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Wake Up, Fuel Up: 5 Ways to Build a Better Breakfast

Written on September 24, 2013 at 11:07 am , by

Forget the breakfast bars and baked goods! They’ll just spike your blood sugar, leaving you ravenous well before noon. (Photo by Laura Doss)

Written by Alena Hall, editorial intern

While breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, it’s the first thing to go when a busy morning schedule gets the best of us. Unfortunately, those spared minutes do not provide the metabolism-revving, energy-boosting and cholesterol-lowering benefits of a well-balanced breakfast. We touched base with Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, author of Read It Before You Eat It and New York-based nutrition expert to get her top tips on fueling up before running out the door each morning. The most important meal of the day just got easier, tastier and a whole lot faster!

1. Think outside of the box of cereal. An ideal breakfast is made up of three components: whole-grain carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Mix and match some of your fave whole-grain, high-fiber cereals to customize your flavor—just read the label to keep sugar levels in check. If you have a thing for cereals that are a little too high, find another that is low in sugar (1-3 grams) and combine the two. Remember, watch portion sizes! Aim for 1 cup total, about the size of a tennis ball. For more dense cereals, like granola, shoot for a little less, as the cereal is more dense.

2. Don’t make having breakfast negotiable. As much as we may hate to admit it, breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. Skipping breakfast altogether leaves you feeling hungry and irritable, and possibly leads to overindulgence at lunchtime. Even nibbling on a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit is better than nothing—it sends the message to the brain that you have fuel to last you until the next meal. “If you have time to put on makeup, there’s time for breakfast,” says Bonnie. Have containers of yogurt, snack bags of chopped almonds and dry cereal and a bag of plastic spoons available for some grab-and-go goodness.

3. When making your lunch, toast a frozen whole grain waffle and add a smear of almond butter or cottage cheese topped with cinnamon for munching on-the-go. For those of us who squeeze in a workout before work, finding the right time to eat breakfast can be tricky. “Eat something on the light side about a half hour before working out,” she suggests. Try Greek yogurt or a smoothie for a quick, easy-to-digest meal that will keep you energized through your workout and the rest of your morning.

4. When you are able to (even if it’s only one day a week), take the time to make yourself a gourmet breakfast—perhaps an omelet stuffed with a medley of sautéed veggies and a whole grain muffin. You’re worth it and your body will thank you for the attention!

5. Don’t break the fast while multitasking! Yes, it’s better to have breakfast while posting something on Twitter than to ditch this meal altogether, but when possible, pay attention to the texture, temperature and taste of your meal. If you pay attention to what you’re eating you’ll not only appreciate those three T’s even more, but you’ll also feel more satisfied and be less likely to search for something else.

More from FITNESS:

10 Foods Fit Women Need: Your National Nutrition Month Shopping List!

Written on March 19, 2013 at 9:29 am , by

How many of these items are regularly on your grocery list? (Photo by Peter Ardito)

We’re right in the middle of National Nutrition Month—the perfect time for a pantry raid! We asked Allison Enke, R.D., a dietitian with Whole Foods Market, to help us examine our kitchen shelves and shopping lists to see if we’re picking the proper fueling foods. Keep reading for her picks for the 10 essential items active women need in their pantries, refrigerators and freezers. “These foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients,” says Enke.

1. Oatmeal. Soluble fiber from oatmeal, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Click here for 11 fun ways our readers jazz up a usual bowl of oats!

2. Berries. A handful of frozen berries adds antioxidants and fiber to your morning smoothie or oatmeal. Blueberries are only 80 calories per cup, Enke notes, and they pack a powerful nutrition punch by supporting brain, eye and heart health.

3. Fish.  Fatty fish are one of the best foods sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids and also provide vitamin D, a critical nutrient that many women lack (it works with calcium to preserve bone strength). Enke keeps cans of ready-to-serve 365 Everyday Value Wild Alaskan Red Sockeye Salmon in her pantry to add to salads or to make salmon patties for a quick, healthy dinner.

4. Flaxseed.  Not a seafood fan? Flaxseeds are also rich in omega-3 fats, and they’re also filled with fiber. Mix a spoonful into oatmeal, Greek yogurt or smoothies to add flavor, texture and nutrition.

5. Quinoa. It contains all 9 essential amino acids as well as bone-boosting minerals like copper, phosphorous, iron and magnesium. Try it in one of these FITNESS fan-favorite meals.

To see the other five foods you should always have on-hand for quick, nutritious meals and snacks, click below.

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Fit Blogger We Love: Cait Plus Ate

Written on December 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm , by

Cait is a pro at eating healthy on-the-go. We’re in awe of her daily salad creations!

We’ve all probably had our fill of “Kate Plus 8.” But Cait Plus Ate? That’s a completely different story. Just like that other Kate, Cait is a master at juggling: she rocks her job, her school work (Cait’s working toward her MBA!) and her active lifestyle—and with way less conflict than on a reality show.

Read on for Cait’s can’t-miss gym class,  her super-powered snack pick and more.

My favorite way to work out: A well-choreographed, intense step class! My gym has an amazing one during which a routine is taught (broken down into combos) and dispersed throughout are tough cardio peak intervals. The step routine includes kicks, jumping knees and more heart-rate elevating workouts. It’s fun to try to hit every move and the class flies by because I’m so busy concentrating on learning the combos! Top 40 hits on the playlist are the cherry on top.

On my fit life (fitness bucket) list: Aerial yoga! I have read so many cool reviews of these classes on blogs and would love to try one out for myself, but none are offered in my area. I enjoy yoga and any workout that switches it up and keeps things interesting is one for me—how much more unique can you get than aerial yoga?!

My fave fit snack: Fruit with plain Chobani. I prefer to flavor plain Chobani with chopped fruit than purchase the flavored Cho varieties. Bananas are my favorite fruit to combine with the Greek yogurt but I also love doing blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Sometimes I also throw PB into the mix.

My fitness mantra: Do what I enjoy, not what I “should.” I have forced myself to attend plenty of group fitness classes that absolutely crawled by simply because I thought that they were the classes I should be doing. I’ve realized that I reap so many more mental benefits of exercise when I go with the form of fitness I’m feelin’ on a given day. If I want to do Zumba, I’ll enjoy my workout and it’ll go by faster if I do that and don’t make myself run on a treadmill just because running seems like it might burn more calories. Movement should be fun and the enjoyment-not-should mantra is something I am actively working on learning each day, but I have made great progress!

My gym bag must-have: My Big Banjees running wallet by Sprigs! I actually use it to hold my iPhone, case and all, when I lift weights because I use my phone as my iPod too. It’s the only running wallet I’ve ever found that will a) stay fixed on my arm and b) hold my iPhone with the case still on. I used to try to stick the iPhone in my waistband or sports bra, but you can imagine how cumbersome that was. My strength training sessions are easier now!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Top Chef All-Star Winner Richard Blais Trims Down Thanksgiving Dinner

Written on November 12, 2012 at 9:40 am , by

If only we could get Blais to cook dinner for us every night. Sigh. (Photo courtesy of Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt)

While Thanksgiving is one of the most delicious meals of the year, it’s also usually the heaviest. Instead of chowing down on foods filled with oil, butter and mayonnaise, we searched for lighter fare that was still super tasty. What (or who) did we find? Bravo’s Top Chef All-Star winner, Richard Blais. We met the cooking extraordinaire at a recent Dannon Oikos Greek yogurt event, where he wined and dined us with dishes that left us feeling full and satisfied, without the “oh my gosh I need to go run 10 miles” feeling.

So what’s Blais’ big secret? Aside from the fact that he’s a top-notch chef who blows our aprons out of the water, he subbed the aforementioned ingredients with Dannon’s Oikos Greek nonfat yogurt. We didn’t miss any of the heavy-calorie items, and got to keep all the flavor. Win-win for us!

It wouldn’t be right to brag about the decadent meal this marathoner whipped up without nabbing some recipes, though. Check out the appetizer and dessert dishes below, then use them to start and end a perfect Thanksgiving meal in your own home.

Malted Panna Cotta

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 5 fl. oz. heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup Dannon Oikos vanilla Greek nonfat yogurt (or use a 5.3 oz. single-serve container)
  • 1 oz. sugar
  • 1 oz. malted barley
  • 1 gelatin sheet
  • Clementine slices for garnish
  • Candied ginger for garnish
  • Chocolate dusted almonds for garnish

Directions

  • Heat the heavy cream and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Remove liquid from the heat and add malted barley. Let steep for 1 hour.
  • Strain mixture into a clean pot and stir in Greek yogurt.
  • Bloom gelatin in an ice bath. Meanwhile, bring strained mixture to a simmer.
  • Remove strained mixture from heat and add gelatin.
  • Pour liquid into four small containers. Let chill for 2 hour or until panna cottas have set.
  • Garnish each with a few slices of clementine, a scattering of candied ginger and chocolate dusted almonds.

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Iron Chef Bobby Flay’s Favorite Secret Ingredient

Written on October 1, 2012 at 11:07 am , by

You’ll find Greek yogurt on the menu at many of Flay’s restaurants. (Photo courtesy of Fage)

On Iron Chef, Bobby Flay has slayed the competition using ingredients as varied as buffalo, bananas and blue foot chicken. Clearly, this is one man who knows his way around the kitchen (or grill!). So what’s this Food Network star’s dream secret ingredient? “Greek yogurt. It’s good for so much more than just eating straight topped with honey and berries,” Flay says.

In fact, the tangy dairy item has made an appearance in several of his Iron Chef battles, including a grilled lamb dish with pomegranate and mint yogurt sauce that “takes 60 seconds to make.” [Editor's note: Can we be on the tasting panel?]

Flay loves the versatility of Greek yogurt, using it as a meat marinade, substitute for heavy cream or creme fraiche as a soup-topper, and in dessert, of course. “Frozen yogurt is nothing new, so why not frozen Greek yogurt?” he suggests. “Think of it as a vanilla base and add berries, cinnamon or ricotta cheese.”

Flay, who dreams of taking on Gordon Ramsay in Kitchen Stadium one day, has teamed up with Fage Total to host a recipe contest. They want to see your most innovative, flavorful Greek yogurt ideas. The winner will see her recipe featured on the menu at a special Plain Kitchen event (not to mention a trip to New York City to meet the chef himself)!

To get things rolling, Flay shared one of his favorite snack recipes that includes Greek yogurt: hummus with pita chips. Click below for the recipe, and find more at fageusa.com/plainkitchen.

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