling hungry again soon. I get 35-40% of my daily calories from fats, and I have lost nearly 60 pounds in the last year and a half.

Natural peanut butter tends to separate at room temperature, but just give it a good stir and put it in the fridge, and it will stay mixed.

Use the same amount of peanut butter on half as much bread, and you'll cut out 150-250 calories depending on the bread you're using. If that leaves you hungry, add a piece of fruit.
posted by brianogilvie at 10:02 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is pretty carby, but no more so than your current option and is delicious and filling: in a good blender, blend: 1 frozen banana, 1 heaping tbs peanut butter, 1/2 - 1 tsp cocoa powder (if your banana is sweet, you don't need to add sugar, if it's a little unripe, you may want to add just a little sugar or maple syrup), and soy (more protein) or almond (better taste) milk to cover, then blend to milkshake consistency. If I think to buy it, I'll sometimes use a little chocolate flavored protein powder in place of the cocoa, but mostly I find I don't need to bother.

I'm a pretty small woman, and I have two servings of that for breakfast everyday (it's probably half of my calories for the day and I have lighter lunches and dinners). I am prone to low blood sugar, and it will hold me until 2pm, and I have less trouble not snacking around 11 with this breakfast than any other I've tried.
posted by snaw at 10:02 AM on June 16, 2014

This is a concern of mine. I am someone whose diet was 40% peanut butter and then was like "I need to lose some weight" and had to cut it waaaaay down. I also needed something that was foodlike in the morning and sugar makes me all jangley. Here are my solutions.

- measured natural peanut butter on whole wheat english muffins and some skim milk. Not very high in calories, filling. A balanced part of my balanced day.
- overnight oatmeal. Soak stuff in a jar in the fridge, use greek yogurt as well as milk/water. Add delicious stuff. Heat in microwave or eat cold. You can put some pnut butter in this if you want.
- low fat (or fake) meat on a wrap. I'll cook up a gardenburger or something (sodiuim makes it feel more foodish) and put it in a Joseph's flax oat bran whatever tortilla wrap with some lettuce and some light sour cream and tasty salsa
- high protein, low sugar cereal like Kashi Go Lean with a banana and skim milk ( I know you said no cereal and I understand your objections but try this)

All of these are under 400 calories and pretty low in sugar.
posted by jessamyn at 10:03 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't know if you've already tried this, but I've had really good luck with the PB2 powder mixed half and half with peanut butter. I agree that just PB2 mixed with water isn't the tastiest, but I don't even notice when it's mixed with the real stuff. I would mix up 1/2 c. PB2 and then pre-mix it with 1/2 c. of real PB. With it pre-mixed, you don't have to mess with that first thing in the morning. I also found 1/4 t. of salt really helped it taste good with more protein and less fat.
posted by annaramma at 10:03 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Noone will judge you for ditching the bread (and "empty" calories it may have) and eating the peanutbutter straight from the spoon.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:09 AM on June 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Given that you're a picky eater, these might not work for you, but my go-tos are 1) cottage cheese with cherry tomatoes and sometimes cucumber; 2) two Morningstar Farms veggie sausage patties with either melted cheese or nut butter spread on them. (I think I'm coming to realize that no one else's family put peanut butter on their sausage biscuits, and apparently it sounds really bizarre to a significant percentage of the population, but I grew up with it so there.)
posted by mudpuppie at 11:34 AM on June 16, 2014

It's really hard to figure out what exactly you want to eat for breakfast - you say you like the PB because the protein and fat keeps you full, but that you want to ditch the fat... so you want straight protein for breakfast? Or a low fat protein to go with your bread?

If you want to keep the bread but find a lower-fat topping than peanut butter, try low-fat cottage cheese. 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese will get you 12-14g of protein with very little fat. 1/3 Less fat cream cheese might be a good option too.

If you're OK with eating fat, just want something non-PB to keep you full, try a breakfast bowl! I make one with 2-4 ounces of roast beef or steak (use deli roast beef for quickest option), 1/4 or 1/2 avocado, and sliced tomato. Add salt and hot sauce. Buy prepackaged guacamole if cutting both an avocado and tomato will take you too much time. You can obviously substitute chicken if you prefer - buying a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken would keep it fast and easy. Breakfast bowls always keep me full till lunch!

You can think outside the breakfast box too. If you're happy with whatever you're eating for lunch and dinner, you can always eat the same kind of meal for breakfast too! To save time, just eat leftovers for breakfast.

Last but not least, you might find ChowStalker helpful. It's a recipe search geared toward people on special diets, so you can include and exclude ingredients to your heart's content. Try out the advanced search.
posted by geeky at 11:46 AM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

I once created a PB diet and lost 15 kilos in two months.
Like you, I really, really need a good breakfast and at the time, I couldn't imagine parting ways with peanut butter. I'm not certain wether this will work for you, but for me it was very efficient. Actually, maybe I should try it again…

First of all, once a week, I baked a couple of loaves of very fiber-rich bread. Although the base was whole wheat, I put in all sorts of grains and nuts. In one loaf, I added olives, in the other, I added raisins. The bread was sour-dough based and contained some vegetable oil and salt, all for preservation.

For breakfast, I had two or three slices of the raisin-version with crunchy no-sugar peanut butter, and apple slices on top instead of jam.

For lunch, I had two or three slices of the olive-version with very mild cheese and/or some vegetable, like tomato or cucumber. Sometimes, I would also have some sort of fish - like shrimp or salmon.

For dinner, I had whatever the rest of the family was having, but I made sure to only put meat or fish on 1/4 of my plate and vegetables on the rest.

For snacks, I had carrots or apples.

For drinks, only water, though sometimes, not always, 1 glass of wine with dinner.

I also exercised for 2 hours a day.

So basically, I took out all the refined sugar and starches (except that glass of wine once and again), and some of the meat. It worked very well for me, because I don't have as much of a pasta addiction during summer as I do during winter, and because I could eat with my friends and family for dinner.

The weightless was lasting and stable - weight didn't return till 15 years later - even though I returned to "normal" eating and exercise habits.
posted by mumimor at 12:18 PM on June 16, 2014

I'm similar to you. I have also found hummus to be very satiating and tasty for breakfast and lunch.
posted by mattholomew at 6:21 PM on June 16, 2014

I was having difficulty finding breakfast foods that would give me enough energy, and I was frequently overeating in order to avoid the inevitable midmorning sugar crash. What has worked well for me is to change the times that I eat. Now, I have four 400 calories meals a day and eat at 7:00, 11:00, 3:00, and 7:00. Eating every four hours keeps my sugar levels pretty stable. You mentioned craving particular foods when you wake up which makes me wonder if perhaps you are eating dinner a bit too early for you?

For breakfast, I have a giant yogurt parfait. I really didn't like the texture of yogurt and I didn't find it very filling. But I really enjoy the parfaits that I have been making with Greek yogurt, bananas, and crumbled chewy granola bars. The granola makes the texture of the parfait appealing to me.

For lunch, I have graham crackers, peanut butter, an apple, and carrots. And for snack, I have chocolate milk, cranberries, and almonds. My lunch and snack items could certainly work as breakfast items for you.

Another issue I had was choosing quantity over quality. Maybe if you bought some awesome bread, you would feel more satisfied with just one sandwich.

Also, for me, having variety on my plate helps me feel as though I have had a satisfying meal. Maybe make one sandwich, cut it into four pieces, and have some fruit or veggies with it?

But, really, consider embracing the midmorning crash and just eating another meal at that point.
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 3:31 AM on June 17, 2014

WeekendJen wrote:
Noone will judge you for ditching the bread (and "empty" calories it may have) and eating the peanutbutter straight from the spoon.
^ This. Celery is also a great substrate, if you feel a need to put your peanut butter on something. (Celery is also excellent with gorgonzola, btw.)
posted by brianogilvie at 8:23 PM on June 18, 2014

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