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Teff VS. Quinoa: What Is The Gluten-Free Superfood Teff?

There is a new gluten-free grain trending that just may replace quinoa on everyone’s plates. The superfood is called teff, and while it is an ancient grain, it has recently picked up steam as of late when it comes to popularity in the world of health and nutrition.

Teff and quinoa have quite a few similarities. They are both ancient grains that are gluten-free and both contain many health and nutritional benefits.

Teff  vs. Quinoa

Quinoa has been the superfood of the past few years, rising to fame for being a more healthy alternative to rice or pasta. It’s also gluten-free, making it a great side dish. It is packed with protein, perfect for adding to salads or recipes like stuffed peppers. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it highly nutritional. In fact, one cup alone has 8g of protein, 5g of fiber, 15% DV iron, 30% DV magnesium, 19% DV folate and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

Just like quinoa, teff is a grain that is similar to millet, and also like quinoa comes in many different colors like brown and red varieties.

However, it’s smaller than quinoa, more accurately being about the size of a poppy seed. But don’t let it’s small size fool you. It too is full of nutritional value including being high in fiber and  iron, and being a major source of protein.

One cup cooked has 10g of protein, 7g of fiber, 50g of carbohydrate,123mg of calcium, 31 % DV thiamine and 12 & DV of vitamin B6.

It even has the protein found in blood plasma called albumins, making it the perfect egg alternative for vegans.

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Photo: SarahTz | Flickr

Quinoa has more omega-2 and magnesium, along with less sugar than teff. However, teff is the better choice when it comes to its vitamin K, iron, calcium, fiber and zinc. It has eight essential amino acids.

Teff is also gluten-free and can be ground into flour to make bread. It’s a staple of Ethiopia where 90 percent of the teff in world is grown, and is now also grown in the U.S (in Idaho!).

Why Is It The “New” Superfood?

According to the New York Times, teff has actually rose to superfood status 15 years ago. It’s extremely popular in places like Bolivia and Peru, causing the price of the grain in skyrocket.

This caused Ethiopia to put an export ban on teff in 2006 to prevent food shortages and keep local prices down. The ban was lifted last year. As a result teff is now available, making it the new cool food to check out.

Also part of the reason why its rising to fame in the U.S. now is because it was the perfect recipe of being similar to quinoa during a time when many might start being sick of it, while still being gluten-free and healthy to consume—perfect for the health conscious, health fad enthusiast, those with gluten allergies or celiac disease and vegetarians.

Do you prefer quinoa or teff? What is your favorite teff recipe? Let us know in the comments.

Photo: Jules | Flickr

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What To Eat When Your Baby Has A Cow’s Milk Allergy?

Before my pregnancy I decided to follow a mostly vegetarian diet. Sure I had thought about going vegan, but there was no way I could ever give up cheese. (Hello, pizza??!!)  Going two years without chicken and beef was easy, but quitting my affair with grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream just was something I wasn’t prepared to do.

But now dairy products have broken up with me—all thanks to my baby.

Because of his stomach issues (including seriously bad gas) and crying fits from the discomfort, my pediatrician recommended I cut the diary out as I continue to breastfeed. And since I am supplement feeding, we had to go to the hypoallergenic formula Similar Alimentum, and then later switched to Enfamil Nutramigen (which smells better and sits much better in my son’s tummy), which is specifically the option for cow’s milk allergies.

After lots of trial and error trying to figure out the problem behind the gas, all signs continue to point to diary. While my son is feeling much better these days, it continues to be a struggle to find things to eat to not upset his stomach.

Coming from someone who lived on things like yogurt and bagels with cream cheese, this has been a huge challenge. Not only does breastfeeding causes me to be HANGRY—so my son’s cow milk allergy really makes it hard enough to satisfy my own tummy— but it has also been a struggle to say goodbye to my favorite foods, especially around the holidays, meaning no canolis for me.

Now I am no stranger to avoiding certain foods because of allergies (I suffered from and outgrew many food allergies), but just about everything has milk or butter in it. However, you can still follow a healthy diet that will also make you happy—filled with many of the foods you enjoy as well as forcing you to incorporate many (often more health) alternatives.

But before I break down the best foods to eat if you too are facing this problem, here’s what an allergy to cow’s milk really means.

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via GIPHY

What is Cow’s Milk Allergy?

Interestingly enough, cow’s milk allergy is the most common kind of allergy in infants—which means dairy is one of the most common culprits of  gasy or colic-y babies who are breastfed or formula fed.

This does not mean your baby is lactose intolerant. Cow’s milk allergy and lactose intolerant are two separate problems. Those with a cow’s milk allergy suffer from a sensitivity to the protein found in the cow’s milk. The body treats the proteins found in the milk as a threat and releases chemicals that causes the symptoms of an allergy, which include a bloated stomach, stomach rumbling, diarrhea, constipation, wheezing, eczema, gas, colic and stuffy nose.

The proteins we are talking about are not the same of lactose, so don’t even think about picking up cheese-less cheese (made from soy) like I did. Lactose-free products will not solve the problem. Those who are lactose-intolerant can’t digest the sugar in the milk, which then cause the acids and gas once the lactose reaches the stomach. Those who are lactose-intolerant also do not have the same symptoms as mentioned above.

On the bright side, your child is said to outgrow an allergy to cow’s milk over time. Just keep in mind that it can take 2 to 3 weeks for dairy to be eliminated from your system. This might mean dealing with a fussy baby until then, but once the dairy is gone your baby will be back to being his or her happy self again.

The Dairy-Free Diet For Breastfeeding Moms

So what to eat now that you must cut the dairy?

First thing is first: read all food labels. There are so many things I thought were milk-free, but turned out they contained it and I was SOL. This also includes food with whey, lactose, casein, butter, buttermilk, yogurt and sometimes even soy if your baby is super sensitive. And yes, this even means chocolate.

Pretty much doing dairy-free is like following a vegan diet. So if you were thinking about cutting out chicken and other meats, now is the time to do it.

Even though freshly cooked beef, fish and poultry is fine to consume, many might just want to go meatless while they are at it. Soy and tofu alternatives are also safe to eat (keep in mind your baby could have a soy allergy). I recommend picking up anything from Gardein, especially their Teriyaki Chick’n Strips. You won’t even believe it’s not chicken it tastes so good! These options call for easy-to-make meals, which is essential for new parents.

Reach for fruits and veggies as much as you can (refrain from leafy greens if your baby is gasy). Pick up on almond or coconut milk (and coffee creamer!), like Silk Vanilla Almond Milk, which is my favorite for cereal.

Other breakfast options include eggs (cooked without milk) or oatmeal and fresh fruit.

For lunch, make PB&J sandwiches on whole wheat bread or grilled chicken sandwiches. Turkey burgers are a favorite of mine, as is turkey BLTs, just now without the mayo.

For dinner, make pasta with meatballs and sauce (just hold the parmesan cheese) or salmon with mushrooms and sweet potatoes.

I recommend picking up dairy-free or vegan cookbooks or doing some online searches for recipes. Trust me, there is still plenty you can eat! Check out these recipes here and here for more specific ideas and recipes to make.

What Not To Eat

Absolutely NO milk, butter, buttermilk, cheese, cream, sour cream, cream cheese, whey, yogurt, prepared muffins, pancakes, waffles, smoothies with yogurt, creamed veggies or soups, pizza, breaded meat, fish or poultry, ice cream, whipped cream, cookies or other desserts with milk, pudding, and caramels, just to name a few.

I have to add that I have consumed some products that contain dairy either on accident or just in small quantity because it was unavoidable. Your baby’s reaction depends on how severe their allergy is. Just know that this is only temporary; give your baby’s gut some time to develop what it needs to digest the protein.

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via GIPHY

Are you vegan and breastfeeding or have a baby with an allergy to cow’s milk? What’s your favorite go-to meal? Let me know in the comments!

Photo: Guy Montag

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Healthy Recipes For St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my fellow Irish peeps and those who are Irish for the day. After running a St. Patty’s Day themed 5k on Sunday, or course I was rungry. And how could we not celebrate the holiday with delicious food?! That doesn’t mean that delicious food can’t be healthy.

So here are some healthy recipes to enjoy for St. Patrick’s Day.

Green Eggs and Ham

Photo: Kalyns Kitchen
Photo: Kalyns Kitchen

Best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day is with some green food, and the first think this bookworm thinks of when thinking about green food is green eggs and ham from the Dr. Seuss classic. This Green Eggs and Ham recipe is a scrambled eggs with ham and kale dish. To make, wash and chop kale. Beat eggs and also chop ham (or any meat or non-meat substitute)  into small cubes and sauté , adding in the kale. Add the eggs and some salt and pepper and stir as it’s cooking.

Brown Soda Bread

Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Pam Morris
Photo: Jonny Valiant; Styling: Pam Morris

Irish Soda Bread is a St. Patrick’s Day staple. But this Brown Soda Bread recipe takes a healthier spin on the classic by using whole-wheat flour and oats. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and line a pan with parchment paper and cooking spray. Combine 1 tbsp. of wheat germ, 1 tsp. of baking soda, 1 tsp. of baking powder and 1/2 tsp. of salt in a bowl and then add in 2 cups of low-fat buttermilk and 1 large egg. Stir and pour into pan, baking it for about an hour. Slice and serve!

Leprechaun Lunch

Meet The Dubiens
Meet The Dubiens

This is probably the most adorable lunch I’ve ever seen. Leprechaun Lunch is perfect for kids’ school lunch, party finger food for adults or even just for you because you are awesome. It consists of a chicken sandwich cut into a circle. Use grilled chicken and whole wheat bread to be healthy. I will make mine with a veggie patty. Put baby carrots as the beard and hair and cut a slice of green apple for the hat. to go on the side, this blogger used vanilla yogurt with a rainbow candy (or you could use skittles or M&Ms) and a small cup of bananas for golden coins.

Colcannon

Photo: Clean Green Simple
Photo: Clean Green Simple

A healthier take on the traditional Irish side, this Colcannon recipe doesn’t call for butter, it’s vegan, low aft and sugar free, and there’s kale! Boil a pot of water and add in 6 large  peeled and cut potatoes, cooking until soft. Saute onions until brown and add in kale and garlic. Blend or put kale and onions in a food processor. Then blend in to the potatoes with 1 tsp of oil and 1 cup of soy, almond or whatever milk you desire with a hand mixer. Add in kale mixture, stir and serve!

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Glue and Glitter
Glue and Glitter

Shepherd’s pie! How could we not include it, especially since yesterday was pie day. The recipe for for vegans and is healthier take on the classic comfort food since there is veggies like mushrooms.To make Vegan Shepherd’s Pie, cook potatoes and mash them, adding 1/3 cup of soy, almond or regular milk, 2 tblsp. margarine and pepper. Saute 1 block of cubed tofu with 8 oz. of mushrooms in olive oil, and then add in 1 cup of veggie broth and 1 cup peas and carrots. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a baking dish, add the potatoes to half the tofu mushroom mix and then add the other half on top on potatoes. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast on top and bake for 20 minutes and serve!

Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats

Okay, so it’s not the heartiest, but I am a girl all about balance. This foodie believes in treats in moderation. So when I came across this fun and festive recipe how could I resist?  At least there is no marshmallows and butter, while still staying gooey and chewy. The recipe calls for corn syrup, but instead you can substitute it by heating 1 cup of cane sugar and 1/4 cup of water on a low flame. Cool it and then use directly in recipe. You can also use brown sugar cup for cup as another alternative.

Photo: Hoosier Homemade
Photo: Hoosier Homemade

To make Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats, combine one cup of corn syrup or alternative and 1 cup of sugar into a saucepan on low fat until it boils. Then add in 1 cup of peanut butter (yes, this recipe features peanut butter!), and stir. Then add in 6 cups of Fruity Pebbles. Add the mix into a pan and press down so that the mix is even. Give it some time to set, and then cut and serve!

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Ice Cream Lovers Beware! Contamination Causes 3 People To Die

We are all about healthy eats, but sometimes a hot fudge sundae or banana split with the works is to die for. But sadly, this literally happened after three people ate contaminated ice cream.

Five people in Kansas were infected, with three of these cases fatal, when people ate ice cream from the brand Blue Bell Creameries.

The patients who were treated at Via Christi St. Francis hospital between December 2013 and January 205 fell ill with listeriosis, a bacteria infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes that damages the nervous system and causes a blood infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the patients ate milkshakes that had a serving of the “Scoops” form Blue Bell, which the FDA found had traces of listeria in several samples.

Blue Bell recalled the products which include half gallon, quarts, pints, cups and three gallon ice cream of the frozen ice cream. Listeria was found in their Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divine Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars.

It was the first time the Texas-based company recalled products in 108 years, citing a machines as the cause of contamination.

“Anytime is one too much,” Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse says. “This is the only thing we do: We make and sell ice cream. It’s who we are and we’ve got to do it right.”

Make sure to avoid consuming the ice cream for the moment or opt for healthier options like yogurt with fresh fruit.

The CDC says listeria is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning, and affects 1,600 Americans each year.

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Health Recipe: Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

It’s the weekend and that means I have the extra time to prepare some healthy food. I have grown to love to cook, even though I am not the most advanced chef. Still, preparing healthy recipes is easy to do.

For this Saturday’s eats I decided to prepare vegetarian-friendly stuffed peppers. I used organic yellow, orange and red peppers, one package of garden vegetable quinoa, organic tomato sauce and vegan-friendly cheese.
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To make the stuffed peppers, wash them under cool water and slice off the tops. Put the tops to the side be causes you will need them later.

FullSizeRender_1Scoop out the middle part (the seeds and stem) so that the peppers are hollowed out.
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and in the meantime, boil water and cook your quinoa according to the package. As your quinoa is cooking, put the peppers on a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes.

When the quinoa is finished mix in some tomato sauce and sprinkle in cheese. Then stuff your peppers and put on the tops so you have a full pepper again.

Bake for another 20 minutes and then enjoy!
FullSizeRender_3Along with my stuffed peppers, I popped falafel balls in the oven. These were pre made (I know!), but ironically they were a pepper blend as well. They were so tasty and the perfect treat to pair with a pepper.
FullSizeRender_4I love that I have plenty of leftovers to take to work for lunch, so at least I have some meal prep already done before Monday!

Happy eats!

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Best Ways To Cook Healthy

There are many different levels of cooking. There are the cooks that know to make a mean instant mac-and-cheese and whip up a microwave dinner in minutes, and then those who can create culinary masterpieces buffet style with all the trimmings.

Even if you aren’t a professional in the kitchen, cooking healthier is so easy to master. Home cooked meals are so much healthier than those microwavable dishes that are loaded with preservatives. Better yet, a healthy meal at home beats out any fast food order.

When cooking at home, you know exactly what you are putting into your body because you see all the ingredients that is entered. Cooking healthy means watching out for added calories, but your don’t have to give up delicious flavorings.

Steam Your Veggies

Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook. It just means cooking your food covered, allowing steam to get in. You can cook over a boiling water or even get a electric steamer. Steaming veggies is a great way to cook a healthy side because the nutrients ail be preserved. Instead of using salt that will just wash off, use lemon.

Broiling Meats and Fish

Broiling is one of the easiest ways to cook chicken or fish. It’s essentially the same as grilling, only instead of the heat coming from the bottom, when broiling, heat comes on top. You don’t need to add oil, but when cooking chicken or beef, make sure to marinate first. Broiling is done by placing your food in the bottom drawer of the oven.

Baked Not Fried

Instead of frying foods like chicken cutlets, opt to bake them instead. You can baked meats, fish, and even veggies. Just place the food in a pan and place into the oven.

Stir-frying

Yeah, we said not frying, but site-frying is different and is actually a healthy way to cook. It’s a traditional Asian method to cooking which includes cooking small pieces of food in a nonstick frying pan. You will only need a small amount of oil, or you can opt to saute your meal and use low-sodium broth in place of the oil.

Always use herbs and spices to include flavors instead of sauces and dressings that can be high in calories.

[PHOTO CREDIT:

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Pillsbury Pizza Bites Recipe

Now that my half marathon training is really progressing, I stay rungry. The monster inside my belly, who wants to eat everything insight, is usually not awaken until the day after a long run. But today he came out to play in full force.

So I started the morning by baking gluten-free muffins from scratch. I picked up the gluten-free mix  from Stop & Shop, and it was really easy to make. All you need is six tablespoons of butter, one cup of milk (i always make with almond milk instead) and 3 large eggs (of course I use organic, cage-free). You can add any fruit or nuts, and I used organic blueberries. They were so tasty, I am happy I have lots leftover to take for breakfast.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.41.30 PMSo after indulging in those, and a caramel latte, it was soon time for my long-distance run. I had no motivation today and wish it wasn’t a long run day. I also wished I ran outside instead, but got on the treadmill even though I didn’t want to, so at least that is better than sitting on the couch (which I am enjoying doing now!)

It was really hard to complete 9 mile, and wasn’t feeling like myself. There were moments I really got into the groove of things, but I was just so tired. No runner should have to be subjected to the torture of running 9 miles on a treadmill in a basement with nothing to look at. Yeah, it was really boring, but I pushed through and got it done. I did have to walk for awhile so my time sucked, but I am so happy that I planned on doing it and completed it.

So of course right after, I became so rungry. I prepared a salad to take to work tomorrow, but my boyfriend was hungry too, so I decided to make a delicious dinner for the both of us since he wasn’t in the mood for a salad.

I saw this cool recipe for pizza muffins and just had to make them. And it is so easy to make.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 8.41.45 PMAll you need is tomato sauce, cheese, a package of Pillsbury rolls and a muffin tray.

Preheat your oven to 350 degree F. Place the crescents in the muffin slots and then pour on some tomato sauce. I use organic, this time from Nature’s Promise. Then sprinkle on some cheese. I opted for lactose free shredded mozzarella from Go Veggie! . My boyfriend wasn’t a fan of the fake cheese, but still ate a few. It’s probably only because I asked, but I love it.

shreds-lf-mozzarellaBake those babies for 13 to 17 minutes. Even though I know these rolls aren’t the healthiest thing to eat, if you love the way the dough breaks apart and love pizza, these are bite-sized pieces of heaven.

I defiantly deserved it after that run!

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What Is Souping? Souping Becomes New Juicing Trend

Health trends are always evolving. What’s hot one year fades the next year. In the recent years, we have seen the rise of the gluten-free diet, and the popularity of juicing. Now the hottest (literally) diet and nutrition rising trend appears to be souping.

What is souping? Souping is the latest detox trend. Similar to juicing, it is pretty much just drinking the liquid for your desired number of days to jumpstart your digestion, strength your immune system and get rid of all the junk.

I must admit that I am a juice lover. My Nutribullet is my favorite kitchen gadget, commonly making green juices for breakfast and occasionally going on a three day juicing cleanse when I want to clear my system and get back to healthy.

And for me it really works. I feel lighter and healthier, sleep better at night, have more energy and overall feel good after juicing. And lately I have been on a super soup kick—because well, yea it’s cold outside and I was getting over a cold.

Souping is like the next level of juicing. What makes it different is it its perfect health jumpstart for the winter. Soups make you feel full and warm when it’s cold outside, triggering your digestive system compared to cold drinks.

Some health experts also say that souping could be healthier than juicing since soups contain more fiber, essential for cleaning the walls of your intestines and stabilizing blood sugar without lots of calories. Plus when you juice, some of the nutrients from your fruits and veggies get left behind, whereas in soup, you consume these ingredients whole.

A souping cleanse is just like a juice cleanse where the only thing you eat is vegetable-rich soups and water. The company who is credited with starting the trend is Los Angeles-based Soupure claims that a souping diet will make your skin glow and increase energy and vitality.

It’s recommended to soup for one, three, or five days; however, you can also do a mini cleanse where you substitute one meal for three days with soup. Soups can be served hot or cold, but the cleanses tend to be expensive. One day costs $79, but is only available for those local. Shipping elsewhere could cost up to $60.

You could, of course, just make your own healthy soups for a homemade cleanse while you wait for more souping shops to open.

Since it’s National Sweet Potato month, you could make the delicious sweet potato soup recipe I wrote about, or opt for detoxifying soup recipes like Vegan Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Kale from Yoga Journal.

Try the Cucumber Mint Soup, which includes mint, chives, garlic, lemon and nonfat yogurt. Combine 1 ½ pound of peeled and chopped cucumbers, 1 cup chopped mint, ¼ cup of chives and 2 tsp. of chopped garlic in a blender until smooth. Pour the cucumber mix in a bowl and whisk in 1 ¼ nonfat yogurt, ½ tsp. lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper and chill in fridge for 2-4 hours.

There is also this Detox Green Soup with Broccoli, Spinach and Ginger from Gluten Free Goddess, or the Carrot, Cumin and Ginger Detox Soup from Not Quite Nigella.

Recently I had Butternut squash and Apple soup from Au Bon Pain the other day for lunch, which was to die for, but typically I am a tomato soup kinda gal. But looks like I might hop on this new souping trend bandwagon and try this cleanse before the winter ends.

Are you a soup lover? Have you tried the souping cleanse?

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Simple Ways to Make Breakfast Better




// By Lauren Fischer for Discover and Play

You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why is it an essential way to kick-start your day? For starters, breakfast helps you refuel, providing energy for your brain to focus and body to run efficiently, says Lisa Andrews, RD and owner of Sound Bites Nutrition. Even more, a healthy breakfast can boost metabolism and help manage your weight better. Before you reach for a box of Pop-Tarts, check out this list of breakfast dos and don’ts.

Do fill up with fiber. Start your day with foods that will satisfy you for longer and prevent daylong grazing. High-fiber foods include oatmeal, whole-wheat toast, a bran muffin and fresh fruit.

Do avoid refined carbs and high-processed meats. Pastries, donuts, granola bars, bagels and breads made with white flour all pack on pounds with no nutritional benefits. Other breakfast food criminals include fatty “meats,” such as bacon, sausage and goetta, which introduce unnecessary fat, sodium, calories and chemicals into your diet.

Do include beneficial beverages. Water is a must for breakfast, since you likely haven’t hydrated during your sleep. Plus, it will give your metabolism a little boost. If you prefer some flavor, squeeze in a fresh lemon, which also brings a healthy dose of vitamin C. Coffee or caffeinated tea are also good to sip on, says Andrews. They boost metabolism and increase alertness. To keep the health benefits, avoid creamer and choose skim or 1 percent milk for added calcium and protein.

Don’t drink your breakfast. Smoothies can be loaded up with healthy fruits and vegetables, but don’t rely too heavily on them to start your day. “Solid food provides more satiety between meals,” says Andrews. The act of chewing, she says, provides a feeling of fullness, preventing you from over-indulging.

Don’t forget portion control. Incorrect portion sizes can turn a healthy meal into a high-calorie diet buster. According to Andrews, appropriate portion sizes for breakfast meals are:

  • Oatmeal: 1/2 cup, cooked
  • Eggs: 2 eggs (the American Heart Association no longer places limits on egg consumption)
  • Bread: 1 slice (which equals 1 ounce)
  • Yogurt: 6 to 8 ounces
  • Fruit: 1 cup (your daily intake should be 2 cups)

Don’t forget the powerful duo. Combining protein with complex carbohydrates will provide the ultimate energy boost, while keeping you full for longer. Some easy meal options from Andrews are:

  • Oatmeal with chopped nuts and cinnamon (which has been found to aid in blood sugar regulation)
  • Natural peanut butter on a whole-wheat English muffin or whole-grain toast
  • Scrambled eggs and low-fat cheese with spinach or salsa in a whole-wheat pita
  • Fresh fruit and Greek or plain yogurt and eggs

Lauren Fischer is a former editor at Woman’s World magazine, and has contributed to SavvyMiss.com, IdeasThatSpark.com and LasFabulosas.com.