Allison Fishman
May 10, 2011

Meet Zoe. She is our May coaching client for Healthy Habit #5: Project Breakfast.

Zoe is a high school guidance counselor living in Philadelphia. She loves food, cooking, and eating--right down to her grocery shopping routine: she meets her parents in Philly's Reading Market every Saturday morning to shop and share a meal. This allows her to visit her butcher, her produce guy, and try and keep her purchases local.

For breakfast, she visits a deli across from her school with some colleagues. And she's the first to admit that the savory bacon-egg-and-cheese on a roll is a heck of a lot more interesting than low-fat cottage cheese and fruit.

So we're going with it. This week, Zoe is going to max out on her savory breakfasts, focusing on what she can add to make it a Healthy Habit, and not on what she's taking away. Every morning, Zoe will use the following checklist:

Did I have a whole grain?

Did I have a fruit or a vegetable (or both)?

Did I have a lean protein (dairy or otherwise)?

If she can say yes to all, Zoe can give herself a high five. We're not replacing her mornings out with colleagues with a brown bag breakfast; that feels like punishment. That would never work for Zoe. We're keeping it fun, social and savory, and adding some new healthier elements instead of taking away what she enjoys.

So yesterday's Bacon and Cheese on Whole Grain became today's Turkey Bacon and Avocado on Whole Grain Bread:



Zoe already had the protein and the whole grain for breakfast, she just added avocado (fruit/veg category) and bounced the cheese.

But the cheese wasn't all she bounced; she bounced the guilt. It's so hard to know what to eat these days, with so many people saying different things (local! organic! vegan!). In fact, it's become so bad that Zoe confessed to feeling guilty about eating bread, as if it's some sort of no-good carb that should be kicked to the curb.

Guess what: whole-grain bread is good, real good. There are lots of nutrients and fiber in there. So instead of managing feelings of guilt or anxiety, Zoe gave herself a new assignment: she's going to bake her OWN bread this month. Years ago, she made a pledge that she'd learn how to bake bread before she turns 30, and since she turns 30 this week, it's time.

Zoe is taking the food habits she loves: savory breakfasts, breakfast out with colleague, and adding to it to turn it into a healthier habit. Likewise, she's confronting her food guilt (bread: should I?) and turning it into something there's no need to feel guilty about: baking her own fresh whole-grain bread.

When building healthy habits, it's key to build on what works for you already.

Tell us about your breakfast challenges as well as what's working for you, and let's figure out how to help them meet in the middle. Let us know!

Eat like you mean it!

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