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Upgrading The College Diet: Breakfast On The Go

Rakka at Flickr
Since I’ve been in college, my morning routine has remained pretty consistent: wake up, brush my teeth, make some coffee, get dressed, make my bed, collect my school things, fill up my thermos with brew, and go. The whole she-bang takes about an hour. The last step, in which I am walking out the door, is usually when I have an oh yeah moment, and remember that I should eat something. That’s when I grab some Pop-Tarts and run to class.

Even though I eat them for breakfast regularly, I think that Pop-Tarts are a lousy meal. The pastry is bone dry, the filling is overly sweet, and the frosting resembles old, flaking nail polish. I also find Pop-Tarts to be extremely unsatisfying—even when I eat more than one, I feel like I am lightly snacking at best. To make matters worse, I am unsatisfying myself with a lot of empty calories: two tarts (one package) offers 400 calories, 10 grams of fat, and little nutritional value.

Like a lot of the foods in my diet, I’ve been eating Pop-Tarts because they are cheap and convenient. But because breakfast is such a vital part of my day, I’ve decided to start improving the quality of the meal, even if that means investing a little more of my time and money.

Recently, I purchased a great new product that is helping me reach my goal of eating healthier in the morning. It’s call the Fit & Fresh Breakfast Chiller, and it allows me to easily organize and transport a breakfast parfait. The Breakfast Chiller is an all in-one container that has four main components: a top unit for holding dry goods, such as granola or nuts; a lower unit for holding fruit; a middle unit for holding yogurt; and a removable ice ring, which surrounds the middle unit and keeps my yogurt and fruit well-chilled until I am ready to eat. The lid even has a pop-out spoon, so I never have to worry about forgetting eating utensils.

I’ve really enjoyed using this product. I pack up everything the night before and put in the refrigerator. Then, I just pop in the ice ring the next morning and go. When I reach my destination, I sit down and enjoy a breakfast that is far more nutritious, delicious, and filling than anything that comes from a foil wrapper. Best of all, I don’t have any garbage to toss out when I am done—I just twist all the parts back together and throw everything in the dishwasher when I get home.

The only downside to adopting the Breakfast Chiller is the cost. I paid about $9 for the container, which is not bad for a one-time fee. However, perishables like natural granola, raw nuts, fresh fruit and non-fat yogurt (about $10 total) have now been added to my grocery list. Because these food items aren’t full of preservatives, they don’t have the Twinkie-esque shelf life of Pop-Tarts (about $2.50 for an 8-pack), and they have to be replaced more often.

I hate that my grocery bill has been inflated, but, to me, it is well worth the cost to have a proper breakfast in the morning.

Fit & Fresh offers a variety of other products for food storage and transportation, all which promote on-the-go healthy eating. You can purchase the products through most major retailers.

6 comments
  1. stacy

    I switched to the granola + fruit + yogurt breakfast a few months ago, and quickly realized how incredibly expensive granola is. Then I found this recipe for homemade granola: http://bit.ly/Jyr5
    It’s super easy, tastes great and is WAY cheaper.

  2. Jennifer

    Hey Camille! This looks great; I need to get me one of those…sounds like you’re making some good choices! (I’m really enjoying your entries.)

    As far as the grocery bills–yeah, the stuff for the yogurt parfaits is a little pricier, but yogurt really does keep a long time–a couple of weeks at least, often longer. Same with granola–and granola, if you make it yourself, is actually pretty cheap. (Yeah, it’s a bit of a time expenditure, but it’s sort of fun, and you can make a lot at a go.) You can also, after making some of your own granola, “cut” it with cornflakes or something to stretch it out longer and save more $$. I started doing that when my husband would go through an entire batch of home-baked granola in two sittings…the man is a vacuum cleaner, I swear…

    Good luck!

    Fruit I can’t really help with…we end up tossing a ridiculous amount that doesn’t quite get eaten.

  3. Camille Rogers

    Thanks you two. I really appreciate the feedback!

    I think I will start makingin my own granola. The kinds on the standard cereal aisle are far too sweet, and the kinds on the ‘organic aisles are far too expensive. It’s probably worth the effort to mix up my own batch!

  4. William Furr

    That’s a really cool idea for transporting granola and yogurt. Every time I brought that to work with me, the granola was soggy by the time I got around to eating it.

    Pop-tarts might be cheap, but you’re paying the rest of their price with your health. I’d much rather pay with dollars than with diabetes or weight gain or fibromyalgia or …. Also, you can get yogurt, granola, and fruit local and organic, which you can’t do with Pop-tarts.

    I used to have the “breakfast of champions” all the time in college. Can of Coke and a Pop-tart. I also gained about 40 pounds and became depressed by the time I left graduate school.

    Three years ago I started eating a simple breakfast every morning, with protein and whole grain carbohydrates. Either yogurt and granola (but not often, because of the sugar) but most of the time, I made an egg-in-a-basket. It’s a piece of toast (I go with whole or multigrain) with a hole in the middle where you place an egg. It’s quick, really cheap, and a good way to get your body going in the morning.

    It was also featured in the movie V for Vendetta. ;)

  5. Janie

    My favorite quick morning meal? Oatmeal. Not the kind in those little paper packages either. You just pop some whole oats into a bowl with some water and microwave. Add whatever toppings you like (dried fruit, blueberries, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, peanut butter) and voila! A delicious, hearty, and warm breakfast perfect for the coming winter months.

  6. Shari

    Ok I’ve got an awesome one for you. We tried it over the weekend and they were really good – Batter Blaster! Check em out.
    Pancakes in a can! Organic and totally no mess. And let me tell you if I can cook something it has got to be easy ;)
    Sooooo good when it’s cold out side!
    -Shari

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