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Archive for the ‘Meal Ideas’ Category

Roasted Vegetable Bean Salad

In Autoimmune disease, Fighting Cancer, Gluten-Free diet, Meal Ideas, Recipes, Vegetarian on October 4, 2013 at 9:44 AM

roast veg bean salad 1 cropJust because fresh, summer vegetable season is drawing to a close does not mean you have to stop eating them!  Vegetables of all shapes, sizes and colors provide an abundance of nutrition, are naturally low-calorie, loaded with antioxidants for fighting disease and inflammation, and fill a hungry tummy for an extended period of time (thank you, fiber!).  Whether you are watching your waistline, trying to prevent cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, or managing inflammatory autoimmune conditions, such as scleroderma, lupus and multiple sclerosis, this salad is a healthy addition to your eating plan.  It is compatible with vegan and gluten-free lifestyles as well.  Some of the ingredients are available fresh all year round whereas others will be found in your grocer’s freezer during the off season (which are equally nutritious and healthful).  This tasty and refreshing salad makes an excellent pack-n-go lunch choice or a light meal to share among friends.  The recipe as outlined below makes three generous servings containing 260 calories, 20 grams of carb, 16 grams fat (only 2 grams saturated…nice!), 8 grams fiber and 8 grams of protein.   Enjoy!

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup of peeled fresh or frozen edamame (green soybeans); steam frozen in microwave 4-5 minutes

1 cup fresh or frozen corn, steamed in microwave 3-5 minutes (cut fresh off cob)

2 cups fresh or frozen thin green beans, washed and cut into pieces (blanch fresh beans in boiling water for 90 seconds; steam frozen beans in microwave 3-4 minutes)

1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

1 orange and 1 yellow bell pepper sliced into 1-inch pieces  (organic is best)

10-15 large fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons (this will serve as primary leafy green)

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Preparation Instructions:

1.  Prep edamame, corn and green beans as described above.

2.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine sliced peppers and tomatoes in small amount of olive oil and spread in single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment or foil coated with cooking spray.  Roast for 15 minutes (until blistered), remove vegetables from oven and roasting pan, and place on new foil for 10 minutes to cool.

3.  Combine all cooled vegetables into large mixing bowl:  corn, edamame, green beans, roasted peppers, tomatoes and basil ribbons.

4.  Whisk together dressing ingredients in a smaller bowl and toss with vegetables.

5.  Chill at least 2 hours before serving to allow for flavor enhancement.

6.  Serve with warm bread, as desired.

Would you like more healthy recipe suggestions?  Interested in learning realistic strategies for creating a balanced lifestyle to meet your individual health needs?  Consider ordering the second edition of my book,  “You Gotta Eat!” at  Eat well!  Feel well!


Another Yummy Fish Recipe

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on January 11, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Yesterday, I provided examples of some meals and snacks I would typically eat, which included a delicious fish recipe at dinner.  Many people desire to add more fish to their diets, but are often at a loss for tasty and satisfying recipes that even the pickiest eaters would enjoy.  Therefore, I am providing yet another simple fish recipe that is worth introducing to less-than-enthusiastic fish eaters.  (check out the recipe archive for more ideas.)   As I have mentioned before, my husband is not a big fish fan, and I have struggled for years to create options that we both enjoy.   I have achieved some success in recent years with the widespread availability of milder, less fishy-tasting choices available at the market today—such as tilapia and Rainbow trout fillets.  I used Rainbow trout for the recipe outlined below, but you can substitute salmon, tilapia, whitefish, or other trout species just as easily.  Despite being a dietitian, I am far from a gourmet cook.  Like many of you, I do not enjoy spending hours in the kitchen, and prefer healthy, no-fuss recipes.  This one is no exception.  Plus, if my husband will eat fish prepared this way (and actually enjoy it), you and your family are more likely to enjoy it as well.  Try it tonight!


Fresh Rainbow trout fillets  (best when purchased same day)


chopped unsalted pistachios (or other rich-flavored nuts, such as pecans)

olive oil



1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  Spread trout fillets on foil, and brush a small amount of olive oil on each fillet  (keep skin on bottom)

3.  Sprinkle each fillet with fresh ground pepper (I use a liberal amount for super zesty flavor!)

4.  Drizzle 1/2-1 Tbsp. honey over each fillet and spread with spoon to coat entire surface

5.  Top each fillet with 1-2 Tbsp. chopped nuts, distributing evenly, and pressing into honey to keep them in place

6.  Transfer each fillet (carefully) into baking pan

7.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes

Viola!  Dinner from start to finish will be done is less than 30 minutes.  While fish is cooking, you can microwave a small sweet potato for each person, and/or steam a pot of vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower or spinach. 

If you desire to try the acorn squash I used as a side dish in my previous entry, “All in a Day’s Eatin'”, follow these guidelines:  cut an acorn squash in half and remove the seeds.  Brush the inside with olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and cinnamon.  Bake, cut side up, at 400 degrees until tender, about 35-40 minutes.  Scoop out and enjoy!  I put the squash in the oven first since it has a longer baking time, and then baked the fish at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, as opposed to 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  

ENJOY!  Let me know what you think 😉

All in a Day’s Eatin’

In Meal Ideas, What I ate today on January 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Friends, family, and clients regularly ask me what I eat on a regular basis in the effort to acquire new healthy meal ideas.  It has been quite some time since I wrote a column for the “What I ate today” category, so I am going to share with you a recent day, now that I am back on track with my usual healthy eating routine after a rather harried and indulgent holiday season.   As I reflect back on 2011, I am quite pleased with my ability to keep up with my healthy eating and exercise resolutions :  On most days, I ate at least two pieces of fruit and at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables;  I also managed to make time for exercise on most days of the week by performing strength training for 60 minutes 2-3 times a week; cardio (elliptical/treadmill/walking outdoors) for 45-60 minutes 2-3 times a week; and Bikram yoga twice a week for 90 minutes.  By constructing and following through on such a balanced exercise program (cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, and flexibility), I am feeling stronger and fitter than I have in a long time.  This is a fabulous way to begin 2012, as I am highly motivated to maintain these healthy habits and am free to focus my New Year’s resolutions on other pursuits—one of which is learning to play the steel drum.  My trip to Grand Cayman last April inspired me, and I am so excited to play authentic Caribbean tunes.  Making music is so much fun and stress relieving!!  (although my husband shudders at the thought…) I already have the drum and training videos in hand—now I just need to find time to practice.  Dig out those earplugs, Sweetie!  Camp Hatchery 5 O’clock Fridays will never be the same again! 

I will now provide examples of a meal plan I would follow on an average weekday.  Notice how I call it a meal PLAN.  Yes, healthy eating requires some forethought to decide what you will eat and how  you will get it into the house.   I spend one hour a week to plan menus and then shop from my list.  If I fail to take the time to do this, I inevitably eat more junk and restaurant food.  As a general rule, I prepare my own meals and snacks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days.  If I have an erratic schedule or am away from home most of the day, then I will pack food along with me so I have control over my appetite and choices, as opposed to “winging it” and risking being over-hungry and grabbing unhealthy options.  As a forty-something woman who is very active and desires to maintain her current weight and musculature, I aim for 2000-2200 calories a day.  My meals generally fall between 400-600 calories depending on my choices that day, and snacks between 150-250 calories depending on the  timing of my meals.  (Calories will be posted in parenthesis in the plan below.) Since I pretty much have a “calorie reference file” in my brain from my years as a dietitian, I typically don’t need to count calories for myself.  However, for the average person looking to manage his or her weight, counting calories and building up a “calorie reference file” in your own brain is a smart thing to do!  The more enlightened you are about your food choices, the easier it is to eat healthy and be mindful of portions, thereby keeping extra pounds at bay.

7 AM Breakfast  (460 calories)

2 slices of Ezekial sesame seed bread  (160 calories)

2 Tbsp. Parkers’ natural peanut butter  (210 calories)

1 cup blackberries or large clementine  (70 calories)

coffee with 2 Tbsp. fat free half & half (20 calories)

If I am doing Bikram yoga on this day (the kind where you sweat profusely in a 105 degree heated room while doing strenuous postures for 90 minutes), I will add 16 oz. of plain coconut water for energy, hydration, and electrolyte replacement.  This contributes an additional 150 calories for a total of 610 for breakfast.  Believe me,  I need all the help I can get, as it is often mind-over-matter to put myself through such torture!   Namaste!

10:30 AM  Morning Snack  (150-200 calories)

Plain Greek yogurt – 6 oz. (120 calories)

2 tsp. honey  (40 calories)


medium organic Bartlett pear  (100 calories)

2 wedges Laughing Cow Light Swiss cheese (70 calories)

1 PM  Lunch  (555 calories)

pita pocket sandwich filled with cheddar, avocado, and spinach:

1 Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Pita Pocket  (160 calories)

1/2 medium avocado (140 calories)

1/2 cup raw organic baby spinach (5 calories)

slice of Applegate Farms organic cheddar cheese (80 calories)

handful of baby carrots (40 calories)

large organic Fuji apple (130 calories)


4:30 PM Afternoon Snack  (200-250 calories)

Larabar —my fave is peanut butter & chocolate chip  (230 calories)


“Just a handful” pack of Trader Joe’s Trek Mix—almonds, cashews, & cranberries (210 calories)

These two choices are great “grab and go” options during busy times in the afternoon.  I stash them in my purse or work bag along with a stainless steel water bottle to help me stay energized and hydrated.  Both of these options contain adequate amounts of protein and calories to tide me over until dinner, thereby giving me the strength I need to resist takeout and cook dinner after a long day!

7-7:30 PM  Dinner  (540 calories)

5 oz. baked Rainbow trout drizzed with honey and chopped pistachios  (365 calories)  (recipe to follow!)

1/2 large baked Acorn squash drizzled with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and pepper (175 calories)


9:15 PM  Evening Snack  (200 calories)

5 cups Skinny Pop popcorn  (200 calories)

This was a case of good old-fashioned stress eating here. I did NOT need this snack as I was not really hungry at this point.  I was watching the new season of The Bachelor, and all that girl drama was stressing me out!!! LOL  Good thing the bag was almost empty when I started, or 5 cups easily could have become 10!  Kidding aside, this is all too easy to do.  I’m making an example of myself here.  Always pre-portion your snacks so you don’t suffer from hand-to-mouth syndrome and get carried away while watching TV or engaging in other distractions.

Total Calories for the Day:  2135

If you are older than me, less active than me, or looking to shed a few pounds, 2000-2200 calories a day is mostly likely too much to meet your needs.  If you are interested in trying out this ready-made healthy meal plan, I will now offer suggestions on how to trim some calories to better suit your needs:

At breakfast, eat once slice of toast instead of two, which will then cut the peanut butter portion is half as well.  This will save you 185 calories.  (Always aim for a minimum of 300 calories at a meal, no matter what age or size you are!)

For morning snack, eat only one cheese wedge instead of two with your fruit.  This will save 35 calories.  If eating the yogurt, add one tsp of honey instead of two to save 20 calories.  These might seem like such minor changes, but at the end of the day, all these little calorie cuts add up!!

For lunch, eat the sandwich and vegetables as is, but save the apple for your afternoon snack.  This saves 130 calories at lunch, and will then provide a lower calorie snack choice for the afternoon.

If you are planning a late dinner (7 pm or later) or a late afternoon workout, a 200-250 calories snack in the afternoon is appropriate for most people to help curb your appetite and/or fuel your exercise session.  The more energy you have, you can exercise harder and burn more calories and the more likely you will feel like cooking dinner upon your return home.  You don’t want to show up at the gym starving only to have a lackluster workout, nor do you want to arrive home ready to raid the chips and cookies!  This afternoon snack may very well be your most important choice all day.

At dinner, you can save 140 calories but substituting a cup or two of steamed vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, or asparagus for the acorn squash.

In the evening, limit yourself to 3 cups of the Skinny Pop popcorn and save 80 calories.

For daily totals, most women looking to lose weight will do well aiming for 1500-1600 calories a day, while men desiring weight loss should aim for 1700-1800 calories.  Every person’s needs are different, but making the effort to track your calories, cut down portions, and choose healthful foods will ultimately result in some weight loss.

So there you have it!  A day in the life of a dietitian.  Multiple servings of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats (from nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, avocado) were all well represented.  If you have any questions or comments about any of my food choices, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Happy and healthy 2012 to you!

Falling For Sweet Potatoes

In Managing cholesterol, Meal Ideas, Nutrition Basics on October 6, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Let’s answer your burning question first: “Is that a yam or a sweet potato”???  Traditionally, it depends on the skin and flesh color.  Scientifically, they are one in the same.  The true, traditional ‘sweet potato’ is tan on the outside with a creamy yellow interior.  The more common form of sweet potato found in markets across the US is copper-skinned, with deep orange flesh, and is often sold as a “yam”.  The yam is botanically a sweet potato. 

Are you interested in adding a nice splash of color and robust flavor to your fall dinner plate?  With autumn in full swing, a variety of nutritous, flavorful, yellow-orange vegetables have come into season:  sweet potatoes (ahem…or yams), acorn squash, pumpkin.  YUM.  A word of caution:  adding butter, sugar, and marshmallows to your sweet potato spoils the nutritional benefit—just like turning pumpkin into pumpkin pie—vitamins are still there, but so are loads of calories, fat, and sugar—demoting good-for-you vegetables to bad-boy dessert status.

Here are some impressive stats on a plain ol’ sweet potato:

90 calories per half cup (half baseball size) or 180 calories per cup (small fist size)

7 grams of fiber per cup:  this helps fill you up and makes your blood sugar rise more slowly–helping to prevent carb cravings a couple of hours later.  Some of this fiber is “soluble”, which helps lower cholesterol much the same way as oatmeal.  (fyi:  white potatoes have only 2 grams of fiber per cup)

950 mg of potassium per cup:  potassium helps regulate your blood pressure

38433 IUs of Vitamin A per cup:  this comes in the form of beta-carotene—a key nutrient for vision and immune health.  Remember mom telling you to eat your carrots because they are “good for your eyes”?  Well, she was right.  And the same goes for the sweet potato.

Chock-full of carotenoids:  the rich orange color indicates a high concentration of these cancer fighting phytochemicals, such as beta-carotene as mentioned above.  Another one, called lutein, helps protect against age-related macular regeneration—another boost for your peepers!

Fat free: to help keep them this way, try adding spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger, as well as apples, olive oil, or nuts (pecans), instead of the butter, sugar, and/or marshmallows.

Sweet potatoes are very versatile and can be boiled and mashed; baked whole or cut up as “fries” in the oven; sliced and cooked in a skillet; etc.   Whatever you would do with a white potato, you can do with a sweet potato.

Try one tonight!


Grilled Seafood and Spinach Stirfry

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on July 14, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Nothing quite beats the taste of summer grilling.  However, come July, you may be getting tired of the same ol’ barbequed fare??  How about grilling up some hearty fish or shellfish for something nice & healthy this weekend?  Adding the fish to a stirfry will make for something new and different.  Hint—this is a perfect meal for couples or friends to cook together—one person grills the fish while the other starts up the stirfry.  Give this tasty meal a try:


4 ounces of uncooked whole wheat spaghetti, broken into 3-inch pieces

1 pound of fish or seafood:  scallops, shrimp, steak cut salmon, halibut, tuna steak, swordfish, or any combination of the above to equal one pound total

1/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup dry sherry (either the “cooking wine” or the real thing)

1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves  (or 1 tsp. dried)

1 1/2 tsps. chopped fresh marjoram leaves  (or 1/2 tsp. dried)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp cornstarch

3 large carrots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1 large onion, halved and sliced

4 cups baby spinach, torn into bite-size pieces

extra virgin olive oil


1.  Grill fish/seafood until flaky or cooked through  (use a grilling pan for shrimp and scallops for best results).  Remove any skin or bones, and cut into bite-sized pieces.

2.  Cook pasta as directed on package and drain. 

3.  Mix OJ, sherry, cornstarch, basil, marjoram, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

4.  Heat wok or 12-inch skillet until very hot.  Add olive oil and rotate pan or wok to coat sides.

5.  Add carrots and onion to hot pan and stirfry about 5 minutes, or until “tender-crisp” and then remove from pan or wok when done.  (you can also choose to chop carrots and onion into larger chunks and grill along with the fish instead of stir-frying…just be sure to cut the veggies into smaller pieces before adding to other ingredients)

6.  Add orange juice sauce mixture to pan/wok and cook and stir about 1 minute or until thickened.

7.  Stir in cooked vegetables, grilled fish pieces, spaghetti, and spinach.  Cook about 1-2 minutes or until mixture is heated through and spinach just starts to wilt.

Ready to serve!   Recipe makes 4 servings.

Happy summer to all of you 😉

Tomato and Tortellini Salad

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on July 1, 2010 at 8:50 PM

When I have a girlfriend or two coming over for a relaxing summer lunch, I don’t want to be preparing food while trying to enjoy conversation with my friends at the same time—definitely NOT relaxing for me!  I prefer fixing the meal ahead of time so all I need to do is serve it when we are ready to eat.  The entree salad I am going to share with you is perfect for such an occasion—I prepare it in the morning, allow the tossed dressing and salad mixture marinate in the fridge for 1-4 hours, and then the light, refreshing meal is ready to be enjoyed out on the patio with my friends.  It is an “all in one” meal—ideal for simple preparation, serving, and clean up on a hot summer day.  It serves 3-6 people, depending on appetites.  An icy glass of iced tea or white wine will compliment this dish well.


Two 9 oz. pkgs refridgerated whole wheat cheese tortellini

4 cups of shredded green and red leaf lettuce

3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard


1.  cook tortellini, drain, and run under cold water to cool

2.  Mix lettuce, basil, tomatoes, and pepper in a large bowl

3.  Stir in cooled tortellini

4.  Mix oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl — toss with tortellini/salad mixture

5.  Cover and refrigerate 1-4 hours, until chilled


Chicken Fajitas with Homemade Guacamole

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on March 28, 2010 at 7:49 PM

A skinless, boneless chicken breast is a staple in most weight loss and cholesterol lowering diet plans.  Many folks complain of boredom with the same ol’ chicken day after day, week after week.   Some of you have probably eaten enough chicken in your lifetime to have grown wings and feathers by now…  Does the thought of eating chicken for dinner AGAIN tonight sound about as exciting as flossing your teeth?   Well, don’t give up on this lean, low calorie, low fat, satisfying source of animal protein—I have a recipe that will stimulate your palate for chicken again.  And, for busy folks out there, it takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:  serves 4-6 adults

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips

3-4 bell peppers, sliced into thin strips  (I suggest red, orange, and/or yellow to add nutrients & color)

large Vidalia onion, sliced into thin strips  (nice and sweet!)

Southwest-style seasonings of your choice  (as mild or spicy as desired)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3-4 ripe avocados  (they should be dark colored, not green,  and give slightly to pressure)

fresh salsa  (brand of your choosing)

1 juicy lemon  (halved and squeezed for juice)

1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

8-12 whole wheat tortillas or lavash  (6 or 10 inch)

Prepare guacamole:

1.  slice around center pit of each avocado–remove pit—spoon out flesh of avocado and mash

2.  add lemon juice to prevent browning and infuse flavor  (I usually use 1/2 lemon’s juice for 3 avocados), mix with spoon into mashed avocado

3.  add spoonfuls of salsa and mix until the desired flavor and consistency is achieved

4.  I do not like garlic in my guacamole, but you can also add a clove or 2 of minced garlic if you please…

Prepare chicken & vegetables:

1.  Brown chicken strips in olive oil over medium high heat in skillet

2.  Add seasoning, mix in, and continue cooking chicken for few more minutes

3.  Add peppers, onions, more olive oil, (more seasoning if desired) and stir-fry until vegetables are “tender-crisp”  (if softer veggies are desired, remove skillet from heat, place lid on skillet to “steam” for 5-7 minutes after stir-frying)

4.  Steam 8-12 tortillas/lavash in microwave for 45-60 seconds—suggestion:  place tortillas between two lightly moistened paper towels while heating

Assemble Fajitas:

 Spoon fresh guacamole in center of tortilla, top with chicken & vegetables, drizzle salsa and finely shredded cheddar over the chicken, fold, and ENJOY! 

Got leftovers?  An effortless lunch or dinner is ready for tomorrow 😉

Chicken Chili in a Flash

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on March 16, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Looking for a healthy, low fat meal that will appeal to the whole family?  I am sharing my favorite “all in one” chicken recipe, chock full of protein, vegetables, and fiber, that is ready to serve in less than 20 minutes—watch out Rachel Ray!!!   The recipe, as defined below, will serve four adults, but you can easily double the recipe for tasty leftovers in days to come 😉  Try it tonight! 


3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, diced

14.5 oz can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Pepper & Onion 

1.25 oz. mild chili seasoning mix  (suggesting mild if you have kids, but go for 5-alarm spicy if you please!)

15.25 oz. can Whole Kernel Golden Sweet Corn  (do not drain)

15 oz. can red, kidney, OR black beans, drained and rinsed  (if vegetarian, skip the chicken and add all three kinds of beans!)

1.  Combine diced chicken, undrained tomatoes, and seasoning mix in medium saucepan—cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

2.  Add undrained corn and drained & rinsed beans, and simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Top with shredded cheddar, a dallop of sour cream, and/or chopped onions as desired.

Please note:  If you need to cut sodium, choose “no salt added” corn, tomatoes, and beans and use only 1/2 of the seasoning packet.


A Meal That Makes Itself

In Meal Ideas, Recipes on February 3, 2010 at 9:39 AM

I tend to work late on Tuesdays, arriving home somewhere between 8-9 pm.   Too late to start cooking a wholesome meal, right?   Sometimes, I may have leftovers waiting for me in the fridge.   If I don’t have anything to fall back on,  it would be tempting at this late hour to just pick up drive-thru on my way home.   In order to prevent myself from making such impulsive, unhealthy choices, I make a habit of keeping healthy food items on hand that allow me to toss together quickie, nutritious meals in no time. 

Let’s take tonight’s dinner for example:  I grabbed a 32 oz. box of pureed tomato & red pepper soup (Pacific Foods brand) out of the pantry, poured its contents into a saucepan, added a can of unsalted Great Northern beans (drained & rinsed first), and then shredded some pre-washed, organic spinach leaves to toss into the mix.   It took less than 5 minutes to prepare and 5-10 minutes to heat & simmer—just long enough for me to change out of my work clothes.   I ate 1 1/2 soup bowls worth, which provided a tasty, nutritious meal, enough to satisfy my appetite, yet light enough to go to sleep in a couple of hours.  And, since it made such a large portion, I have leftovers for lunch or another late night this week–another time saver! 

Make a point of stocking up on some similar healthy options to toss together the next time you need a quick, late night, survival meal 😉

Meal Ideas for Surviving the Morning Rush

In Meal Ideas on January 26, 2010 at 5:03 AM

You have heard it time and time again:  “Eat your breakfast.  It is the most important meal of the day”!   Momma told you.  Teachers told you.  Your obnoxious sister told you.  Your doctor told you.  Even the Quaker Oats dude on TV told you.   AND NOW I AM TELLING YOU!!!    There are two primary reasons why you and your family should eat a sensible breakfast every single day:

1.  It provides your body and brain with energy for the busy day ahead.  This is particularly important for kids who need to concentrate at school and for adults to focus on their work or home activities.  A well fueled body leads to greater accomplishment and productivity.

2.  Eating after a long overnight fast  jumpstarts your metabolism.  This is critical for weight loss and weight maintenance.  Our bodies are built to survive periods of starvation by slowing down natural body processes in order to conserve energy—in other words, starvation forces us to hang on to fat.    Going for long periods without eating SLOWS your metabolism down, so if you skip meals regularly, especially breakfast, your body is more likely to hang on to calories you consume later in the day.   Rather counterproductive, don’t you think???  When trying to lose weight, you want to burn off as many calories as you can—by eating small meals more often, you rev up your metabolism and burn off what you eat, rather than storing it for the next “starvation period”.  This is the number one reason why people who skip breakfast regularly are more likely to be overweight than someone who consumes a modest sized breakfast by 9 AM. 

So what constitutes a “modest sized breakfast”, you ask?  An ideal breakfast for weight control purposes contains enough calories to get your metabolism running and satisfies your appetite until your next meal:  it should include a balance of carbohydrate (from whole grains, milk, yogurt, and/or fruit), protein (from egg, cottage cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, nuts, or lean meat), and healthy fats (olive oil, nuts & nut butters).

Here are some 300-400 calorie suggestions for your next breakfast:

-1 slice 100% whole wheat toast, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 large banana, 1 cup skim milk or soy milk

-1 cup shredded wheat or another low sugar, high fiber cereal (< 5 grams sugar; > 5 grams fiber), 1 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup fresh berries, 1 hard boiled egg

-1 cup berries mixed with 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1/4-1/2 cup lowfat granola

-veggie omelet (made with 1-2 whole eggs and 1-2 egg whites with 1/2 cup chopped vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms), prepared in 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 slice 100% whole wheat toast with 2 tsp. fruit preserves

-1/2 large toasted whole grain bagel with 2 tsp. light cream cheese and 2 oz. smoked salmon

-1 cup cooked oatmeal topped with 2 Tbsp. raisins, 2 Tbsp. chopped nuts, and cinnamon, 4 oz. orange juice

Eating less than 300 calories at breakfast will not benefit your metabolism after the long overnight fast.  In other words, grabbing a 100 calorie light yogurt and calling it breakfast does not count!!!!!  Try one of the above-mentioned breakfasts and let me know what you think…

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