Domenica Catelli's Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Why a good breakfast is the best way to start the day. Plus, Domenica's Citrus and Nut Granola recipe.
Here's the funny thing about breakfast: Everyone knows it's important. We realize kids need a good breakfast to help them concentrate, and grown-ups need it to do their best at work. You might even know that people who pass up breakfast are more likely to gain weight.
Still, lots of people skip breakfast or let their kids run out the door with nothing more than a toasted frozen waffle in their bellies. And that's a shame, because it's easy to make morning fare that's nutritious, delicious, and full of the energy-dense complex carbs that wake up our minds, refuel our bodies, and give us energy throughout the day.
Not sure you have time to pull this off? I'm not a morning person, I own a restaurant, and I'm a mom. So believe me, I'm offering ideas that shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.
Healthy Breakfast Building Blocks
Whole grains: Because whole grains are so healthy, it's good to get in at least one serving at breakfast. Steel-cut oats, puffed rice, whole-wheat flour, quinoa, and barley all provide the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that refined grain products lack. Whole grains also tend to keep you feeling full longer.
Low sugar: When it comes to sugar intake at breakfast, cereals can be the worst offenders -- some, in fact, are more than 50% sugar. What's a better bet? Whole grain cereal that isn't packed with sugar, perhaps sweetened with small amounts of dried fruit, honey, or maple syrup (see my granola recipe).
Fruit: In general, whole fruit is better than juice. Try berries with milk or fresh peaches, apricots, or pineapple with kefir or cottage cheese. Or simply serve thin slices of succulent mango.
Healthy Recipe: Citrus and Nut Granola
Makes 16 servings
1/2 lemon, juiced (add the zest from the peel, optional)
1 1/2 oranges, juiced (add the zest from the peel, optional)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups organic rolled oats
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds or pecans
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/4 cup flaxseed, ground
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 cup dried fruit (preferably peaches, apricots, and papaya)
optional plain or flavored organic kefir or yogurt
- Heat oven to 350 F. In a medium-size bowl, stir together juice, zest (if using), olive oil, maple syrup, egg whites, and vanilla.
- In a large bowl, mix oats, half the nuts, half the sunflower seeds, all the sesame seeds, and the coconut. Stir in syrup mixture.
- Spread the granola thinly on two cookie sheets covered in parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. Bake 15 minutes, then stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to bake for 7 more minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove granola and cool. Stir in remaining nuts, flaxseed, wheat germ, and dried fruit.
- When completely cooled, store granola in airtight containers and enjoy for up to a month, or keep in freezer for up to 6 months.
- Serve with 1/2 cup organic kefir or yogurt, if desired.
Per serving (not including kefir or yogurt): 431 calories, 12 g protein, 47 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 8 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 15 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 47%
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