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February 20, 2017

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5-MINUTE EXPERT:

Save a minute for breakfast

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Smoothies, muesli, toast, banana pops, waffle sandwiches and tortilla roll-ups are just a few of the ways to enjoy a fast and healthy breakfast.

Tip

Cook frozen hash browns in a waffle iron to cut cooking time in half.

Tip

For faster pancakes, store mixed batter in an empty ketchup bottle.

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, but many of us forgo it or settle for junk food because of time, or lack thereof. But there are many options for quick, easy, wholesome breakfast foods, both for children and adults.

In the same time it takes to zap some Pop-Tarts, you could enjoy a healthful meal that will set you on the right path for your day.

Muesli

Instead of cooking oatmeal, try muesli prepared the night before. Muesli is made from raw oats softened with juice, milk or other liquids. It is low in sugar and high in fiber and whole grains. The addition of nuts provides a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Ingredients:

• 2 cups old-fashioned oats

• 1 1/2 cups apple juice

• 1/2 cup water

• 2 cups plain Greek yogurt

• Your choice of toppings, such as: pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds, raspberries, flax seeds, raisins, coconut, cinnamon, honey

Directions: Combine the oats, apple juice and water in a large bowl. Cover and chill overnight. In the morning, stir in the yogurt and finish with the toppings of your choice.

Smoothies

Prepare a week’s worth of breakfast smoothies in advance by portioning ingredients into sandwich bags and freezing them. Each morning, grab a bag and dump the contents into a blender with a splash of milk or juice and an ice cube or two. In each freezer bag, include fruit, nuts and protein powder. The frozen ingredients will make your smoothie extra thick.

Eggs (in the microwave)

Tip

It’s best to wait to add cheese until the omelet is plated. The heat of the omelet will melt shredded cheese sprinkled on top.

Eggs cook fairly quickly on the stove but must be monitored. Instead, coat a mug or bowl with cooking spray; crack in an egg or two; add cheese, bacon bits or herbs; beat; and pop in the microwave for 45 seconds on high. Stir, and cook for an additional 45 seconds, and you’ve got eggs on the go.

• For fast omelets, use a panini press. Add spinach or cooked meat to the oiled grill, then pour in the beaten eggs. Close the cover and remove the omelet when the eggs are set.

Toast

Elevate your toast, and nutrition, by getting creative with spreads and toppings. Try ricotta and strawberries; feta and tomato; peanut butter, banana and cinnamon; cottage cheese, pineapple and cashews; avocado and smoked almonds; or hummus, sprouts and sunflower seeds.

For kids

• Banana pops: Cut a banana in half, peel it and insert a popsicle stick into each cut end. Coat the banana with Greek yogurt, then roll it in granola. For a treat, add mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes or raisins to the granola.

• Tortilla roll-ups: Top a whole wheat tortilla with cheese or a spread, then add sliced fruit and nuts. Possible combinations include cream cheese, kiwi and walnuts; almond butter, bananas and dark chocolate chips; cheddar cheese and apples; or cream cheese, sliced ham and carrot.

• Waffle sandwich: Prepare a whole grain frozen waffle. Cut it in half and spread with peanut butter and jelly. For an added kick and extra vitamins, add small pieces of fruit.

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