Back-to-School Breakfast Do’s & Don’ts

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With back-to-school around the corner, even if you don’t have kids in school, we all can remember what it was like to prepare to get back into the early morning routine. Everyone’s a bit groggy, maybe a bit anxious and could use a boost to start the day. The goal of breakfast is to wake up your body and metabolism, helping to improve energy and focus, so you can get your day started and sustained well! Here are some do’s and don’ts for quick, easy and nutritious breakfasts for the whole family!

• Do be mindful of aiming to incorporate protein and fiber.
Avocado toast is all the rage these days, but adding some protein from an egg – cooked to your liking – will help boost the energy and satisfaction you feel from the meal. Choosing a whole grain bread like Dave’s Killer bread, Udi’s Gluten Free bread or Pepperidge Farm 15 grain bread will add the fiber to give you essentially the trifecta of fullness – fat, protein and fiber.

• Don’t force yourself to eat something you don’t enjoy.
There are lots of ways to get in nutrients throughout the day through a variety of foods.

• Do learn to dress up and enjoy oatmeal.
Plain oatmeal – either steel cut or old-fashioned rolled oats – provides filling and nutritious fiber. While there are some prepackaged boxes or cups you can buy, not all of them pass the “lower sugar added dietitian test”. That doesn’t mean you have to eat it plain. Adding a teaspoon of your desired sugar or sweetener, sprinkling on some toppings for added crunch and texture (chopped nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, lower sugar granola), and drizzling on a milk or milk alternative can really add that eye-catching and mouth-watering appeal you desire. Not to mention oatmeal can be made overnight, chilled and taken out of the fridge (microwave if needed for desired warmth) for those that think they can’t make oatmeal each morning.

• Don’t feel that breakfast has to be a labor intensive, large, time-consuming meal.
A glass of milk, ready to drink (lower sugar) protein drink or a hard-boiled egg can all be a quick and light breakfast on the go.

• Do aim to plan and prep a bit on the weekend.
When able, try to utilize at least one morning on the weekend to make a large batch of something that can also be used throughout the week. My favorites include homemade whole grain waffles or pancakes, breakfast burritos, egg muffins, whole grain egg and avocado sandwich.

Enjoy these waffles or pancakes for your weekend breakfast or brunch, and use any remaining ones with a spread with non-trans fat nut butter for a tasty, yet, fast breakfast during the week.

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Basic Whole Grain Waffles and Pancakes
Makes 12-16 waffles or standard-sized pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup pureed fruit (like pumpkin puree, applesauce or mashed banana)
1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1 cup milk of choice
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the syrup:
1 tablespoon all fruit spread (such as Polaner or St. Dalfour)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon syrup of choice (I like Madhava Agave 5.)

Directions
Preheat a non-stick skillet to medium heat. (If using a waffle iron, turn onto desired setting – I use #3 or #4 on mine.)

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg). In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (fruit through vanilla).

Pour the wet into the dry and gently combine.

Spray heated pan or waffle iron with non-stick spray or use a small amount of oil or butter to grease the pan, if desired.

Pour desired amount of batter into prepared skillet. I usually use about 1/3 cup as my scoop.

For pancakes, when bubbles start to form (after a couple minutes), flip the pancakes and cook on the remaining side for about half the time.

For the waffles, no need to do this step; the waffle iron does it for you, simply pop out when it beeps that they’re done! Pretty fool-proof for those like me who are afraid to under cook things – even pancakes!

Serve with warmed syrup by either combining the ingredients in a small stock pot and warming through or warming in a microwave safe dish for 30-60 seconds, stirring to combine once hot.

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Rebecca Miller, MPH, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist who shares recipes + inspiration on her blog, Twisted Nutrition. She can be reached at TwistedNutritionBlog.com or via email BMillerRD85@gmail.com.

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