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FOOD DUDE: A smart start for a healthy heart

The healthy heart breakfast by Terry Bursey.
The healthy heart breakfast by Terry Bursey. - Terry Bursey

I admit there are times when I don’t take my health into account. Thanks to an almost nightly dose of vigourous exercise I can’t call myself out of shape – but I am a man of many vices – most of which are terrible for my body.

Terry Bursey is the Food Dude
Terry Bursey is the Food Dude

Like many Newfoundlanders I ritualistically consume fried foods loaded with bad cholesterol, enjoy a guaranteed sweet snack in the evening and chances are I quench my thirst more often with a can of pop or caffeinated concoction than I do with good old-fashioned dihydrogen monoxide. To top all that off, while I don’t drink anymore, I do still struggle with the same “baymanesque” nicotine habit that I picked up in Grade 8.

I’m a new dad though, and I’m entering my 30s. If I don’t at least try to make healthier choices now, then what kind of example would I be setting, right? And hey, I want to still be around for my kids when they’re my age. At least, that’s what I told myself last week before delving into some research on healthy alternatives to my pet comfort foods.

One particularly sad aspect of being a well-tasted chef is one gains a sort of sixth sense as to whether something tastes good or not based on the recipe alone. Using this sense while reading the healthy alternative recipes I found online suggested things would look up for my heart but not for my soul.

I just couldn’t bear the thought of replacing all my pasta dishes with quinoa and my burgers with tofu and thus decided to make a compromise by changing cooking methods more so than ingredients. The first one to take the brunt of this grease-cutting blow was breakfast. While fried hash browns, a bacon omelette and buttered toast are my usual morning munch, I needed a substitute that would be a little kinder to my heart without having to relinquish the satisfaction of a calorie loaded breakfast. With this in mind (along with a smidgeon of additional research) I’ve created this succulent alternative:

The healthy heart breakfast

  • 2 large potatoes, baked and chopped
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 4 egg whites, 2 yolks
  • 1 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups light chicken broth
  • ½ cup broccoli, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a small saucepan on medium heat, bring 2 cups of light stock to a boil.
  • Add your quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  • Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400 F and very lightly coat two washed potatoes with oil, place them on middle rack for 15 minutes or until tender.
  • In a medium pan on medium-high heat, sauté onions until translucent in olive oil and add chopped baked potato and broccoli.
  • Cook for six minutes or until golden brown, season and remove from pan.
  • Beat four egg whites and two egg yolks with a whisk until smooth.
  • Add egg mixture to the heated pan (with 1 tsp olive oil if needed) and cook for two minutes before carefully flipping over.
  • Add a smear of ricotta cheese, a layer of spinach and a layer of quinoa to ½ of the omelette and fold the other half over.
  • Cook for another minute and flip for a final minute before plating.
  • Serve with your choice of toasted multigrain bread, a bagel or a bowl of oats.

They say the best way to form good habits is to start first thing in the morning. While I don’t have very many success stories of my own, this new breakfast trend has gone pretty well so far. It’s a rib-sticking meal packed with all the energy you need plus a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals with a drastic cut to cholesterol and bad fats. If you’re a creature of habit like me and are feeling a bit more health conscious but don’t want to give up the good things in life, I highly recommend starting with this recipe.

Happy hearts!


More from the Fude Dude:

Terry Bursey, otherwise known as the Food Dude, is a Newfoundland chef transplanted to Ontario who enjoys putting his mark on traditional recipes and inventing new tasty treats with unexpected ingredients. Reach him at thefooddudecolumn@gmail.com .

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