Posts Tagged ‘healthy breakfast’

People eating breakfast

I have a routine that I begin each day with that includes brushing my teeth, working out, showering, getting dressed, fixing breakfast then heading out the door to go to work or teleworking from home. We all have actions that get our day started no matter what time it begins. Routines can lead to habits which can be positive or negative depending on the choices we make. Because routines are habitual, we don’t often evaluate whether they are positive or negative.

Do you usually grab a granola or protein bar in the morning? Or do you find yourself buying a pastry or sandwich when you stop for coffee or gas? Maybe you have a habit of sitting down to eat breakfast. Or maybe you don’t typically eat breakfast at all!

Take a moment today to think about the breakfast choices that start your day. Consider taking a break from your breakfast routine and try something different for a week or two.

Need ideas?

  • Make breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos at home. You can prep them ahead of time by scrambling eggs, adding in your favorite veggies, and refrigerating them overnight or until ready to eat. In the morning, just heat the eggs in the microwave and place into a tortilla for a breakfast wrap along with other toppings like cheese or salsa. 
  • Add fruit to your favorite morning drink or breakfast bar. Grab a fresh orange, apple or banana; a cup of applesauce or canned, diced fruit; or serve yourself a bowl of sliced berries or melon.
  • Try a new recipe such as Banana and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, Granola and Yogurt Parfaits, or No Bake Breakfast Cookies

For more ideas, view these OSU Extension videos on Food Prep for Breakfast and Breakfast Made Easy.

What you eat can set the tone for the day. Eating breakfast will help you perform better throughout the day by helping with concentration, problem solving and even eye-hand coordination. In addition, eating breakfast can raise your energy level, mood and overall health! Those who eat a morning meal tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day compared to those who skip breakfast.

Writer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Pike County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County


Ellis, E. (2020). 5 Reasons your teen needs breakfast. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-reasons-your-teen-needs-breakfast

OSU Wexner Medical Center (2017). Improve your mood everyday: Just Eat Breakfast. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/improve-your-mood-just-eat-breakfast

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Do you love foods that are traditionally served for breakfast like pancakes, waffles, or omelets? Studies of America’s favorite foods often include: bagels, waffles, bacon, pancakes, and sausage gravy with biscuits towards the top of survey results. Many of these foods we may not actually eat that often though, because we think they are only for breakfast – and we only have time to fix a big breakfast on the weekend. Or maybe, the version of these foods we are used to, is higher in fat and calories than we know we should have? If you are in one of these groups, why not think about a made-over breakfast for dinner?

Breakfast for dinner may be an easy way to celebrate both National Fruit and Vegetable Month and National Family Meals Month as we wrap up September. The importance of those family meals can’t be overlooked. A few of those benefits include: better academics for youth, higher self-esteem, lower risk of depression, and lower risk of substance abuse. Family eating pancakes and fruit

Here is the start of a list of breakfast foods that would make great family dinners:

  • Baked or slow cooker oatmeal with berries, apples, nuts, dried fruit, and cinnamon.
  • English muffin or wrap sandwich – whole grain muffin or tortilla with either nut spread with fruit, sliced veggies and cheese, or light cheese and over-easy egg.
  • French toast with sliced fruit – make sure you use a whole grain bread.
  • Egg and veggie burritos – use a whole grain tortilla, add scrambled eggs, light cheese, a few black beans, and chopped veggies (tomatoes, onion, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or eggplant).
  • Omelet – use those chopped veggies, light cheese, herbs, and left over ham/turkey/chicken.
  • Frittata – A frittata has the ingredients mixed in, rather than folded in the center like an omelet. They can be baked in a pie pan or casserole dish, cooked in a skillet on top of the stove, or made in an electric skillet. The combinations are limitless. Eggs can be combined with any type of chopped vegetable, cheese, herbs, or even a little leftover meat. To make individual frittatas, pour into well-greased muffin tins with each person adding their own choice of vegetables or favorite cheese or herb. Get creative with these – think pizza made with eggs; Italian herbs; mozzarella cheese; diced tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, or onions; and a couple mini pepperoni. Or Southwest with eggs; shredded chicken; diced tomatoes, peppers, and green chilies; hot pepper cheese; and spices like cumin and chili powder. The bonus with mini muffin frittatas is you can bake them ahead and reheat for a quick breakfast or pack in a lunch.They can also be frozen and used when you need a quick dinner.        Frittata
  • Whole grain pancakes with fresh fruit or even shredded zucchini. Cooking Matters has a great Orange Oatmeal Pancake that includes orange juice, whole wheat flour, and oats – you don’t even need syrup.
  • Avocado whole grain toast – with pears, lean chicken, and greens can be quick favorite too.

By making a few minor changes to our traditional breakfast favorites like using the whole grain version, or a low fat milk or cheese, you can cut unnecessary calories and increase fiber, vitamins and minerals. Our goal is to try and choose foods from all five food groups throughout the day. Dinner is a great time to help move you in the right direction and choose a variety of foods from MyPlate (low-fat dairy or dairy substitute, fruit, vegetable, low fat meat or protein, and whole grains.)

We can’t wait to hear your favorite breakfast for dinner food. Please share your ideas in the comments section. Recipes are linked to several of the foods by following the hyperlink on the name.

Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County.


Produce for Better Health Foundation, https://fruitsandveggies.org/.

What’s Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl, https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

Cooking Matters, https://cookingmatters.org/

The Family Dinner Project, https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/about-us/benefits-of-family-dinners/

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We have all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. When I was younger, I did not eat breakfast before going off to school. Like all families, we were busy in the mornings and my mom did not make it a priority for us to eat breakfast. Several years ago, I started taking medicine in the morning. I realized quickly that if I did not eat breakfast with it I would get sick. I still struggle with eating breakfast each morning.

Next year my daughter will be starting college. So I have stressed to her about how important it is to eat breakfast each morning. To meet our needs I have been looking for quick and easy ideas. I have discovered there are many great web sites out there to help in getting ideas for healthy breakfasts.

The American Dietetic Association states that children who eat a healthy breakfast are more apt to have better concentration, alertness, creativity, miss fewer days of school, and be more active.

Here are some ideas from the Eatright.org web site on how to insure you and your children are getting a healthy breakfast each morning.Yogurt and apple slices

If You Wake Up on Time, Eat …

  • Scrambled Eggs: Serve with turkey bacon, fruit and whole-grain toast.
  • Whole-Grain Waffles: If you have a waffle iron, try a whole-grain waffle mix from the grocery store for a special treat. Serve topped with fresh fruit.

If You Hit the Snooze Button One Time, Eat …

  • English Muffin Sandwich: Toast a whole-grain English muffin. Put low-fat cheese and sliced deli ham on the toasted muffin. Warm the sandwich in the microwave to melt the cheese. Grab a piece of fruit for a complete breakfast.
  • Breakfast Tacos: Scramble and cook one egg (or two egg whites). Serve eggs, salsa and low-fat cheese in corn tortillas.
  • Classic Cereal Gets an Upgrade: Cut up some fresh fruit and add to an unsweetened breakfast cereal.
  • Yogurt Parfait: Layer yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit and granola.

If You Hit the Snooze Button Three (or More) Times, Eat …

  • Instant Oatmeal: Look for varieties without added sugar and just add boiling water.
  • 45-Second Scrambled Eggs: Put eggs and a splash of milk in a bowl, whisk it up and put it in a microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and put back in for another 10 seconds.
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich: Grab a banana while you’re at it.
  • Cream Cheese on Whole-Grain Bread: Try it on a bagel or tortillas.


Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings, eatright.org

September: Breakfast Month
By Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD Extension Nutrition Specialist UNL Panhandle Research & Extension Center


Written by: Brenda Sandman-Stover, Extension Program Assistant, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County

Reviewed by: Melanie Hart, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,

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myplate_yellowHow many vegetables did you eat yesterday?

MyPlate recommends that adults consume at least 2-3 cups of vegetables each day, making half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal. Breakfast is a meal where fruit often makes an appearance, but it is also a great opportunity to kick-off your vegetable consumption for the day!

Below are five delicious breakfast ideas that include vegetables:

  1. Zucchini bread oatmeal. You can make a batch of the baked oatmeal that the recipe linked to here instructs, or simply add shredded zucchini to overnight oats in place of part of the liquid. Zucchini bread oatmeal is a great high fiber, low fat alternative to zucchini bread. Alternatively, if you’re a fan of pumpkin bread, consider stirring canned pumpkin into your oatmeal for another nutritious breakfast.
  2. Frittata. Combine your favorite chopped veggies (mushroom, bell pepper, tomato, onion, etc.) with a mixture of egg, herbs and cheese for a delicious breakfast casserole. For added convenience, bake in a muffin tin for single-serve portions! muffin tin fritattas
  3. Breakfast sandwiches or wraps (burritos). Start with a whole wheat English muffin, tortilla or slice of toast, then add scrambled eggs, cheese, and your favorite veggies (spinach, mushroom, tomato, avocado, etc.) for a hearty breakfast sandwich. You could also fold your stuffed tortilla in half and cook it in the skillet for a quesadilla!
  4. Made-over muffins. If you enjoy eating muffins at breakfast, prepare varieties at home that include whole wheat flour and shredded veggies to ramp up the fiber content. Shredded zucchini and carrots make tasty muffins! Pineapple carrot muffins are one of my favorites.
  5. Power smoothies. If you enjoy whipping up a morning smoothie, try adding spinach or kale to the mix! These leafy greens are rich in nutrients, and chances are you’ll hardly notice that they’re there!

How do you add veggies to your breakfast? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


Author: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu



Mullen, M. & Shield, J.E. (2017). Veggies for Breakfast? Yes! Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. eatright.org

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2017). All About the Vegetable Group. choosemyplate.gov/vegetables.

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The new year is upon us which means everyone has made their New Year’s Resolution. Did you make yours about weight loss? Every year mine revolves around weight loss. Weight loss and I have a love-hate relationship. Some years are good and other years not so much.  I would like to share with you my personal struggles and how we can work together to lead healthier lives.

A few years ago I worked really hard at following a weight loss program and lost 40 pounds. I felt amazing! I had more energy and my self-confidence really improved. However, the next year, work became very stressful. Over the following years, I’ve gained all of it back, plus a little more, through emotional eating and other life changes. I self-sabotage my efforts. I don’t just fall off the “diet” band wagon; I fall off and set it on FIRE! It’s a vicious cycle that I’m putting an end to now.

Maybe you’re like me and have made decisions in the past to crash diet, and you’ve messed up your metabolism. You weigh yourself every week and when the weight isn’t coming off fast enough you feel a sense of failure and give up.

As a professional, I know and have read all the right things to do. There are blog posts on Healthy Habits and articles on how to Start Losing Weight.  But, old habits are hard to break. Personally, I have a major sweet tooth and sugar is very addicting.

Today, I’m asking you to join me in taking baby-steps to a healthier you. It may take longer, but the tortoise beat the hare, remember?

My plan of action is to make small changes over a certain period of time. I want to give myself time to take action and evaluate my success. I also want to identify my unhealthy eating triggers. Therefore, I’m allowing myself two weeks to make each change. This way I can make a small change the first week and then brainstorm ways to avoid unhealthy triggers the second week. I will start by changing my breakfast foods, then I will move onto snacks, dinner, lunch, and finally, beverages.

Since I’m starting with breakfast, I’ve identified a couple of go-to recipes I plan to use to give myself a kick start:

1. For mornings on the run, I’ll grab a low-fat Greek Yogurt, a small piece of fruit, and a piece of Sprouted toast with a small smear of all-fruit jam. Personally, I have found that sprouted bread is more gentle on my blood sugar. However, you could substitute your favorite whole grain bread.

french toast

2. For Saturday morning breakfast with my family, I love to make Cinnamon-French Toast. I’ll again use sprouted bread, and I’ll replace the whole eggs with egg whites. A little light syrup and some fresh berries will make this feel like such a treat!

3. Some days I’m way ahead of the game and have Overnight Oatmeal in the refrigerator ready to go.

What are your favorite go-to breakfasts?


Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,  Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Losing Weight: Getting Started. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/getting_started.html

Godman, H. (2017). Are Sprouted Grains More Nutritious than Regular Whole Grains? Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/sprouted-grains-nutritious-regular-whole-grains-2017110612692

Spires, C. (2016). Diets or Healthy Habits? Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/10/24/diets-or-healthy-habits/



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The most frequent question I have had in the past month from friends, co-workers, or family members who know I am interested in nutrition and health is “What is the best breakfast cereal?” or “What do I look for in my breakfast cereal?”.  I think many of them have decided to start the year off with resolutions to eat healthier or improve their health. Here are a few of the basics for selecting a better breakfast cereal (usually a 1 ounce or 1 cup serving size):

  • Power up for Protein –  look for a minimum of 2 grams per serving, preferably 3 or more grams. Remember that there are several newer research studies that support a breakfast rich in protein may promote the consumption of less calories over the course of the day and less snacking too.
  • Whole grain is Best – the first ingredient on the label should be “whole ____” not just the grain name like wheat or corn. Oats are an easy breakfast whole grain. The benefit of whole grains is fiber, you want to look for 3 grams of fiber or more per serving to aid digestion and help control cholesterol levels. Remember not to over-do it if you haven’t been eating a high fiber cereal though, you will regret that decision. You may want to start by mixing a high fiber cereal and one lower in fiber.
  • Cut the Fat – your cereal should be low fat, less than 3 grams of fat per serving, with no trans-fat. If you like nuts in your cereal, your fat grams will probably go up, so only have those cereals a couple times a week or eat your nuts as a snack instead of on your cereal. To keep the fat low, use skim or reduced fat milk on top of your cereal.
  • Short Cut the Sugar – added sugar has been a culprit in breakfast cereals for many years. While a number of companies have reduced the added sugar, they may still be higher than recommended. Your goal should be 8 grams or less of sugar per serving, with 5 of less being ideal. Look at the order of the ingredients on the label – do your best to not have sugar be one of the first three ingredients. By keeping your sugar intake lower, you will probably be looking a cereal with 120 – 200 calories per serving. Avoid going over 200 calories with your cereal.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – when you read the Daily Value of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, folic acid, or the B vitamins on the package label look for breakfast cereals with 25% or more.
  • Lower the Sodium – the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that for many of us we have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Look for sodium levels of 150 mg per serving or less per serving of cereal.

Remember breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and gives us the fuel to power our morning. There are numerous research studies supporting the importance of breakfast for adults and children. Several keys points in favor of breakfast are: improved concentration, coordination, mood, and performance. Children will get better grades, miss less school, and visit the nurse less often if they eat breakfast. Those who skip breakfast have an increased risk of heart disease, higher blood cholesterols levels, and may have trouble controlling their weight.

The best breakfasts should include foods from at least 3 food groups – grain, dairy, fruit, protein, or vegetables.  A bowl of cereal with skim milk already gives you 2 of those groups, so adding a piece of fruit or some sliced berries to the top of your cereal is a very way to go. For the morning you are in a hurry, do your dry cereal in a bag or container and throw in dried fruit or bring a bunch of grapes. If you add a glass of milk, a piece of string cheese, or a yogurt — you are own your way to a good day.

Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


Dietary Guidelines, http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf.

WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/10-best-new-healthy-breakfast-cereals.

Clemson Cooperative Extension, http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/nutrition/life_stages/hgic4106.html.

University of Missouri,  http://www.umsystem.edu/stories/eating_breakfast_helps_prevent_overeating_later_in_the_day.

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