(Family Features) When the school year rolls around, switching from pool to school means finding simpler ways to kick off the day with healthy and nutritious options.
Preparing feel-good breakfasts can be as easy as picking and putting together the right ingredients, if you know where to buy them. At grocery stores like ALDI, parents can conveniently find choices they can feel good about feeding their families, including fresh produce and organic, non-GMO and gluten-free options. Parents can also shop easier knowing ALDI private label items – which make up 90 percent of its products – are free from certified synthetic colors, added trans fats and MSG.
After the shopping trip, try these make-ahead breakfast ideas to give the busy mornings a boost:
- Homemade energy bars are an easy breakfast option that can keep you fueled until lunch. For simple bars, heat coconut oil and vanilla in a saucepan until combined then transfer to a large bowl and mix with cashew butter, oats, dried fruits and granola. Press the mixture between two cookie sheets to flatten, refrigerate 2 hours and slice into bars.
- Portion out produce for daily breakfast smoothies. Seal each weekday’s smoothie ingredients in separate plastic bags and simply toss the ingredients in a blender each morning. Enjoy your smoothie in a tumbler or try something new, such as this Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl.
- Use your slow cooker to make oatmeal. Before heading to bed, simply add milk, vanilla and your favorite sweetener to rolled oats and cook on low 7-8 hours. Include dried fruit to soak up moisture and provide a sweet, juicy addition. Or try these Morning Oasis Overnight Oats for a no-cook variation on traditional oatmeal for a quick, crunchy start to the day.
Make school mornings a breeze with more quick recipes at aldi.us.
Morning Oasis Overnight Oats
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus overnight to set)
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups Millville Quick Oats
- 1 teaspoon Southern Grove Chia Seeds
- 2 cups Friendly Farms Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 1/8 teaspoon Stonemill Iodized Salt
- 3 tablespoons SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey, divided
- 1/4 cup SimplyNature Organic Quinoa, toasted
- 1/4 cup Southern Grove Whole Almonds, toasted
- 1 mango, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped coconut
- .45 ounces Moser Roth Premium Dark Chocolate 70 percent Cocoa, shaved
- .45 ounces Moser Roth Premium Dark Chocolate 70 percent Cocoa, melted
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In large mason jar, combine oats, chia seeds, almond milk, salt and 2 tablespoons honey. Refrigerate overnight.
- In medium bowl, combine quinoa, almonds and remaining honey. Spread onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Remove, cooling completely and crumbling. Store in re-sealable bag overnight.
- The next day, stir oats and pour desired amount into serving bowl. Top with mango, coconut, shaved chocolate and candied quinoa. Drizzle with melted chocolate.
Blackberry Avocado Smoothie Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Chef Audrey, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 3/4 cup blackberries
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup Friendly Farms Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 3/4 cup Friendly Farms Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 teaspoon Stonemill Pure Vanilla
- 1 teaspoon SimplyNature Organic Wildflower Honey
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- SimplyNature Flax Seed
- Southern Grove Chia Seeds
- Southern Grove Sliced Almonds, toasted
- Lime zest
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl and add garnishes as desired.
(Family Features) Warmer weather has arrived and that means it’s salad season.
There are many seasonal salads to enjoy and everyone has a favorite. Change your warm-weather dining habits up a bit with this recipe for Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers. Easy to prepare, this deliciously unique salad on a skewer is perfect for entertaining family and friends.
The sweet-tangy, nutty, piquant and savory combination of ingredients provides layers of flavors in every forkful. One-bite Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets are just right for skewering with the mustard-marmalade glazed chicken and crisp romaine.
To finish, drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds and cheese. Add a whole grain baguette and your meal is ready. For more warm-weather recipe ideas, visit AuntNellies.com.
Ruby Beet Chicken Salad Skewers
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Baby Whole Pickled Beets, drained
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
- salt, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- pepper, to taste, plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
- 4 1/2 tablespoons stone ground mustard, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade, plus 1/3 cup, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 bag (9 ounces) leafy romaine pieces
- 8 wooden skewers
- 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
- 1/3 cup crumbled firm white cheese (such as blue cheese, feta or goat)
- Heat oven to 375° F. Drain beets; set aside.
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. In small bowl, combine 1 1/2 tablespoons each of mustard and marmalade. Brush mixture over chicken until completely coated. Bake chicken on aluminum foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear; set aside.
- To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, combine remaining mustard, remaining marmalade, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Slowly pour in oil while whisking vigorously until completely combined.
- Slice cooled chicken into 1-inch pieces. On each skewer, thread a beet, a piece of chicken and 4- 5 pieces of lettuce; repeat twice; add one beet at end. Repeat to make eight skewers. Place skewers on large serving platter. Stir vinaigrette; drizzle lightly over skewers. Sprinkle with almonds and cheese. Serve with remaining vinaigrette.
Substitution: Whole pickled beets may be substituted. Cut beets in half.
Alternate preparation: To grill chicken, brush both sides with mustard-marmalade mixture. Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through and thermometer reads 165 F. If chicken cooks too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low.
Nutritional information per serving: 255 calories; 15 g protein; 20 g carbohydrates; 12 g total fat; 440 mg sodium; 40 mg cholesterol; 2 g dietary fiber; 1 mg iron; .07 mg thiamin; 2,871 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C.
Source: Aunt Nellie's
Add fresh produce to your diet and community
(Family Features) Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”
“Most of my adult clients who are not veggie lovers usually had little exposure to them growing up, or they just weren’t cooked properly,” Forberg said. “It’s important for parents to get their children involved in cooking, shopping and even gardening so kids can understand the journey from seed to plate.”
Forberg furthers her personal dedication to the seed-to-plate journey through her involvement with Seeds of Change, which invests in healthier and greener communities by offering both organic seeds and foods, and delivers an annual grant program that benefits school and community gardening as well as farming programs. This year, the grant program will award $310,000 to participants who plan to help their communities and teach people about sustainability and where fresh food comes from.
To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg offers four simple tips:
Start in the garden. This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthfully. Plant a garden at home or become involved in a local project nearby.
Opt for veggies with big impact. Richly colored veggies contain the richest supplies of nutrients. Opt for spinach or romaine instead of iceberg lettuce in your salads. Skip the celery or carrots and go for red bell pepper slices to deliver a healthy serving of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Make smart swaps. Replace the dense calories of pasta noodles with a flavorful cup of cooked spaghetti squash. The squash is a satisfying and tasty alternative with a mere 40 calories, 2 grams of fiber and loads of vitamins.
Pair with whole grains. Mashed potatoes may be a favorite dinner side, but there are more nutritious options to complement your garden produce, such as this grain bowl with wild salmon from Chef Seamus Mullen.
Learn more about starting a community garden and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.
Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde
Total time: 20-25 minutes
- 8 wild salmon fillets (3 ounces each)
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
Salsa Verde (optional):
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
- In medium saute pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously 3-5 minutes. Add grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.
Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Seeds of Change
- 1 (13-ounce) bag Snickers Miniatures for Easter, chopped
- 24 cupcake paper liners
- 1 (18-ounce) box favorite cake mix
- 2 (16-ounce) cans classic vanilla frosting
- Yellow food coloring
- 1 (14-ounce) bag Starburst Jellybeans Original Fruits
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 tube chocolate decorating frosting, with plain tip
- 2 resealable plastic bags
- Unwrap and chop all miniatures, set aside.
- Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Prepare cake mix, fold in chopped miniatures and bake according to package directions.
- Let cupcakes come to room temperature.
- In the meantime, tint frosting with yellow food coloring to desired shade. Frost top of each cupcake to cover.
- Spoon remaining frosting into resealable plastic bag. Cut off 1/4-inch from tip. To create a “hive” on each cupcake, pipe on frosting in spiral fashion, starting with bottom of hive and working up to top.
- Separate orange jellybeans from package. Arrange 3 to 4 jellybeans on each frosting hive. Gently squeeze chocolate frosting through tip in zigzag pattern over jellybeans.
- Angle an almond slice on each side of jellybeans as bee wings.
Makes 24 servings
Mini Three-Cheese Balls
Yields 24 to 30 balls
- 1 4-ounce log fresh goat cheese
- 6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 2 cups coarsely grated Jarlsberg cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated onion
- 1/4 cup non fat plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup finely diced fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
- Dash hot sauce (optional)
- 1 cup slivered almonds or chopped pecans
- In a food processor, process cheeses with onion, yogurt and chives until well blended. If you'd like, add a dash of hot sauce.
- Shape into mini balls and roll in slivered almonds or chopped pecans and chives, or spread in serving dish and top with nuts/chives.
- Chill several hours or until ready to serve. Serve with flat breads, fresh vegetables, etc.
Tip: You can also mix nuts into cheese mixture and use to stuff cherry tomatoes and peppadews, sweet peppers or top cucumber rounds, mini party breads, etc. Chill several hours or until ready to serve.
(Family Features) A wealth of research shows that starting each morning with a nutritious breakfast delivers benefits throughout the day. If you’re pressed for time or simply need to mix up your morning routine, put a fresh spin on a time-saving favorite by making a smoothie bowl.
Smoothie bowls typically have a thicker consistency than traditional smoothies, and according to a recent study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” the thicker the smoothie, the more full you will feel.
“I love smoothie bowls because they are a satisfying and satiating way to get a ton of nutrition in first thing in the morning,” said Carolyn Brown, a registered dietitian and nutritionist at Foodtrainers in New York City. “You can add in healthy ingredients that you might not be able to eat on a daily basis like spinach, basil, mint, cinnamon, nut butters or avocado.”
Brown points out that in her experience with clients, people love to eat with a spoon and find it more mentally and physically satisfying. The same goes for adding texture, such as a crunchy topping like goodnessknows snack squares. These satisfying, gluten-free snacks are crafted with the goodness of whole nuts, real fruits and toasted oats, with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Divided into four snackable squares per serving and nestled in a layer made with dark chocolate, one individual, two-bite square contains only about 40 calories.
Find out more about how doing a little good for yourself can go a long way at goodnessknows.com.
Apple Pie Smoothie Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Anna Luther of My Life and Kids
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup raw oats
- 1/2 cup milk (or unsweetened almond or coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- honey, to taste (optional)
- Diced apples
- Shaved almonds
- goodnessknows apple almond & peanut dark chocolate snack squares
- In blender, mix all smoothie ingredients until smooth. Add honey to increase sweetness, if desired. Add toppings before serving.
Oatmeal Banana Smoothie Bowl
Recipe courtesy of Alison Ray of So Chic Life
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- sea salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk, 2 percent milk or soy milk
- 1 small banana (or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
- goodnessknows snack squares (any flavor)
- grated coconut, to taste
- In small bowl, mix together oats, coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla and pinch of salt. Cover and place in refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or overnight to help flavors soak in.
- In blender or food processor, combine oat mixture with remaining milk and half of the banana (or applesauce). Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour creamy oats into bowl, and top with snack squares, coconut and slices of remaining banana half.
Tip: To thin consistency, use additional milk.