Reader Profile: The Empty Stomach Warrior

“The big meal in my house was dinner, and that’s how my body was conditioned.” - June Ferestien: Age 47, Business Consultant, Newton, Mass.

Cooking Light Reader: June Ferestien

HER CHALLENGE

June Ferestien is an athlete and has been since the age of 10, when she started competing in tennis. During the week, she often headed to school without breakfast. On weekends, June competed, but although she needed energy, her morning meal was light—Raisin Bran, a banana, and maybe a bit of bacon. June retired from pro tennis in her early 20s, and 20 years later, the eating habits remain. She’s now a working mom with two daughters who exercises daily—but heads to yoga on an empty stomach. During the day she grazes. When dinner comes, game on. “I’m a warrior eater, busy all day and saving up my calories for dinner. I know it’s not ideal but I kind of work, work, work, and save up for my reward.” Despite not putting on weight, June understands the need to better balance her day.

OUR ADVICE

June is a performer, mentally and physically—two dimensions that would benefit from a healthy morning meal. If she would eat a light breakfast shortly after waking up, by the time she got to yoga, she’d feel fueled, not full—and that’s important for maximizing the benefits of exercise. But she’s not fond of a lot of traditional breakfast foods, like pancakes, so some new ideas are needed to inspire her to the breakfast table.

  • Make friends with muffins. This ultimate make-ahead breakfast is freezer-friendly, quick to reheat, and satisfying. Pair with yogurt for a more filling meal.
  • Make breakfast burritos: They’re quick, filling without being heavy, savory, and adaptable. Try scrambled eggs with avocado and salsa, a smidge of sausage with leftover veggies, leftover flank steak with salsa, even leftover mashed potatoes with chicken. If you don’t want the tortilla, skip it and wrap in a lettuce leaf.
  • Or have dinner for breakfast. People often eat breakfast for dinner, so why not the other way around? Leftovers are ideal—think beyond the standby cold pizza and opt for leftover whole-grain pilafs or salads, or even veggie soup or chili, which you could drape over scrambled eggs.
  • Poach in advance. Try poaching eggs ahead—once they’re done, shock in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, and store in a zip-top bag. Reheat for 30 seconds in simmering water or for about 10 seconds in the microwave, and serve over half of a toasted whole-wheat English muffin: a not-too-heavy option with only 138 calories and 1.7g saturated fat, packed with 9.2g satisfying protein.
  • Bake quick breadsbanana bread or zucchini bread—slice, and store in the fridge or freezer. A slice, on its own or with a smear of cream cheese, makes a speedy option.
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