Building a Better Brunch

Recipes and strategies for a healthy, tasty brunch.

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on April 05, 2011
From the WebMD Archives

Brunch is a treat on a lazy weekend. It can be as simple as pancakes and scrambled eggs. Or you can dress it up for holidays or special occasions, like graduations and wedding showers. Mimosa, anyone?

As with any other meal, though, brunch calories can creep up faster than you can say "maple syrup."

So before next weekend rolls around, brush up on ways to make brunch work for your diet and still taste like a splurge.

Try our brunch recipes for mango yogurt parfait, broccoli and cheddar quiche, and raisin walnut bread.

Brunch Tips

Think flavor. Whether you cook it or order it off a menu, fresh and flavorful food tastes best and tends to be more satisfying, so you don't need a huge portion.

Top it off. Add chopped vegetables to cold pasta salads, and serve fresh berries topped with Greek yogurt.

Don't table the bacon. If you're craving bacon at brunch, make it Canadian bacon. It has less fat and more protein than regular bacon. Likewise, choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

Serve up salmon. Smoked salmon, which is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats and high-quality protein, belongs on your brunch table.

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.


  • 2 large ripe mangoes, 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 Recipe

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 B12, D, and E.

Makes 6 servings.


  • 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

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 10-inch pie pan with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.

In a medium skillet, heat the margarine over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, eggs, flour, and pepper. Set aside.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese into the pie pan. Top with the cooked onions and the broccoli.

Pour the milk and egg mixture into the pie pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Raisin Walnut Bread Recipe

Whole wheat flour and oatmeal lend whole-grain goodness; unsweetened applesauce and raisins lend natural sweetness; and walnuts contribute heart-healthy fat and beneficial antioxidants.

Makes two loaves.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups uncooked 1-minute oatmeal
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1.5 cups raisins
  • 1.5 cups chopped walnuts
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour two loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, oatmeal, brown sugar, raisins, and walnuts. Stir until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the applesauce, canola oil, eggs, and milk.

Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill the prepared pans with the batter, dividing evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let bread cool before slicing.

7 Simple Brunch Ideas

  1. To drink. 100% orange juice with a splash of sparkling wine and pomegranate juice for the adults. Children can have a mixture of the juices, without the wine.
  2. Scrambled egg pockets. Tuck scrambled eggs in whole wheat pita pockets. Top with salsa, grated cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, and black beans.
  3. Pancakes plus. Combine 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1 large egg, and 1 cup pancake mix. Top cooked pancakes with sliced strawberries or other berries, and dust with powdered sugar.
  4. Salmon "thins." Smoked salmon served on toasted whole grain bagel thins or sandwich thins spread with low-fat herbed cream cheese; serve with sliced tomato and cucumber.
  5. Chocolate-dipped dried apricots. Melt semisweet chocolate (dark chocolate, if you have a choice) in a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip half of each of the dried apricots in the chocolate. Place on wax paper and allow to set for 30-60 minutes.
  6. Cherry-banana cooler. Place 1 banana in a blender or food processor, and process on high until smooth. Add 1/2 cup frozen or fresh sweet pitted cherries, 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and sugar to taste, if desired. Process until blended. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.
  7. Quick pasta salad. Cook 2 cups whole wheat pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, toss pasta with a mixture of 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Add 12 ounces artichoke hearts, drained; 2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained; 4 ounces feta cheese; 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese; and 2 large, chopped tomatoes. Combine.