Updated: Jul 24, 2021
The choices we make when it comes to choosing "where to eat" or "what brands to buy" are an important factor in how healthy our meals are. This week I wanted to talk about how taking a just little extra time to read the labels when shopping can be the difference between unwanted weight gain and maintaining a healthy figure.
During last week's Ice Cream recipe, I already touched on how some brands can contain 2-3x more calories than other brands. Today we are going to look at the traditional "Full English" Breakfast "fry up". This usually consists of 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, some egg, baked beans, toast, mushrooms and tomatoes. When eating out in a restaurant a breakfast like this can easily reach over 1000 kcal. For example, Morrisons Cafe lists their “Big Breakfast” coming in at 1,060 kcal with 71g of fat and 38g of protein.
Oh but this is the big breakfast, I hear you say, of course its going to be high in calories… Well even the “Little Breakfast” option contains 960 kcal and 60g of fat. Not so little if you ask me!
Even if you end up with less items on your plate (and therefore feeling less full afterwards) both options contain excessive levels of fat. Just one of those meals contains more fat than I usually eat in a a single day! And I am a big, tall, very active guy, being 6ft 4 and working in fitness. So if your energy requirements are lower than mine (...and the chances are that they are!) then you can see how this meal alone would easily put you over your calorie intake goals for the day (and destroy your arteries...)
I couldn't even find a picture of the "little breakfast" for comparison, but in searching I discovered they now also offer a "Big Daddy" option at 2,200kcal... I wish I hadn't looked.... maybe "Slow Suicide" would have been a better title? Okay so maybe restaurants are a bit excessive with the oils they use, hence the higher calories, but what if you make it at home? A traditional homemade full English breakfast still comes to about 807 kcal! Thats fine for some active people but not exactly helpful if you currently have weight loss goals. This is why I wanted to use this article to stress the importance of reading the damn label when buying store-bought prepackaged foods. There can be a world of difference between different brands of the same item. It only takes 2 seconds to glance at the label. But most brands know that people won’t take the time to check (or even know what they are looking for) so they can be just as “generous” with excessive oils and additives in order to bring their production costs down (and their profit margins up). So a very quick simple rule of thumb is to compare the amount of protein (in grams) to the amount of fat (in grams). If the fat number is higher than the protein number, then don’t touch it. Just put it back on the shelf and avoid it like the plague. Because that’s what it is. The modern obesity epidemic that is effecting the developed world causes millions of unnecessary deaths and the easiest way to get obese is to consume foods which don’t obey the “natural ratios of carbs/protien and fats” found in fresh foods.
Just look at these two types of sausage for comparison…. They are the same size and weight but the normal "British Pork" sausages are 191kcals each and contain 17g of fat per sausage. The Plant Menu ones are 49kcal each with only 0.6g of fat. You can eat four of the plant menu ones for the same calorie "cost" of one pork sausage, I know which one I'm picking... If you continue to make smart swaps like this with all the items in the meal then you can shave off over 55% of the calories and 93% Less Fat, while maintaining 80% of the protein content and ZERO cholesterol! Yeah that's right I managed to make this meal with 15x LESS FAT than the aforementioned breakfast at Morrisons Cafe. You could eat this every day for 2 weeks and still consume less fat than one of those "so called" breakfasts! (more like "it will break YOU fast", if you don't like your heart, then you know what to eat..) So heres the items I choose to buy when making my own homemade breakfast fry up....
Ingredients 2 ALDI Plant Menu, Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Sausages (49kcal each)
2 Slices of THIS isn’t Bacon (18 Kcal each) 2 Slices of Hovis Nimble low calorie bread (50 kcal / slice) 100ml of Crackd "No Egg" Egg Replacer 1/2 tin of Tesco "No Added Sugar" Baked Beans
1/4 can of Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion
1 handful of fresh Spinach (approx 25g)
Instructions 1) Go grocery shopping, and CHECK THE DAMN LABELS…, maybe I’m repeating myself but this is the most important step of this recipe, the rest of it is pretty obvious… 2) Heat up a frying pan, and pour in the Crackd Egg Replacer. You want to do this first as this egg replacer takes longer than traditional eggs to dry up and solidify. You don't need to use any oil in the pan as that would add fat (and calories), just don't leave the room and keep an eye on it while you prep the rest. Use a spatula to flip and/or scramble it every so often between each of the subsequent steps.
3) Place the sausages and bacon on the grill and get them cooking. 4) Chop the mushrooms and onions and throw them into a pot with a little drizzle of water in the bottom to stop them sticking. Heat up until they start to soften.
5) Once the mushrooms and onions are soft you can take them out of the pot and put them on your plate. Keep the pot on the heat and add the baked beans to it.
6) While you the baked beans heat up, stick the bread in the toaster. 7) At this point the Crackd scramble should be about done, you will know when its looking dry and like scrambled egg. Take it out of the pan and add to your plate. Use this pan to heat up the chopped tomatoes and lightly wilt the spinach. 8) Once your toast is done, stick it on your plate and top with the baked beans.
9) Take everything else off the heat (sausages, bacon, tomatoes and spinach) and then add to your plate and you are done! Stick all the washing up in soak while you enjoy your meal!
If we look at the nutritional breakdown I made below, we can see that the meal comes in at just under 500 calories with only 5g of Fat! but still has 30g of protein! The Morrisons big breakfast only had 36g of protein, so we've retained most of the desirable bits while removing all the unwanted stuff. It just shows what a difference a few careful choices can make!