(Family Features) During a period when many families are spending more time at home than normal, eating healthier is likely a popular goal. One of the many aspects to focusing on better nutrition starts with a better breakfast.
To help boost you and your family’s immunity, try focusing on protein- and fiber-packed morning meals that are low in sugar. That doesn’t have to mean hours of prep in the kitchen or stocking up on uncommon ingredients.
Instead, you can start with simple recipes that call for just a handful of inclusions. Additionally, when your menu is centered around less complicated dishes, it allows an opportunity to get kids involved in the kitchen with tasks like measuring yogurt for a parfait, pouring milk in a pudding recipe or simply pulling ingredients out of the pantry and refrigerator.
To help start your healthy breakfast plan on the right foot, consider these tips from Dr. Jonathan Clinthorne and the experts at SimplyProtein:
Factor in fiber. When it comes to supporting immunity with nutrition, one of the underappreciated nutrients is dietary fiber. Fiber feeds gut bacteria, which helps produce numerous compounds that accelerate the development of immune cells and boost their function. The immune system performs better when people replace highly refined, low-fiber carbohydrates with fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Pick ingredients packed with protein. It’s important to consume adequate protein when looking to boost immune function as protein energy malnutrition is linked to poor immune function and can impair the ability of the immune system to fight viruses and bacteria. Add foods to your diet like SimplyProtein’s line of non-GMO, gluten-free bars and bites. The snacks include 11 or more grams of protein and just 0-3 grams of sugar without artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors or artificial preservatives for nutritious treats to help make busy lives simpler.
Build a balanced breakfast. People burn more energy through a process known as “diet-induced thermogenesis” when they consume high-calorie breakfasts rather than high-calorie dinners. This can ultimately help with weight loss and suggests that eating more food early in the day is better for you than eating a large amount before bedtime. For example, these recipes for Yogurt Parfait, Chia Seed Pudding and Avocado Toast provide protein and energy with simple at-home prep.
Skip the sugar. Avoid the post-lunch sleepy feeling by ditching sugar. Instead, focus on low-glycemic snacks that won’t spike blood sugar, helping to control your appetite.
Feel fuller longer. Eating immune supportive foods like vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds and protein-rich snack bars can help keep you full and satisfied while avoiding less nutritious alternatives.
Easy Additions for a Balanced Breakfast
Whether your morning meal is a lavish spread for the whole family or a simple snack before logging on for a workday, these simple add-ons can add flavor without sacrificing nutrition:
- Dairy, such as milk or yogurt
- Fruit, such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and more
- Quick solutions, such as SimplyProtein Cookie Bars, Crispy Bars or Crunchy Bites
- Eggs (for a time-saving solution, try using a muffin tin to create egg cups for ready-to-go breakfasts throughout the week)
- Seeds or nuts
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- 1 avocado, halved and sliced
- 2 poached eggs
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup crushed SimplyProtein Barbecue Crunchy Bites
- Toast bread slices.
- Divide avocado slices among toast. Place one egg on each piece of toast then sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Top toast with crushed crunchy bites.
- 1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup assorted fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries and kiwi
- 1 tablespoon shaved almonds
- 1 SimplyProtein Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar, crumbled
- shaved coconut (optional)
- In bowl, layer yogurt, fruit and shaved almonds. Top with crumbled cookie bar and shaved coconut, if desired.
Chia Seed Pudding
- 3 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 SimplyProtein Lemon Crispy Bar
- In glass jar or bowl, stir chia seeds and almond milk. Let rest 5 minutes then stir again.
- Cover pudding in refrigerator; allow to set 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Crumble lemon crispy bar and mix into pudding or cut into sticks for dipping.
(Family Features) While so many families spend more time at home than normal, many may be seeking ways to increase fun and activity, especially for children. One way to increase engagement while teaching lifelong lessons is to head to the kitchen for a learning exercise in creating nutritious snacks and treats.
Consider these creative ways you can get your kids involved in the kitchen:
Look for simple recipes kids can help create. Logically, the first step in the process is to focus on ingredients and instructions that aren't overly complicated. For example, avoid snacks that call for cutting with knives and instead try a recipe like these Frosted Watermelon Cutouts, which involves kid-friendly cookie cutters.
Be flexible. Another way to involve children is to let them help in the meal-planning routine. Because kids' desired tastes may differ from your own, be open to outside-the-box ideas like breakfast for dinner, nutritious snacks for lunch and fruit for dessert.
Take advantage of nutritious produce. Comprised of 92% water to support hydration, an option like watermelon is a source of vitamin C and other important nutrients. At only 80 calories per 2-cup serving, one watermelon provides up to three dozen servings that can be used in a variety of nutritious family recipes, and 100% of the fruit is usable between the flesh, juice and rind. For example, this recipe for Kids Watermelon Sandwich Cookies provides a sweet treat the whole family can enjoy while calling for just a few ingredients.
Visit watermelon.org for more creative ways to use the whole watermelon, including recipes and kid-friendly carvings.
Craft a Fun, Frozen Fruit
Using leftovers can make for a fun way to avoid food waste. For example, if you have extra watermelon, simply cut into 1/2-1-inch wedges and insert clean crafting sticks into the center of the rind. Put them in the freezer for at least 1 hour to create sweet watermelon ice pops.
Kids Watermelon Sandwich Cookies
Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board
- 12 blueberry pancakes (3-inch round), cooled to room temperature
- 1/2 cup white frosting
- 6 seedless watermelon slices (2/3-inch thick, 3-inch round), drained to remove excess moisture
- Evenly frost bottom of each pancake with white frosting. Arrange six pancakes frosting side up on serving platter. Place one slice watermelon on each frosted pancake.
- Top each with remaining pancakes, frosting side down. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Frosted Watermelon Cutouts
Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board
- 1 seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2-3/4-inch thick slices
- 1 serving vanilla yogurt
- 1 serving granola or similar cereal
- Using cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices. Or, if preferred, use classic cut watermelon wedges.
- Frost each slice with yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.
(Family Features) Snacks are a way of life for people of all ages, but especially children, who consume about 25% of their daily calories from snacks, according to research published in the “Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.” Providing nutritionally balanced snacks for your children at home can make for a happy and healthy day.
Planning snacks that are as delicious as they are healthy is a winning solution, and snacks are a simple way to add more nutrition to your child’s diet.
For example, low-fat and fat-free dairy foods are essential to children’s growth and overall wellness. They provide calcium and vitamin D, two nutrients kids don’t get enough of, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines recommend 2-3 servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods every day, depending on the child’s age.
Giving kids a role in the preparation can give them added incentive to enjoy healthy treats, and these recipes are all easy enough that kids can make them on their own (or with minimal assistance). Giving your kids the ability to play a role in the kitchen and create is a gift that can last a lifetime. The culinary skills they develop early in life can give them the confidence and know-how to cook nutritious meals for themselves as teens and adults.
Dairy: Did You Know?
Dairy foods can add taste and versatility to your plate, but they also deliver a unique package of essential nutrients important for good health.
- Milk has a unique combination of nine essential nutrients: protein; calcium; potassium; phosphorus; vitamins A, D and B12; riboflavin and niacin. Each of these nutrients is a key ingredient of milk and they all work together to help keep bodies healthy.
- Milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of high-quality protein, which is essential for growth and maintenance of muscle and other proteins within the body.
- Enjoying dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt as part of a healthy diet is associated with many health bonuses, including reduced risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Get more ideas to get kids cooking and snacking smart at milkmeansmore.org.
Red, White and Blue Greek Yogurt Bark
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 3 cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup honey, plus additional for drizzling (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup strawberries, sliced into rounds
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries, halved
- In medium mixing bowl combine Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup honey and vanilla.
- On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spread Greek yogurt mixture to 1/4-inch thickness. Press strawberries, blueberries and raspberries into yogurt. Freeze at least 3 hours. Break into pieces upon removing from freezer.
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 dash cinnamon
- apples, graham crackers or other dipper of choice
- In bowl, six Greek yogurt, peanut butter and cinnamon until smooth.
- Serve with apples, graham crackers or another dipper of choice.
Good Morning Yogurt Parfait
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup sliced or diced fruit, any variety
- 6 ounces low-fat or fat-free vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup granola or other cereal (optional)
- In small bowl or cup, layer fruit and yogurt, starting with fruit on bottom. Top with cereal or granola, if desired.
- Note: This recipe can be made using low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese sweetened with honey and cinnamon.
Frozen Banana Pops
Prep time: 2 hours
- 4 large bananas, peeled
- 8 wooden ice pop sticks
- 2 cups vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- Cut each banana in half and carefully insert wooden ice pop stick in bottom of each , about one-third into banana. Place bananas on large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze bananas until partially frozen, about 30 minutes.
- Carefully dip each banana in tall pint glass of vanilla yogurt to coat, leaving 1/2-inch at bottom of banana uncoated. Return yogurt-coated bananas to parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until completely firm, about 1 hour.
- Microwave peanut butter until smooth and creamy, about 30-45 seconds. Drizzle peanut butter evenly over bananas then place on baking sheet to freeze until peanut butter is firm, about 30 minutes.
- Serve immediately or wrap each banana in plastic wrap and store in freezer up to 3 months.
Add fruit to your breakfast with this take on French toast, which includes a mixture of berries, bananas and vanilla yogurt wrapped in tortillas and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Find more breakfast recipes at Culinary.net.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Fruity Yogurt French Toast Wraps
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced, plus additional for garnish (optional)
- 1 cup bananas, sliced
- 1 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup granola
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6-8 tortillas
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 4-6 teaspoons powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)
- In medium bowl, combine blueberries, strawberries, bananas, yogurt and granola. Mix well and set aside.
- Using pie plate, crack egg and whisk. Add milk, cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk until combined.
- Coat both sides of tortillas in egg mixture.
- In skillet, melt butter. Place coated tortillas one at a time in pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Move to plate.
- Spoon yogurt mixture into center of tortillas. Fold edges over to form wraps.
- Dust each with powdered sugar and top with additional strawberry slices, if desired.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie Ice Pops
- 1 cup Tree Top Apple Juice
- 1 pint strawberries, hulled, sliced and frozen
- 1 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, sliced and frozen
- 6 ounces vanilla yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into ice pop forms or paper cups. Place ice pop sticks in center and freeze, inverted, for 3 hours or until solid. Keep frozen until ready to serve.
Source: Tree Top