Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Is anyone else out there plagued, haunted, and traumatized by the abundance of sugar that is readily available on what seems like every horizontal surface of our schools? I know I am. Eating healthy during the school year can truly be one of the greatest challenges of our careers, both because of the abundance of junk food and because we are forever trying to wolf down our lunch while prepping our next lesson before the bell rings. It is SO HARD to make time for ourselves and eat well, and this can affect our waistlines and our wallets. And frankly, it stresses me out. I try so hard to take good care of myself, and then get so frustrated when I give in and eat a handful of mini candy bars in the teachers’ lounge.
I’ve spent 19 years battling that bowl of mini candy bars, and I’ve learned a few things about how to eat healthy during the school year without blowing the budget. I’m excited to share some tips and tricks with you in a few blog posts! These posts are intended to give you a starting point and spark some ideas of what you could do to keep your body and your bank account healthy and strong during the school year. It is possible!
Let’s start at the beginning. Breakfast. I have a surprising number of friends who can actually function until 10:00 am with no food. I am not that person. I wake up super hungry every day and need to eat before I do anything that involves potentially negative consequences. Here’s what I’ve found to be the easiest, cheapest, most delicious breakfast: soft boiled eggs. I LOVE my eggs this way because the whites are hard and the yolks are still runny–my favorite. And there is NO cleanup. Just dry out the pot, compost the eggshells, rinse the plate and you’re done! You don’t even need a fork, let alone a pan and a spatula.
If you’ve never tried soft boiled eggs, here’s how you do it:
- Boil enough water to cover the eggs.
- Drop the eggs in gently with a spoon.
- Set your timer for 7 minutes and 20 seconds.*
- Walk away.
- When the timer rings, cover the eggs in cold water for a few seconds.
- Peel, sprinkle with salt, enjoy!
I usually eat two eggs, which gets me 140 calories and 12 grams of protein. Throw in a piece of fruit and that adds some carbs and another 100 calories. Finally, I drink decaf coffee (yes, eyeroll, caffeine messes with my sleep) with 3 tablespoons of half and half.
The price of this breakfast is $.30 for the eggs (sustainably farmed), .$42 for the organic banana, $.78 for my coffee (I’m a bit of a snob and drink the fancy stuff from my local roaster) and $.15 for the half and half. That makes a grand total of $1.65. A whole-food, delicious, no sugar added breakfast for less than half the cost of a latte at a coffee shop. Now, do I sometimes splurge and treat myself to said latte? Absolutely. About once every couple of months. But having this breakfast plan in place gets the vast majority of my days started off right and makes my food budget very happy.
If you’re not an egg person, that’s just fine! My hope is that you take a good look at your breakfast needs and make a plan. Are you eating if you need to? Is your breakfast plan easy and therefore sustainable? How much is your breakfast costing you? Is it healthy? Does it get you through until the next time you have a moment to eat? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the upcoming posts about snacking and lunch at school, and then of course dinner! Thanks so much for reading and if you know a teacher friend who would love this article, please share! Also, come join us in our Facebook group, Financially Fit Teachers.
*The size of the eggs and your altitude might mean you need to boil them a bit longer or shorter, so if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time, just add or subtract 15 seconds on the timer until you get the perfect eggs for you.