5 Easy, Healthy and Delicious Breakfast Swaps
May 9, 2014
Registered Dietitian Alina Zolotareva shares her top 5 healthy breakfast swap tips.
Breakfast is often considered the healthiest and most important meal of the day by moms and dietitians alike. Many of us eat breakfast on the run, if at all, and tend to make unhealthy and unsatisfying choices high in sugars, refined carbs and saturated fats but low in essential nutrients. Eating a nutrient-poor breakfast can leave us starving a few hours after, making it difficult to focus on our tasks and encouraging us to reach into the office candy drawer mid-morning.
To break this vicious cycle, try these easy swaps for a more nutritious and satisfying breakfast:
Swap: Toaster pastry or fruit strudel
For: Whole wheat toast with preserves & almond butter
Toaster pastries are a breakfast favorite, but a nutritional nightmare; high in saturated fat and sugar, and low in fiber, vitamins and minerals, they leave you feeling hungry soon after. If you like to start your day with something sweet, try multigrain toast with 1-2 tsp almond butter and 1-2 tsp strawberry/ whole fruit preserves. Multigrain toast adds dietary fiber, while almond butter gives you a boost of healthy monounsaturated fats which will keep you full and focused until lunchtime.
Swap: Pancakes with butter and maple syrup
For: Whole wheat apple pancakes with apple syrup
You can have your panCAKE and eat it too! Instead of the traditional spaceship-sized pancakes that leave you in a carb coma, try this SPE-certified version, higher in fiber and made with real fruit. Top them with apple syrup and walnuts for an extra dose of antioxidants and omega-3 fats, which also form a nutrient synergy.
Swap: Bacon egg and cheese on a roll
For: Egg white lox and spinach on a multigrain English muffin
It may not be totally possible to recreate the magic that is bacon, egg and cheese on a roll, but there’s definitely a healthier way to eat an egg sandwich for breakfast. Start with a hearty multigrain English muffin, higher in fiber than the roll. Instead of fried whole eggs, use egg whites -- which are almost purely protein -- mixed with spinach for essential vitamins and minerals like iron and potassium. For a salty kick, add a slice of lox made from wild salmon, which also provides a dose of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
Swap: Banana jumbo muffin
For: Whole wheat toast with nut butter and banana slices
We’ve all seen them before -- the enormous breakfast muffins the size of our faces, often sold in trendy coffee shops or coffee street carts. Though they may look appealing in the moment, those giant muffins can have up to 600 calories each, and are almost totally lacking in vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. To recreate the flavors of a banana muffin, try a piece of whole wheat toast with nut butter (almond butter or peanut butter) with real banana slices. Balanced in protein, fats and carbs, this breakfast will actually keep you full until lunchtime and fuel you with the nutrients you need to stay full and focused.
If toast won’t cut it and your mind is still on the muffin, try making a fruit-forward mini-muffin of your own, like this SPE-certified chocolate beet-tea loaf.
Swap: Slushy jumbo coffee drinks
For: Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie
Summer is coming, and so are Frappuccinos. Though there isn’t anything wrong with the occasional treat, drinking a caffeinated, sugar-heavy slush first thing in the AM can cause your blood sugar to spike quickly in the morning, leaving you hungry and sluggish a few hours after. In addition, coffee slushies are high in calories but low in vitamins and minerals. Instead, make your own cold, frothy drink from frozen fruit and plain yogurt (kefir, plain greek yogurt or soy/almond milk). This will give you a dose of natural sugars from fruit, plus fiber and protein to boot. Throw in some chia seeds, ground flax or a tsp of nut butter for healthy fats, and voilà, a nutritious winning breakfast.
For more balanced smoothie ideas, check out this cherry chocolate almond smoothie.
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