Category Archives: Healthy Living

Healthy Cooking Methods for Meat, Fish, and Poultry

Image by Tiny Banquet Committee
Image by Tiny Banquet Committee

In order to maintain a well-functioning and illness-free body, it is important to eat healthy meals that have been prepared using healthy cooking methods. This is common knowledge, yet many people completely ignore the facts and choose not to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

As suggested above, a critical component to healthy eating is how the food is cooked.  You can start with fresh, delicious, and healthy raw ingredients, but if you choose the wrong method of cooking, you will end up with a meal filled with fat and calories.

All raw ingredients can be cooked using a number of different methods. In this post we will discuss the healthier cooking options for meats, fish and poultry.

Please take note: Healthy does not mean bland!

Frying in oodles of butter or deep frying in fat are not the only methods which produce a delectable meal, but they are among the least healthy methods because they add a lot of fat and calories.

As you know, there are different cuts of meats and poultry, and each of them has different characteristics. However, a common factor that determines the nutritional value of any cut is the way the animal or the bird was raised. Be a selective shopper and a health-conscious cook:

  • Avoid meats and poultry from factory farms.
  • Buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef as opposed to “prime.”
  • “Loin” and “round” red meat and pork have the least fat.
  • When buying poultry – keep in mind that white meat is less fatty than dark meat.
  • Trim all excess fat from red meat.
  • Remove all skin from poultry – eliminates 45% of the fat.

Healthy Cooking Methods

Roasting

Roasting is a delicious and extremely easy method for cooking meats and poultry. You can make it even healthier by not adding oil or butter. Meats should be roasted on a metal rack that is placed in a large pan so that the fat can drip off.

You can roast tender cuts at high temperatures, 425 °F. Less-tender cuts can be slow-roasted, pot-roasted, or cooked in a slow cooker.

Yes, the pan drippings are wonderful; but, if you can resist the temptation to use them for basting, you will have an even healthier meal. As a substitute for basting – use tomato juice, lemon juice, or wine.

Another closely-related, healthy cooking method for fish and small pieces of chicken is to wrap the pieces with a few diced vegetables, herbs, and spices in an aluminum foil tent, and bake in the oven.

Grilling and Broiling

Grilling is a direct heat method that requires no oil yet delivers an end result that is utterly delicious. The best part is that it is suitable for almost all kinds of meats and poultry – and you keep the heat outside during the hot summer months.

One word of warning: avoid charring your meats and poultry. Studies have shown that eating a lot of excessively charred food increases the risk of various cancers.

Broiling is also a direct heat method similar to grilling, but it is done in an oven. You do not get the wonderful “smoky grilled” flavor, but since the meat essentially cooks in its own juice, it is still very good.  This is an ideal method for the rainy season or cold winter months.

Tender cuts are best for this cooking method. Cuts that are less tender can be braised or stewed.

Grilling fish is wonderful and provides a tasty dish.  BUT – since fish cooks very quickly, you must be careful not to overcook (which is a sure way to ruin good fish). All you have to do is lightly sprinkle the fish with your favorite herbs and spices, grill for a few minutes on each side (until barely cooked through), and you will have a flavorful, healthy main course ready to serve in a very short time.

Using a Pressure Cooker

Tougher cuts of meat can be prepared in a pressure cooker with excellent results. It helps in tenderizing the meat and retaining the nutrients by reducing exposure to high temperatures. This method is easy to learn with new-age pressure cookers. You can also make wonderful soups and stews with this method.

Stir Frying

Stir-frying is a quick, easy, and relatively healthy method of cooking. The relative healthy term comes from the fact that it does require the addition of some oil – but can be done with a minimum amount. Be sure to use only healthy oils such as good quality olive oil, grape seed and canola – and use just enough to coat all the ingredients.

Poaching and Steaming

Image by Andrew Brown
Image by Andrew Brown

When it comes to cooking fish, poaching is undeniably one of the best methods. Steaming is a nice alternative. Both are done without the use of cooking oils.

Poaching – place the fish in a pan that has been lightly sprayed with PAM and quickly brown (very lightly) on each side. Add enough liquid to barely cover the fish (water, white wine, or non-fat broth are good choices). Then, cover and bring liquid to a light simmer and cook until the fish is barely cooked through.  DO NOT OVER COOK.

This is a gentle method that preserves the original flavor and also keeps it tender and moist.  The end result is juicy and incredibly delicious.

Different liquids like wine, broth or even vegetable soups can be used; each will impart its own unique flavor to the fish.

Poaching is particularly a good choice for fish with firm or thick flesh, like halibut or salmon (this is definitely my favorite way to cook salmon.) It also works well with tilapia.

Steaming – this method offers a different taste treat. It produces a mild-flavored fish dish that can be served with a strong-flavored sauce such as Ginger-Soy Sauce.

Good cooking and healthy living!

15 Sugar Substitutes

You should find and use sugar substitutes in your daily diet. Not only is refined sugar incredibly bad for your health, it adds unnecessary calories to the body that are converted to fat reserves that are stored in the body as flab.

Sugar has been linked to heart disease in a study published on JAMA Internal Medicine. The study found that the majority of adults in the United States eat far more sugar than is recommended (which everyone probably already knows); and, there is a significant relationship between sugar consumption and increased risk for heart disease mortality.

For more detailed information, read this article:  10 Disturbing Reasons Why Sugar Is Bad for You. You should take this information seriously – sugar is dangerous to your health.

It is critical that you find healthy sugar substitutes to use while preparing your meals – and start using them immediately.

Some of the most recommended sugar substitutes include

Image by Hillary Stein
Image by Hillary Stein

1.  Honey – Is full of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Spread it on whole-wheat bread or add it to oatmeal to satisfy the craving for sweets first thing in the morning. Honey comes in different flavors depending on the type of flowers in the area where it is harvested

2. Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial Sweeteners can be used in baking, sweetening drinks, and in any recipe to replace processed sugar.

Brands Include:
•    Stevia (all natural from a plant)
•    NutraSweet
•    Equal
•    Sweet ‘N’ Low
•    Splenda
•    Sweet One

3.  Applesauce – The old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true, which is a good reason to substitute “no-sugar added” apple sauce for sugar in your baked goods. This allows you to enjoy your treat without all the extra calories.

4.    Dates and Figs – Both add flavor, dimension, and tons of nutrition as a sugar substitute to many recipes. Baked goods made with figs and dates as a substitute for sugar will soon become a staple in your breakfast, lunch or dinner regimen. Try this substitution with cakes, muffins, and breads.

5.    Lemon – Squeezing half a lemon in a pitcher of water will enable you to drink the recommended amount of water. The tangy taste of lemon in oatmeal will help you enjoy this hearty breakfast without the need for unhealthy sugars.

6.    Cinnamon – This is a “must have” sweet spice that can be used in a variety of baked goods. It is also great on oatmeal and sprinkled on top of your morning tea or coffee.  It has a delicious aroma that will activate your taste buds without adding extra calories to your meals.

7.    Raisins – These can be eaten alone to satisfy your sweet tooth; or, added into the batter when baking for a delicious treat. They are full of fiber and antioxidants.

8.    Cranberries:  These are tart and sweet at the same time and loaded with antioxidants. Enjoy delicious multigrain pancakes, scones or muffins loaded with cranberries instead of sugar. Add them to your cereal and skip the sugar for a good start in the morning. Give your taste buds a treat and remember cranberries are not just for the holidays.

9.    100% Pure Maple Syrup – This delicious natural sweetener is filled with antioxidants. Drizzle it on your waffles or pancakes or add into a glass of cold non-fat milk for a sweet treat to quench thirst on a hot afternoon.

10.    Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Cocoa is also full of antioxidants and provides that wonderful chocolate flavor to a glass of milk (hot or cold). It can be combined with vanilla, a dash of cinnamon, and a little Stevia for a delicious treat that does not require refined sugar.  It is a good substitute for processed chocolate in baked goods.

11.    Pureed Banana – Very ripe bananas are very sweet and can be added to cold milk for a tasty milk shake or used in baked goods. A bowl of oatmeal with added ripe bananas makes a hearty breakfast that is full of fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health.

12.    Apricot Puree – Apricots contains vitamin C and iron; they are sweet to the palate making this puree an ideal, delicious spread for your baked items.

13.    Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice – This is full of vitamin C that boosts your immune system. You can have it first thing in the morning to improve your mood and give you a shot of quick energy to face your busy day. It is an excellent substitute for white sugar – especially good in smoothies.

14.    Sucanat – This is obtained from natural cane juice and contains vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients; it can be added into your beverages and baked items.

15.    Molasses – Made from a combination of sugarcane, beetroot and grapes. It has a delicious aroma full of vitamin c, iron and calcium for healthy baked items. Drizzle it on your fruit salad to tantalize your palate.

8 “Must Have” Healthy Cooking Ingredients

Your pantry should be stocked with healthy cooking ingredients that can be used on a regular basis to fix tasty, healthy meals for you and your entire family. All ingredients should be absolutely additive and preservative free, low-fat, low (or no) salt, and sugar-free.

Below are eight ingredients that I always have on hand

1.    Olive Oil

Real “extra virgin” olive oil is 100% natural and very high in antioxidants. (avoid the other forms of olive oil that may be extracted with solvents or diluted with other cheaper oils). It is great for drizzling on salads and vegetables of for French bread dipping when sprinkled with a little pepper. Note: It is not good for baking because of the distinct flavor.

2.    Canola oil

Contains very little saturated fat and is considered the most healthy oil by many authorities, including, the American Heart Association. It is higher in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than any other oil except flaxseed oil. It can be used in salads, for baking, and for pan cooking.

Greek Yogurt
Image by Robyn Lee

3.    Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

This is a wonderful substitute for recipes that call for mayonnaise, or sour cream. They can be used to thicken a variety of sauces and also make a great snack or breakfast.

4.    Onions

Onions
Image by Eunice

It is possible to include onions in a number of recipes like soups, salads or stir-fry. Onions have a very distinctive flavor which many people enjoy in their salads or on hamburgers. They help balance blood sugar for diabetics and pre-diabetics. They also contain anti-inflammatory benefits for those who struggle with allergies. Onions eaten in large amounts provide anti-bacterial properties for the body to fight harmful bacteria that may cause illnesses.

5.    Garlic

This is related to the onion family and is high in selenium. It helps reduce blood cholesterol and as a result reduces your risk for heart problems. A little-known fact is that you should allow garlic to rest after chopping before cooking to obtain the maximum health benefits. The “rest” increases iron absorption which is essential in the production of red blood cells.  An additional plus is that it is believed to help fight obesity.

6.    Tomatoes

Whether fresh or canned, tomatoes are a “must have” ingredient. They can be eaten raw in a salad or made into various sauces for a variety of sumptuous meals.

Tomatoes
Image by Pieter Musterd

Lycopene, which comes from the red pigment, promotes the production of collagen for gorgeous firm skin – and possibly helps prevent sunburn when eaten in abundance. Lycopene also aids in getting a good night’s sleep to heal the mind, body and soul.

Studies show that tomatoes help lower the risk of osteoporosis by strengthening the bones and contain antioxidants necessary in the fight against cancer.

When you serve tomatoes drizzled with real virgin olive oil, you receive a double-dose of nutritional benefits.

Finally, cherry and grape tomatoes, which are very low in calories, make a great snack because they can be eaten in abundance between meals. They are also delicious in salads as a side dish for dinner.

Herbs and Spices
Herbs and Spices – Image by Andrii Gorulko

7.    Herbs

Most fresh herbs contain add rich, subtle flavors that make meals more enjoyable; and, they can be grown on your windowsill for easy accessibility.

•    Rosemary –  Can be included in soups, chicken dishes and in a cup of tea.

Health Benefits: Rosemary – It is a great source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements. Improves digestion, helps in cancer treatment, and is believed to help improve brain health – enhancing memory and concentration, neurological protection, prevents brain aging.

•    Parsley –  Adds color and a mild peppery taste to salads, soups, and stews. Italian parsley is the best choice for salads. Always use fresh parsley, dried parsley has very little flavor.

Health Benefits: Parsley is rich in Vitamin C, B 12, K and A and minerals. This means parsley keeps your immune system strong, tones your bones and heals the nervous system. Regular use of parsley can help control your blood pressure; plus, the folic acid in this herb is a tonic for your heart.

•    Basil – This is the primary ingredient in pesto sauce, which can be used as a condiment or as a sauce for fish or pasta dishes. It is wonderful in soups and sauces and delicious as an infusion with your favorite olive oil – the possibilities are endless.

Health Benefits: Often called the world’s healthiest food and is valuable in reducing risk for cardiovascular disease. It is full of Vitamins A, C & K, magnesium, antioxidants, flavonoids (for protection at a cellular level), and volatile oils.

•    Oregano – Oregano is typically used in Italian and Greek cooking, plus it has been adapted for many contemporary and new recipes. Oregano is a strong herb. Its tiny, but pungent leaves are great for soups, stews, and sauces.

Health Benefits: Antioxidant for immune system support, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, fights cancer and upper respiratory infections.

•    Thyme – A wonderful herb with culinary, medicinal and ornamental uses. It is one of the most important herbs of the European kitchen – especially the French. One of the reasons it is so popular is because it mixes well with other herbs for a nice bouquet.

Health Benefits: Fights acne, high blood pressure, protection from food-borne bacterial infections, colon cancer, breast cancer and yeast infections.

8.    Spices

These make meals more flavorful without adding fat and calories. Spices also have many health benefits.

•    Chili Peppers – Perfect for all kinds of flavorful, spicy dishes – especially if you like your food “hot.”

Health Benefits: antioxidant, anti-irritant properties, cold remedy, weight loss, heart health, digestion, balances LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

•    Turmeric – This spice has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor with a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger.  it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry.

Health Benefits: An antioxidant loaded with nutrients: protein, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin C, E and K, sodium potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.  Helps with cancer prevention, arthritis reliever, diabetes control, heals wounds, Alzheimers prevention, improves digestion, natural liver detoxifier, weight management, reduces cholesterol, boosts immune system.

•    Ginger – This is an extremely versatile ingredient that can be used for multiple purposes –  from savory to sweet. Found in beverages, desserts, and salads.

Health Benefits: It is good for digestive health and has been used for eons to settle an upset stomach. It can be dried and used in a tea to relieve a cold because it is known to open the sinuses for easier breathing. Some people chew on it to relieve pain from a tooth ache. Benefits: Relieves muscle pain from exercise, chemotherapy nausea, ovarian cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, painful menstruation and migraines.

•    Clove – Adds a rich, spicy flavor to dishes – especially good in drinks and desserts.

Health Benefits: Used for upset stomach and as an expectorant, which makes it easier to cough up phlegm. Clove oil is used for diarrhea, hernia, and bad breath. Clove and clove oil are used for intestinal gas, nausea, and vomiting.

Enjoy a Fiber-Rich Diet

Why a Fiber-Rich Diet Is Important

Fiber-rich Foods
Image by annata78

Fiber is a necessary component of your daily diet because it aids in proper digestion and facilitates a healthy lifestyle.

Fiber boosts the body’s immunity and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and helps control blood cholesterol levels. Fiber is also a significant factor in weight loss and acts as a check against obesity.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that men between the ages of 19 and 50 get about 38 grams of fiber daily; men over 50 should get at least 30 grams. The recommendation for women age 19 to 50 is at least 25 grams and for women over 50, at least 21 grams.

Unfortunately, the consumption of fiber is precariously low for most people, often hovering below 15 grams a day.

The primary food source of fiber comes from plants. As a result a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts provide the two main types of fibers – soluble and insoluble – both significant in their own way.

Web MD recommends the following as the top 10 best sources of fiber:
1.    Beans. Think three-bean salad, bean burritos, chili, and soup.
2.    Whole grains. That means whole-wheat bread, pasta, etc.
3.    Brown rice. White rice doesn’t offer much fiber.
4.    Popcorn. It’s a great source of fiber.
5.    Nuts. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts have more fiber than other nuts.
6.    Baked potato with skin. It’s the skin that’s important here.
7.    Berries. All those seeds, plus the skin, give great fiber to any berry.
8.    Bran cereal. Actually, any cereal that has 5 grams of fiber or more in a serving counts as high fiber.
9.    Oatmeal. Whether its microwaved or stove-cooked, oatmeal is good fiber.
10.  Vegetables. The crunchier, the better.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber does not break down during digestion. However, it helps in the absorption and smooth passage of other foods through the stomach and intestines. This fiber contributes to healthy bowel movements and acts as a preventive measure against digestive problems.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber on the other hand decreases cholesterol and helps prevent constipation because it softens the stools.

Fiber Rich Foods

Fiber rich foods helps you feel full longer, which lessens the desire to eat and is often helpful for people working long hours.

Word of Caution:  Do not switch suddenly to a fiber-rich diet because it can cause flatulence (gas), stomach cramps or feeling bloated.

The amount of fiber in your diet must be increased gradually for best results.

Cooking Fiber Rich Meals

Cooking a fiber-rich diet is not difficult. It is simply a matter of adding the proper ingredients.

Examples:

  • Instead of making soups with cream and meats, try a rich lentil soup. Beans are extremely healthy and rich in nutrients and fiber.
  • When selecting breads choose whole grain products instead of white flour products.
  • Brown rice and whole grain pasta are also fiber-rich and much healthier than their white counterparts.
  • Bran, rice and whole grain cereals, such as Cheerios and Grape nuts give your body the right fiber intake without compromising the quality or taste.
  • Choose fiber-rich snacks such as nuts, peas and flaxseeds. They will fill your tummy without adding extra calories.
  • All fruits are good for you and contain fiber; but, for that added fiber punch, eat more berries – they are the most fiber-rich.
  • Vegetables and fruits are irreplaceable when it comes to fiber-rich cooking. Try slow-cooker meals because the fiber incorporates into the dish and adds a delightful flavor to your stews, broths, and gravies.
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard are also fiber-rich and should be included in at least 2 out of 3 of your daily meals.
  • Salads should become a regular item on your dinner menu for all occasions. They are exceptionally good for you and with a light dressing make a delicious way to eat more fiber.

Love Your Body

Your body needs love, care, and attention. Paying attention to what you eat ensures that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to build and sustain a healthy body with a great immune system.

All nutrients are equally important, including fats, carbs, proteins and fiber. The goal should always be to eat a balanced diet with enough fiber.  When you commit to that kind of healthy eating, you will be able to watch miraculous changes in your body and energy levels.  ENJOY!

Eat Breakfast for Good Health and Weight Control

Breakfast – The Most Important Meal of the Day

With 6 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

You have heard all your life that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And yet . . . you may be among the huge number of individuals from all over the world who have never taken that admonition seriously. As a result, they skip breakfast and fill up on coffee instead.

Even if you do not want to accept it, breakfast is the most significant meal of the day. I promise that eating a healthy breakfast is a great first step toward improving your diet and your health, plus you will have much greater success at weight control.

The term breakfast describes exactly what the first meal of the day represents – It breaks your fast. You have essentially fasted for 8 to 12 hours (since your last meal the night before) and your body’s energy source needs to be replenished.

Obviously, you do not eat when you are sleeping and your body is at rest, so eating early in the day is necessary in order to nourish your body and have the energy you need to function well throughout the day – both physically and mentally. Some nutrients, such as proteins, cannot be stored in the body and a new supply must be provided. Breakfast is the match that lights the energy fire.

Tony Goldstone, MD, PhD, a consultant endocrinologist with the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London, states, “When people skip meals, especially breakfast, changes in brain activity in response to food may hinder weight loss and even promote weight gain.” (Web MD, 3 Jul 2014)

People who do not eat breakfast tend to crave high calorie foods to quell their hunger pains and over-indulge with high-calorie mid-morning snacks or stuff themselves at lunch. Both practices contribute to weight gain. Obviously, overeating leads to obesity, which leads to a number of health issues – including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and others.

Healthy foods, such as whole grain toast and bagels, eggs, bran cereals, lean meats, and fruit are good sources of vitamins and minerals that will provide energy throughout the day.

When a healthy breakfast is not eaten first thing in the morning, it is difficult to compensate for the loss during the remainder of the day. It is critical to remember that when the body does not receive the appropriate levels of nutrients, the body cannot function properly.

Studies show that anyone who eats a healthy, nutrient-rich breakfast, tends to eat healthier foods throughout the rest of the day, which ensures that his/her body has a consistent supply of necessary nutrients for good health.

If you do a little planning the night before and allocate 15 to 20 minutes each morning to enjoy breakfast, it can make a huge difference in your health and your daily energy levels and productivity.

The ideal breakfast will incorporate at least three different food groups. For example: A 100% whole-wheat English muffin (whole grains group) topped with pure peanut or almond butter (protein food group) and a fresh orange or freshly-squeezed orange juice (fruit group) is a good combination. Of course, you can add your favorite coffee to the mix with a healthy dose of milk (which adds dairy); just don’t use the coffee as a substitute for the meal.

Even though it is wise to sit down and eat your healthy breakfast, sometimes time simply doesn’t allow for that delightful luxury. In that case, avoid the temptation to skip it altogether and remember that breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated – grab a fresh bagel, a homemade nutrition bar, a hard-boiled egg, or a couple of cheese sticks – plus an apple, banana or orange – all of which can be eaten on the road, if necessary.  That is much better than skipping the meal completely.

The bottom line is . . . eat breakfast to sustain your energy and stay healthy.

6 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Egg White Omelet

Egg white omelet
Image by Frank Gruber

This is an excellent choice for heart health and weight management.

If fat intake and cholesterol are concerns, egg white omelets eliminate a lot of fat. Each large egg yolk has 4.5 grams of fat and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, and contain ~200 milligrams of cholesterol, as opposed to egg whites which do not. Egg whites have only 17 calories and no fat. They also contain most of the egg’s protein, about 4 grams of protein in 1 large egg, plus other essential nutrients.

However, it is important to note that the yolk contains essential fatty acids and according to the American Heart Association healthy adults can safely eat one whole egg per day. Your choice should be guided by your personal health concerns and your dietary goals.

Be creative and add lean turkey slices, ham, turkey sausage or even turkey bacon. You can also add cheese and a wide variety of vegetables, such as, tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms and even fresh garlic. The possibilities are endless in making these delicious and hearty breakfast meals that are full of protein and provide a lot of energy for the day ahead.

To round out the meal add a slice of 100% whole-wheat toast and freshly-squeezed juice, or a piece of fresh fruit.

Oatmeal

Oats are whole grains that offer high-fiber and a protein-filled start to your day. Warm oatmeal makes a hearty, healthy  wonderful breakfast. Add fresh berries or bananas for some sweetness and delight.

Rolled oats can also be eaten cold.  Mix 1/4 cup oats with 6 oz. Greek non-fat (or vanilla) yogurt, a little milk to thin it out a bit, a small handful of pecans (walnuts or pine nuts), a dollop of honey (or sweetener – with non-fat yogurt only) and cinnamon to make a great “muesli” that can be prepared the night before and eaten the next morning. If you are partial to sugar, I recommend Stevia®, which has no calories and is an all-natural sugar substitute.

Buckwheat Pancakes

How about some delicious buckwheat pancakes?

Buckwheat is a whole grain that is much healthier than white flour, is loaded with nutrients, and is much less fattening. Since it is low in carbs its impact on blood sugars is minimal and will not cause the spikes that cause you to crash and burn half way through your day.

One 4” buckwheat pancake has 37 calories, 1.34 grams of fat, 5.1 grams of carbs and 1.42 grams of protein. If you need a great recipe, I recommend this one:   Buckwheat Pancakes from Cookie + Kate – it also includes a wonderful recipe for roasted strawberries.

If you must use syrup, use real maple syrup (and use it sparingly), or opt for fresh berries with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, or a swirl of peanut or almond butter.

Bagel and Fruit

Another healthy breakfast idea is a whole grain bagel with a swirl of cream cheese (or peanut butter), served with fresh fruit.

Protein Smoothie

This is the easiest of all the suggestions – any good blender will work.  A fresh fruit smoothie with protein powder is an quick, delicious, healthy way start to your day. Slice and blend! Add a little ice to make it thick and cold. Use only fresh fruit or fresh juice without added sugar for the best energy boost. Canned or bottled juice is basically liquid sugar.

Whole Grain Cereal

Personally, I am not a big fan of cereals, there are usually too many additives for my taste, but if you are a devotee of the packaged cereal, choose wisely.  In addition to additives, many of them are loaded with sugar, so read labels carefully.  Cereal can add a lot of good stuff to your diet — or it can add a whole lot of nothing.

One of the best is Grape Nuts (Original).  Contents: Whole Grain Wheat, Wheat Flour, Sugar, Malted Barley Flour, High Oleic Vegetable Oil (Canola or Sunflower Oil), Salt.

The only other two I can recommend are:  1) Kashi Go Lean – full of fibre and contains seven whole grains. According to Kashi  it contains no artificial ingredients. 2) Kellogg’s All Bran Original – a high-fibre, iron-fortified cereal that is fairly dense without a lot of taste. I recommend that you eat it in small portions or mix with fruit and low fat yogurt to make it more interesting.

The nutrients in whole grain cereals give you long-lasting energy; and because they are so filling, you are less likely to overeat throughout the day.

Add fresh berries, such as strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries to cereals for added sweetness, vitamins and anti-oxidants – avoid refined sugar.

You can also add a little milk (regular or lactose-free), almond milk, rice milk, etc.

Eat Hearty! Eat Healthy! Live Longer!