School is starting soon! How about jumpstarting the school year with some ideas to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes that can improve your well-being? Two very important areas to focus on are breakfast and snacking.
Let’s start with breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day. Most people skip breakfast completely or eat something unhealthy. The excuses are never-ending, including being short on time in the a.m., or not being hungry so early. Some may say they are too busy, or they think that skipping breakfast will help keep their weight down.
None of this is true! Even small amounts of food can replenish glucose stores in the blood and in the brain. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it provides the energy that your brain and body need to function. It helps you focus at school or at work, increases productivity and moods, and jump-starts your metabolism to start burning calories.
Consuming a low glycemic breakfast, even a small one, will sustain energy, delay hunger and help with controlling weight.
Here are some easy, healthy and quick breakfast ideas:
Light English muffin with 2 tbsps. peanut butter, 1 piece of fruit
1 slice of whole-grain bread with cheese and tomato
Whole-wheat waffle topped with nuts, berries and ricotta cheese
Vegetable omelet cups (see recipe at end of article)
½ cup cooked steel-cut oats, with berries and nuts
1 cup cottage cheese with ¾ cup of fresh fruit
Greek yogurt with nuts and berries Now let’s discuss snacks. Snacks usually get a bad rap because most often they are thought of as being full of fat and sugar. If snacks are planned and healthy, they are actually good for you. Snacks provide energy for your children throughout the day and delay hunger. Snacks can also help bridge the gap of nutrients not consumed at meals. One supporting fact from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is that one handful of baby carrots can meet all your vitamin A needs for the day.
Examples of healthy snacks are:
Cut up veggies with ¼ cup of hummus
1 rice cake with avocado and tomato
Sliced apple or pear with 1 oz. of cheese
Celery sticks with 2 tbsps. peanut butter
1 bag Skinny Pop popcorn and 1 cheese stick
Keep fresh fruit, veggies, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, lean deli meats, guacamole, hummus, low-fat cheese, individual servings of tuna, whole-grain crackers or rice cakes on hand so that a healthy snack can always be prepared quickly.
Vegetable egg-cups are great source of veggies and protein, and they are easy to make, freezable and microwavable. Recipe is included below.
Remember starting your morning off with a good breakfast and planning healthy snacks throughout the day will keep you energized and focused for the school year.
3 cups cut up vegetables of choice
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 aromatic (I like scallion or chive)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease two muffin tins.
3. Whisk the eggs together in a big bowl.
4. Add veggies and spices.
5. Fill muffin tins.
6. Bake ~ 25 minutes, just until middle is set.
7. Cool completely and freeze wrapped in plastic.
8. Place in a Ziploc bag.
9. Heat on microwave-safe dish for no more than 1-2 minutes and enjoy.
10. Top with avocado and salsa for an extra-special treat.
By Jamie Feit