What's in that breakfast on the run?

October 20, 1998|By Lynn F. Little

An estimated one in four people eats breakfast while driving to work.

No wonder food companies are introducing frozen and hand-held breakfast entrees. Several offer English muffin, bagel and/or croissant sandwiches that can be zapped in the microwave and ready for the road in less than five minutes.

There is no doubt about their convenience, but the numerous frozen breakfasts on the market vary in how they fit into the reduced-fat diet recommended for good health.

Carefully read the nutrition facts labels on these products. The calories per serving may seem reasonable, but the percentage of calories from fat could be quite high, ranging from 13 to 62 percent.


Generally speaking, sandwiches made with English muffins and bagels are lower in fat calories than those made with croissants and biscuits. However, the amount and type of spread and filling used will also make a difference. Sausage and bacon are particularly high in fat calories.

Though not exactly car fare, pancakes, French toast, eggs and sausage also come in handy pre-made frozen form, ready to be microwave-heated in little more time than it takes to pour cereal and milk into a bowl. Some of these items also may be high in fat, so it is important to consider how they fit into your daily diet before putting the cereal bowl away entirely.

Along with fat, many of these breakfast items supply a good dose of sodium, 15 to 50 percent of the daily value recommended by Food and Drug Administration. Sodium conscious or not, those who opt for frozen breakfast fare might want to think about having some low-fat or nonfat milk as well as an orange, banana or some other fruit with their meal. These additions help supply the calcium, vitamin C and fiber most frozen breakfasts lack.

For some healthy "Eating on the Run" breakfast or other meal ideas, send a self-addressed, 32-cent stamped business-size envelope to Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County Office, 1260 Maryland Ave., Hagerstown, Md. 21740.

Mark the envelope, "Run."

Maryland Cooperative Extension programs are open to all citizens without regard to race, color, sex, disability, age, religion or national origin.

Lynn F. Little is a family and consumer sciences extension educator for Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County.

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