Starting the School Day Off Right | Print |  E-mail
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Tuesday, 30 August 2011 14:55



Breakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day, and that’s especially true for youngsters.


Skipping the first meal of the day increases the chances of becoming obese and eventually developing such diseases as diabetes and heart disease.


In 2005, nearly a third of California’s school kids were considered overweight and despite heavy media coverage, the message doesn’t seem to be getting through. School children are still packing on the pounds.


The message doesn’t seem to be getting through. School children are still packing on the pounds.


Of course, some breakfast foods can be the villains themselves. So just what constitutes a good breakfast?


In baked goods, 100% whole grains are superior to white flour products. Fruits are far better than fruit juices, especially the so-called “juice cocktails” which often contain more sugar than a bottle of soda pop.


Using only lean meats, “balanced” vegetable-oil margarines, low-fat mayonnaise, yogurt and milk, and substituting egg whites or egg substitutes in recipes calling for whole eggs, are important ways to greatly reduce the intake of fats and cholesterol, without sacrificing any flavor.


Here are some recipes to consider.



2egg whites

1tablespoon dark brown


1tablespoon canola oil

1cup nonfat milk

2/3 cup unprocessed wheat


2/3 cup dry quick-cooking oats

1-1/2 teaspoons baking


1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat a nonstick waffle iron. Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.

Combine sugar and oil and stir until completely smooth. Add milk and mix well. In another bowl, combine bran, oats, baking powder and salt and mix well. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just thoroughly moistened. Do not over mix. Fold in beaten egg whites.

Spray preheated waffle iron with nonstick vegetable coating. Use 1/2 cup batter for each waffle. Cook until steam stops escaping from waffle iron. (It is essential to use a nonstick waffle iron for this recipe because of the low fat content of the waffle.)

Per waffle: 149 cal, 5 g fat, 1 mg chol, 458 mg sodium


3cups water

1-1/3 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup chopped dates

2tablespoons ground


2tablespoons honey

1large banana, thinly sliced

1-2 cups skim milk

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, oats, dates, almonds and honey to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until thick. Serve with the bananas and milk. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 229 cal., 3.3g. fat (12% of cal.), 2.9g. dietary fiber, 1 mg. chol., 39mg. sodium.



3/4 cup fat-free egg substitute

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

8slices Italian bread

2cups raspberries or other


1/4 cup maple syrup

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the egg substitute, milk, cinnamon and vanilla. One by one, dip the bread slices in the batter, turning to coat both sides.

Coat a large no-stick frying pan or griddle with no-stick spray. Place over medium heat until warm. Working in batches, add the slices in a single layer and brown on both sides.

(Keep finished pieces warm in an oven set at 150°F until all the pieces are done.)

Serve topped with the berries and drizzled with the syrup. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 282 cal., 0.4g. fat (1% of cal.), 4.4g. dietary fiber, 1 mg. chol., 383mg. sodium.


1cup nonfat ricotta cheese

3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt

1small cantaloupe

2peaches, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup blueberries

2tablespoons toasted sun-

flower seeds

Mint sprigs

In a food processor or blender, process the ricotta until very smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Mix in the yogurt.

Halve the cantaloupe and remove the seeds. Cut into wedges, remove the rind and cut the flesh into bite-size chunks. Place in a medium bowl. Mix in the peaches and strawberries. Add the ricotta mixture and gently fold together.

Divide among 4 cereal bowls. Sprinkle with the blueberries and sunflower seeds. Garnish with the mint sprigs. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 190 cal., 2.8 g. fat (13% of cal.), 3 g. dietary fiber, 1 mg. chol., 110 mg. sodium


This delicious vegan recipe uses quinoa, a high-protein grain available in most health food stores and many supermarkets.

1cup quinoa

2cups water

2cups apple juice

1cup raisins

2tablespoons lemon juice

1teaspoon cinnamon, or to


Salt to taste

2teaspoons vanilla

Place quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly. Allow to drain, then place quinoa in a medium saucepan with water.

Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pan with lid, lower heat, and allow to simmer until all water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Mix in apple juice, raisins, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Cover pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes longer. Stir in vanilla extract. Serve warm. Yields 6 servings.

Per Serving: Cal: 202, Total Fat: 1.9g, Cholesterol: 0mg



For each serving...

1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat plain


1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or

frozen (thawed)

1/4 cup diced apple

1/4 cup diced banana

1/4 cup unsweetened muesli

(see note below)

1-2 teaspoons honey or pure

maple syrup

Note: Muesli is a combination of uncooked rolled oats, fruit, nuts and seeds popular in Switzerland. Look for it with other cereals or in the bulk section in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.

Stir together yogurt, blueberries, apple, banana, muesli and honey (or maple syrup) to taste in a bowl.

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Per serving: 291 cal; 4g fat; 2mg cholesterol; 60g carb; 9g added sugars; 12g protein; 7g fiber; 96mg sodium; 536mg potassium




Nonfat plain yogurt takes the place of sour cream to add moisture to this lightened-up pineapple coffee cake. You can mix the batter and have this wholesome breakfast in the oven in under 15 minutes.

1cup whole-wheat pastry


1cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons

sugar, divided

1tablespoon baking powder

1teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1large egg

1cup nonfat plain yogurt

1/4 cup canola oil

1teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups diced fresh or

canned pineapple chunks,

blotted dry and coarsely


1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisk egg, yogurt, oil and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just blended. (Do not overmix.) Fold in pineapple. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Combine pecans and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the batter.

Bake the cake until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve warm. Yields 9 servings.

Note: This coffee cake can be made with a variety of fruit. Try rhubarb, blueberries or peaches. If using frozen fruit, increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes.

Per serving: 253cal; 9g fat; 24mg cholesterol; 38g carb; 5g protein; 2g fiber; 476mg sodium; 94mg potassium.



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