Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Make Breakfast Too Easy to Skip

If you are too rushed to eat in the morning, or just don’t feel hungry, you’re not alone. According to a marketing research company study (NPD Group), 14 percent of children aged 14 - 17 skip breakfast. Eighteen to 34 year old males have the highest incidence of skipping (28 percent). Older adults skip breakfast the least (11 percent for males, ages 55 and older, and 10 percent for females in this age range).

As a whole, people who enjoy breakfast weigh less than those who skip it. But eating a healthy breakfast has many benefits besides weight control, including better mental and physical performance at the beginning of your day.

Breaking the fast is particularly important for children. Studies have shown those who regularly eat breakfast have significantly higher test scores. They also make healthier dietary choices. Breakfast skippers consume 40 percent more sweets, 55 percent more soft drinks, 45 percent fewer vegetables and 30 percent less fruit than people who eat breakfast.

These quick or prepare-ahead breakfast ideas will fit into the busiest of schedules:

Whole grain bread topped with peanut butter (or any kind of nut butter) and fruit
Bagels, English muffins or toast topped with scrambled eggs
Bagels topped with reduced-fat cream cheese and fruit
Yogurt with fresh fruit, cereal and nuts mixed in

Overnight Oats
Serves 4
2 cups oats
2 cups low-fat milk, almond, or soy milk
2 ½ tablespoons nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew, or sunflower)
2 tablespoons natural maple syrup or honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
One grated apple, or equivalent applesauce
½ cup dried fruit of choice (cranberries, raisins, mixed fruit pieces)
Nuts of choice for topping
Prepare the evening before serving for breakfast in a container with a lid. Mix together milk, nut butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and sweetener. Stir in oats and grated apple and place in refrigerator. Heat in microwave to desired temperature the next morning. May top with nuts and additional fruit, if desired. Keep in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

PB & J Energy Bars
 Serves 8
1¾ cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained)
½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup natural peanut butter (no added sugars or oils, just peanuts
¼ cup whole raw almonds
½ cup instant plain oats
Soak the dates in warm water for 15 minutes, and drain.
Place dates, dried cranberries, almonds, peanut butter, and oats in a food processor and blend until combined well.
Scoop mixture into a square baking pan, and firmly press down to make an even layer.
Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set, then cut into 8 rectangle bars.
Store in the freezer or fridge.

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