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Building a Better Brunch

Recipes and strategies for a healthy, tasty brunch.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Brunch is great for celebrating holidays, and special occasions, like graduations and wedding showers.

Calories and fat can add up in traditional brunch fare, however.

Here’s how to savor the flavor of your favorite brunch foods without giving good nutrition the slip -- with recipe ideas to get you started.

How to Plan a Healthier Brunch

Brunch combines breakfast and lunch, so it’s OK to eat a bit more at this mid-day meal.  Whether or not you splurge, always make your calories count.  Brunch is no excuse for wasting energy on lackluster foods that provide little in the way of good nutrition. 

As you plan your brunch menu, keep these tips in mind:

• Use the most flavorful ingredients you can afford. When food is fresh and tastes great you tend to use less in preparation, and you feel more satisfied with smaller portions.   

• Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fortified eggs, and lower-fat dairy products in brunch dishes.  Nutrient-rich foods pack more vitamins, minerals, and fiber for the calories. 

• Cut back on calories with reduced-fat hard cheese, Canadian bacon (which has less fat and more protein than regular bacon), and low-fat cottage cheese as a stand-in for feta in omelets and salads.

• Improve nutrition by doubling up on chopped vegetables in cold pasta salads, and by serving fresh berries topped with Greek yogurt.

• For fun and good nutrition, offer healthy foods that you may not eat on a regular basis, such as smoked salmon, which is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and high-quality protein.

Healthy Brunch Recipes

Mango Yogurt Parfait With Sliced Almonds

Greek yogurt offers twice the protein of regular; mangoes are packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, and fiber; and almonds offer vitamin E. 

\Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 3 cups low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 12 tablespoons slivered almonds

In a food processor or blender, puree one mango. Spoon equal amounts of the puree into 6 medium-sized parfait glasses. Top pureed mango in each glass with 1/4 cup yogurt. Spoon cubed mango on top of the yogurt, then layer with the remaining 1/4 cup yogurt and reserved mango. Just before serving, top each glass with 2 tablespoons slivered almonds.  

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

Evaporated milk is the main source of calcium in this bone-building dish, which also boasts antioxidant- and fiber-rich broccoli.  The absence of a crust cuts down on the fat content. Use fortified eggs for more omega-3 fats, and vitamins B 12, D, and E.

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons trans-fat free tub margarine
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 12-ounce can 2% evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 10-ounce box chopped frozen broccoli, thawed, or 2 cups broccoli, cooked and chopped
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