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Back to school healthy breakfasts: what to ditch and what to switch

Have you gone back-to-business?  Last week, we spoke about getting into back to school mode and today we’re taking it one step further with some healthy breakfast switch-ups.

I’m a firm believer in How you start your day, You will live your day. So when you wake up with the firm intention of fueling yourself healthfully, it’ll likely seep into your other daily activities, too.

The format I chose for this post is one of reinvention. The idea is to pinpoint the common breakfast mistakes I see with clients so that you can “ditch and switch” wherever appropriate. And if by the end of this post you realize you’re a breakfast perfectionist, then you are entitled to a virtual high-five.

 

Back to school healthy breakfasts

                      …What to ditch and what to switch!

 

 

Ditch this: Plain ol’ toast + peanut butter

Switch it: Whole grain or sprouted toast +  100% all natural nut or seed butter

This might sound all too simple.  But if this is your staple breakfast, you’ll want to get it done right!

We spoke about the goodness of sprouted grains here , but whole grain bread will do – just check that the word whole is listed next to each type of flour on your ingredient list.

Just in case you haven’t yet made the transition, please make the switch to 100% natural nut butter & rid yourself of the unnecessary partially hydrogenated fats you would other wise find in plain ol’ PB.

Also, don’t be shy to mix things up: Peanut, almond, walnut, sunflower seed butter. These switches add variety to your A.M. routine without adding any extra time.

In a rush? Try this speedy version on the classic: Sprouted tortilla +  Nut butter + Banana + dash of cinnamon => Roll-up & Go!

 

 

Ditch this: Bagel + cream cheese

Switch it: Nut bread + ricotta + fresh fruit

A healthy breakfast should consist of healthy carbohydrates (Read: Unrefined) + protein + produce. So it’s easy to understand why that notorious bagel with cream cheese, ( 1g protein/tbsp ) fails to hold you past 9 am.

If you’re a cream cheese lover, it’s time you meet partially skimmed ricotta. A few tablespoons hold 70 cal, 6g protein and all the creaminess you could wish for. Pair with whole grain nut bread and some fresh fruit or preserves, and you’re golden. This recent post has some peachy inspiration.

 

 

Ditch this: Juice-based smoothie

Switch it: Fibre & protein-rich smoothie

Liquid breakfasts are handy when you’re in a rush, but people often forget to balance their smoothies as they would their meals.

And since liquids empty from the stomach more quickly than solids do, it’s actually MORE important to pack that smoothie full of fibre and protein if you want to keep energy levels steady and hunger at bay.

Juice has no staying power. So if you’re feeling fruity, opt for fresh, full-of-fibre whole fruit.

Here’s what my breakfast smoothies look like:

BASE  1 cup:  almond milk or other unsweetened  milk of choice

+
FRUIT  1 cup: blueberries/banana/mango/strawberries – the more colour the merrier

+
GREENS Handful of greens – spinach/kale/romaine

+
PROTEIN 1 Serving hemp or other protein/greek yogurt/nut butter

+
FIBRE Chia/Ground Flax/WheatGerm/Oats/Hemp Seeds

+
BONUSES Raw cacao/Kefir/cinnamon/vanilla

 

 

Ditch this: Cold Cereal + milk

Switch it: Greek yogurt + granola + fresh fruit

My intention here is not to say that cold cereal is way overrated bad, but that good ones are rare. For the record, a good cereal should have  >5 g fibre +  <5 g sugars +  >3g protein per serving. Nature’s Path’s heritage flakes are a good example. But in my experience, the nutritional value of most cold cereals will leave you hungry for more – literally.

A more filling route is the greek yogurt parfait: Plain greek yogurt + fresh fruit + granola topping. Simple, quick and endless options.

My current favourite:  Make a quick mango purée  and swirl-it into plain yogurt, top with fresh blueberries and chia granola. Dee-licious.

 

 

Ditch this: Instant, flavoured oatmeal

Switch it: DIY oatmeal or Breakfast Quinoa

We’ve spoken about the importance of ditching flavoured oatmeal in a previous post but I want to reiterate the importance of making-your-own toppings.

Also, why limit yourself to oatmeal?

Quinoa is of high protein quality, full of fibre and fabulous for breakfast!

Here’s the how-to:

Maple-cinnamon morning quinoa

Makes 1-2 servings

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  1.  In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and water and bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and cover for 12 minutes, or until the grains are transluscent.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the milk, cinnamon and vanilla and stir to combine.
  3. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with pecans.

 

 

 

 

Do you need to ditch & switch any of these staples? Or are you a breakfast perfectionist? Let me know below!

 

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4 Responses to Back to school healthy breakfasts: what to ditch and what to switch

  1. Tanya September 10, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Can you make the Maple-cinnamon morning quinoa in advance? And add last step before eating?

    • Vanessa September 10, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      I haven’t done make-ahead quinoa for breakfast, but I’ve done it before with salads and it works great. Pre-cook a batch of quinoa in water, fluff with a fork and keep it in the fridge. Then quickly warm, add milk, spices and pecans before eating. I’d definitely give it a try!

      • Veronica September 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

        Is is ok to mix almond milk/skim milk with greek yogurt in a protien shake? or is it preferable to use one or the other?

        • Vanessa September 13, 2012 at 8:18 am #

          The preference is really yours. Almond milk does have less protein than does regular milk, but in this case, the milk is only serving as the base. You’ll be getting the protein boost from the greek yogurt or other protein source. So long as it isn’t a sweetened milk, follow your tastebuds :)

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