Here are 3 Super Healthy Breakfast Ideas!
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, it is also the easiest meal to skip, usually for one of two reasons: 1. You don’t feel hungry when you wake up, or 2. You are in too much of a rush to prepare it. Well, I can give you two good reasons as to why you should not skip breakfast: 1. Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast consume higher levels of important micro-nutrients, such as calcium, protein and dietary fiber, than those who skip breakfast. 2. Eating breakfast aids in weight loss. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters are less likely to snack and over-eat later in the day than breakfast skippers.
Unfortunately, many of the foods that are considered “breakfast foods”, such as bacon, ham and sausage, have recently been declared by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic. Eating less than two slices of bacon a day, for example, can increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer by a significant 18%. Read more here. So then, what to eat? For cancer prevention, weight management, and overall good health, there is no doubt that plant based breakfasts are the best choice. Here are three of my favorites.
The Breakfast Cookie
Breakfast cookies are my go to breakfast choice, and they actually taste as good as they sound. They are easy to make, packed full of nutrients, and they freeze well, making it easy to just grab and go in the morning. Also, you can mix and match the ingredients to suit your taste. Here’s how to make them:
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour of your choice (I like spelt flour which is much healthier choice than bleached white flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure your baking powder is aluminum free for a healthier choice)
Set aside and in another bowl mix the wet ingredients
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup of almond butter OR peanut butter. (Hint: when buying nut butters, check the label to make sure that nuts are the only ingredient. Kraft brand peanut butter, for example, contains 7 ingredients, most of which you can’t even pronounce.)
¼ cup organic apple sauce (Apples are well known to be one of the most pesticide laden fruits on the market. When buying apples or apple sauce, always look for organic. For more information on which foods are heavily laden with pesticides, check out this link.
4 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (make sure it is pure and not sugary “pancake syrup”)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or canola oil)
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Then add:
1/3 cup of nuts or seeds of your choice, such as walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup of dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or blueberries (if you have a sweet tooth, you can use chocolate chips in the place of fruit. Dark vegan chips are my faves.)
Optional: For a chewier version of this cookie, you can also add 1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut. For a chocolatier version, add ¼ cup of pure cocoa powder.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spoon 10-12 large spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the edges are brown. Let cool.
Anything Goes Green Smoothie
BAM! In less than 5 minutes you can have 5 servings of fruits and veggies, plus calcium and healthy omega 3’s in one big delightful glass, which you can drink on the run. The actual color of this smoothie will vary, depending on the ingredients, but I call it “green” because it contains “greens”, such as spinach, lettuce or kale. Here’s how to prepare:
In a blender combine:
1 cup of mixed frozen fruits and/or berries of your choice (remember, the darker the berry, the more anti-oxidant power!)
½ cup greens of your choice, such as kale, spinach or green lettuce
½ banana OR ½ avacado for creaminess
1 tablespoon chia seeds (just one tablespoon of chia seeds gives you the omega 3 equivalent of 5 fish oil capsules!)
½ cup low sugar juice, such as cranberry juice or orange juice
1 cup almond milk (note: almond milk contains the same percentage of calcium as cow’s milk, with no unhealthy cholesterol. Why would you even think about getting your calcium from cow’s milk when there are healthier, plant based alternatives? Make sure when you are buying almond milk that it is unsweetened and does not contain an ingredient called carrageenan, which can be destructive to the digestive system and cause inflammation in the body. My favorite brand is So Nice Organic.)
Blend on high speed until smooth.
Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa
“How do you get your protein?”, is a question that is often posed to people who choose a plant based way of eating. Well, vegans get their protein in the same place that cows and horses get their protein…..from plants! One of the most protein rich plant foods is quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, which is 16% of your recommended daily allowance. Not only is it rich in protein, but quinoa is one of the few plant based foods that is considered a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need. Try this nutrient rich and delicious quinoa breakfast cereal:
1 cup almond milk or coconut milk
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa (rinse quinoa before cooking)
2 cups fresh fruit or berries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
4 teaspoons of sweetener, such as agave, honey or pure maple syrup
Combine almond milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in fruit/berries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon sweetener over each serving. Serves 4.
(While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes.)
So there you have it, folks, 3 delicious and healthy ways to start your day. For optimal health, don’t be a breakfast skipper!