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Friday, August 2, 2013

Heart-Healthy Breakfast Ideas!

Recent studies have shown  that there's a direct link between eating breakfast and preventing heart disease - great news for those of you that already include a healthy morning meal as part of your daily routine!  The research shows that the main reason eating breakfast prevents heart problems is that it balances other risk factors like low blood sugar, poor metabolism, and nutrient deficiency, which can lead to complications with diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and obesity - all of which are commonly associated with heart disease.

Whole grains like oatmeal are a great choice for a healthy breakfast.

But making a healthy breakfast each morning is much easier said than done!  Between getting kids ready for school and rushing off to work, most of us either skip breakfast altogether or grab something quick and convenient.  The problem is, those convenience foods are usually high in sugar, fat, or processed carbs, which wreak havoc on your blood sugar and ruin your metabolism for the rest of the day.  Feeling unable to stop yourself from grabbing a donut or other snack as you pass by the breakroom at work?  That lack of willpower is probably due to your breakfast choice - eating a healthy breakfast could help you stay strong in the face of temptation.

The good news is, with a little advance preparation, you can have a healthy breakfast every day!  Some ideas for healthy breakfasts on-the-go:

 - Muffin-pan Quiches: place veggies, cheese, and cooked meat (like ground turkey or chicken, turkey bacon, or chicken sausage) in the cups of a muffin pan you've sprayed with non-stick spray.  Beat eggs with a little milk, salt and pepper and pour into muffin cups until they are 1/2 full (you'll need about one egg per muffin cup).  Bake at 425F for 20-25 minutes until eggs are set.  Voila!  Portable, single-serving quiches!

- Overnight Oats: place 1/2 cup traditional (non-instant) oatmeal in a glass jar or bowl with dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or other healthy toppings.  Cover with milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. and plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit overnight.  You can heat it up or eat like cold cereal in the morning.

- Pre-chop veggies and fillings for omelettes.  Package single-serving omelette fillings together with beaten eggs in plastic containers so you can quickly cook in the morning by just pouring entire container into heated saute pan.

- Make several breakfast sandwiches with English muffins, scrambled eggs, veggies, and cheese.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.  Then just pull one from the freezer, take off the plastic and wrap in a paper towel, and heat it in the microwave when you need it.

- Boil several eggs and peel; store covered in water in the refrigerator so you can grab one at a time for a quick meal or snack.

- Wash and prep fruit and veggies as soon as you buy them, so you can just grab them out of the fridge at a moment's notice.

Protein-rich foods like eggs, along with veggies and fruits, make a balanced breakfast.

Do you know any other tips you'd like to share?

Here's to your health!