Sincerely Carolina

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love your body with breakfast

by caroline

One of my absolute favorite things about what I do as a health writer and coach is answering questions for each one of you. Not only do I love meeting you, but it thrills me to know that I might be able to help you in even a small way during your health journey.

I was speaking to a group of college students the other day and one of the top questions was, “I’m horrible at eating breakfast. What can I eat that’s healthy and quick?”

Of course, we’ve all heard it before: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But the morning can also be one of our most hectic times of day. Wrangling the kids to get ready for school, running out the door for work and, in this case, being a college student with limited options can all get in the way of choosing a health breakfast nosh.

Here are five of my favorite breakfasts –– all of which can be prepared the night before and grabbed before heading out the door. Each one starts with a base and allows you to come up with your own creation by making various additions. Time to fuel your day!

Oatmeal: Oats are packed with folate, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids and beta-glucan, a fiber that is known for lowering cholesterol when made a regular part of a diet. Plus, oatmeal is one of those stick-to-your-ribs breakfasts that will stay with you all day. If you have time and access to a stove, then whip up a batch of rolled or steel cut oats at the beginning of the week and scoop from it as needed. Top with honey, maple syrup, fresh fruit, raw nuts and dried fruit. If you are gluten-free , then be sure to choose a certified gluten-free brand. And if you need to rely on instant oatmeal, then choose one that contains limited added sugar, like Kashi brands (kashi.com) or Quaker Cinnamon Swirl High Fiber Instant Oatmeal which contains just 7 grams of sugar.

Eggs: These babies used to get a bad rap for being high in dietary cholesterol, but research now shows that a moderate dose of cholesterol in our foods has less of an impact on our blood cholesterol than we originally thought. And it’s a good thing because eggs are a great option for breakfast. Prep two eggs scrambled or omelette style, topping with mushrooms, peppers, onions, spinach, and even a spoonful of feta or goat cheese. You might also try hard boiling eggs for a grab-and-go option.

Greek Yogurt: Like oatmeal, it’s best to start with a plain Greek yogurt base and added toppings for a touch of sweetness. Flavored yogurts can be a sugar-loaded health bomb and not nearly as filling as its creamy Greek yogurt brother. Plus, going Greek means you’ll get twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Top your yogurt with fresh fruit, honey, maple syrup, raw nuts, dried fruit, or even a spoonful or two of granola for a filling breakfast option.

Peanut and Almond Butter: It might seem silly to have an entire category devoted to these delicious butters, but the truth is they can sometimes mean the difference between you having a quick breakfast or nothing at all. On my absolutely busiest days, a banana with one of these two is my go-to option. Spreading a tablespoon or two of almond or peanut butter on a toasted slice of whole grain or gluten-free bread will also do the trick! The bonus? They are both loaded with protein and monounsaturated fats.

Smoothies: It might sound basic, but a well-rounded smoothie is a favorite amongst on-the-go kings and queens. Start with 1 to 1-1/2 cups of a liquid base, such as dairy-free milk, milk or water. Add 1 cup of fruit, such as a banana, chopped apples, or fresh or frozen berries. Add a tablespoon of health fats, like peanut or almond butter, or flaxseed meal, which is also packed with fiber. If you’re feeling brave, then you can also toss in a handful of spinach –– the fruit will mask the “green” taste and you will get a healthy dose of leafy greens first thing in the morning. Once you’ve added those basics, you can toss in 4-5 ice cubes, blend and go. Other fun additions include a scoop of plant-based protein powder (especially helpful to muscle recovery after a workout), a spoonful of honey or chia seed, or a tablespoon of cacao powder (for a chocolate-y boost).

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sweet-potato-oatmealSweet Potato Oatmeal (gluten-free & vegan)
Makes 2 servings

ingredients

1 medium baked sweet potato, skins removed
1 cup dairy-free milk (almond, coconut, flax, etc.)
1/4 cup all-natural, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or light brown sugar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup gluten-free oats
1 Tablespoon almond butter

directions

Whisk together sweet potato, milk, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat, stirring in oatmeal and almond butter and simmering for an additional 1–2 minutes. Whisk continuously throughout.

Spoon oatmeal into bowls and serve. Sprinkle on yummy toppings, like pecans, dried cranberries, or a drizzle of maple syrup.