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3 Heart-Healthy Ways to Start Your Day

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Hearty Banana Muffins
Pumpkin-Raisin Spice Bread
Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal Scones With Maple Vanilla Glaze

(Family Features) - While most nutritionists agree that breakfast is the most powerful meal of the day*, you can make sure that your first meal of the day packs an extra heart-healthy punch by following these three easy steps:

Go for Oatmeal or Oat-Based Cereals
Oats are one of the best natural sources of soluble fiber. Three grams of soluble fiber per day, when part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Grab Some Fruit
Fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that can help protect against the effects of aging, and help reduce the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Make sure you get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Watch Your Intake of Sodium
Many processed breakfast foods contain high levels of sodium for flavor and as a preservative. While sodium is important to the body, a high sodium diet is associated with hypertension (also known has high blood pressure). To minimize your intake of sodium, read labels and avoid foods that are high in sodium.

For an easy way to get all of these heart-health benefits in one food, check out Kashi Heart to Heart Cereal and new Instant Oatmeal, which contain 1 gram of soluble fiber from oats plus heart-healthy vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Heart to Heart Cereal and Instant Oatmeal are low in sodium, too! As an added benefit, Kashi products are made from nutritious ingredients that are minimally processed and free of artificial sweeteners, colors and preservatives.

Get more healthful eating and lifestyle tips, along with great recipes, at www.kashi.com

*Research shows that breakfast eaters tend to have a lower BMI (body mass index), enjoy a lower risk for diabetes and are able to control their weight better than people who skip breakfast on a regular basis.

Hearty Banana Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups crushed* Kashi Heart to Heart cereal
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice crystals or raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk or plain soymilk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup expeller pressed canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil muffin tins.
    2. Combine first five ingredients in large mixing bowl.
    3. In separate mixing bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.
    4. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and stir until just combined.
    5. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tins.
    6. For garnish, place three hearts from cereal on top of each muffin.
    7. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers of muffins comes out clean, or about 20 minutes. Let cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*Place cereal in freezer bag and crush with rolling pin until cereal resembles coarse flour without any large chunks. To save time, place cereal in blender or food processor and pulse into coarse flour instead.

Pumpkin-Raisin Spice Bread

  • 1 cup pumpkin (canned, unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 cups (4 packets) Kashi Heart to Heart
  • Instant Oatmeal (any flavor), divided
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup raisins or any dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans (optional)
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    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 1 large loaf pan or 2 small loaf pans with nonstick vegetable spray.
    2. Mix first seven ingredients together until well creamed.
    3. Add in 1 1/2 cups oatmeal and remaining ingredients; blend until just mixed.
    4. Pour dough evenly into prepared pan(s) (fill only about 3/4 full). Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup oatmeal.
    5. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until top is slightly soft to touch but not wet (use toothpick test).
    6. Allow to cool before removing from pan. Cut thick slices and enjoy for breakfast, snack or dessert.

Makes 16 large servings
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Apple-Cranberry Oatmeal Scones With Maple Vanilla Glaze

Start your morning off with the baking aroma of vanilla, cranberries and maple syrup.

  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 4 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil or trans-fat free spread
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups (6 packets) Kashi Heart to Heart
  • Instant Oatmeal (any flavor)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup apples (tart varieties) diced into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons nonfat milk*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract or 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick vegetable spray or line with parchment paper.
    2. Cream evaporated cane juice, cream cheese and oil until smooth.
    3. Beat in egg whites and mix in yogurt and vanilla.
    4. In another bowl, mix together oatmeal, flour and baking powder. Add diced apples and cranberries to dry mixture.
    5. Gently fold dry and wet ingredients together (if mix is too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons nonfat milk).
    6. Place spoonfuls of dough onto prepared sheet, leaving room between scones.
    7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes (only until bottoms of scones slightly golden).
    8. To make glaze, cream all ingredients together until smooth. *Add more milk if too thick or more powdered sugar if too thin.
    9. Place in refrigerator to set-up into firmer consistency if desired, or spread glaze over warm scones.
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Makes 16 scones

SOURCE: Kashi® Cereals

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