Fast & Healthy Breakfasts for Busy Mornings

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For most of us, preparing a balanced breakfast from scratch is far from the first thing on our minds when we wake up in the morning. Many of us end up up grabbing the first thing in sight on our way to the office or skipping it altogether.

While skipping breakfast occasionally won’t do too much harm for healthy, active adults, a nourishing meal at the start of your day can have a variety of awesome benefits, including sustained energy, focus and a feeling of well-being throughout the day. ?Eating a nutrient-rich and well-balanced breakfast is also a great way to prime yourself to make healthy choices throughout the day, and can help prevent overeating later.

To make squeezing in that healthy weekday breakfast easier, we’ve rounded up fast, balanced and hassle-free breakfasts you can make in under ten minutes.

1. Greek Yogurt with Fresh Fruit

Protein-packed Greek yogurt with fresh fruit is a fast and easy breakfast staple for busy people. Protein takes?longer to digest and helps curb appetites for hours, and one?cup of Greek yogurt can contain between 20–25 grams!?To pull together this dish, cube up ?fresh fruitthe night before, then top with ? cup low-fat Greek yogurt. ?Top with nuts, chia seeds, flaxmeal or hemp seeds for a boost of fiber and healthy fats. Breakfast no-brainer!

Recipe Inspiration:

2. Eggs and Avocado Toast

Eggs are a quick, nutritious option for any omnivore. They’re a natural source of high-quality, complete protein, with 6-7 grams of protein per egg. They also provide 13 essential vitamins and minerals, such as selenium and B vitamins.

Scramble or poach an egg and enjoy on top of a slice of fiber-rich multigrain toast, topping it with a few slices of avocado for healthy fats and baby greens for flavor and vitamins C & A. ?If you are on a wheat-free diet, you can choose a gluten-free bread option or a corn tortilla instead.

Recipe Inspiration:

Related: How Many Eggs Should You Really Eat?

3. Overnight Oats

For a filling morning boost of vitamins and fibers, overnight oatmeal is a balanced choice that can be flavored with just about any fresh or frozen fruit and milk. Oats, a soluble fiber-rich whole grain, will keep you satisfied and even-keeled throughout the morning.

Prep your 5-minute overnight oats the night before and voila: just grab them from your fridge on your way out the door the next morning. ?For an extra healthy fats and protein, top them with 1–2 teaspoons of nuts, nut butter or flaxseed.

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4. Toast + Nut Butter + Fresh Fruit

Natural nut butters such as peanut, almond or cashew are fantastic sources of healthy fats and plant-based protein, which, when paired with a whole grain toast, provide you with a complete protein to fuel your morning. ?Instead of sugary jam, try topping your toast with fresh fruit slices, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cinnamon and cocoa powder. PB&J is definitely not just for kids!

Recipe Inspiration:

Related: The Health Benefits of Nuts

5. Smart Smoothies

Smoothies make fantastic fast and nutritious breakfasts that are portable and rich in protein, fiber and micronutrients.

Try this peanut butter and jelly smoothie, blending frozen strawberries for the familiar PB&J effect without the added sugars. Banana provides fiber and potassium, spinach provides iron and vitamin C, and yogurt adds protein — a key component for staying satiated throughout the day — (for a total of 18 grams per serving).

Don’t like peanut butter? Try this 5-minute coconut smoothie instead, which sneaks in kale, fiber-rich mango, superfood flaxseed and high-protein cottage cheese for a whopping 17g protein per serving.

Recipe Inspiration:

Related: 9 Refreshing Smoothie Recipes

6. Make-Ahead Chia Seed Pudding

Chia pudding is like morning yogurt with a dairy-free, chewy twist. It only takes a couple of minutes to prep, but needs to be made the night before so it can bulk up a bit in the fridge overnight.

Blend ? cup chia seeds with 1 cup almond milk or a non-dairy milk alternative, blend with cinnamon, vanilla and honey and let sit overnight. Then simply top with fresh fruit in the AM.

To get started, try this balanced chia seed pudding recipe, which contains 5 grams of protein, 12 grams fiber, 43% of the recommended daily calcium intake, and plant-based omega-3 fats from chia seeds.

Related: Calcium-Rich Plant Foods

7. Avocado Toast with a Twist

Avocado toast makes an easy, delicious plant-based breakfast in under five minutes. ?All you need is a solid slice of 100% whole-grain bread (or a gluten-free alternative, if needed), and ? to ? ?of a mashed avocado.

Instead of adding an egg, you can try a variety of other savory and sweet toppings. For example, this tangy recipe for strawberry avocado toast with feta cheese offers 6 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and a nice dose of healthy fats from the avocado.

Recipe Inspiration:

8. Greek Yogurt Spread on Toast

Protein-rich Greek yogurt doesn’t have to be eaten with a spoon. Use it as a spread on fiber-rich whole grain toast, tortillas or puffed whole grain cakes for a quick and fun breakfast.

Love sweet breakfasts? Spread ? cup Greek yogurt on a sturdy piece of toast, then top it with sliced strawberries, bananas, honey and walnuts. If you like your breakfast a bit more savory, top your Greek yogurt toast with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, chopped herbs, lemon juice and olive oil drizzle.

Recipe Inspiration:

Do you have?another great quick and healthy breakfast? Share it in a comment!?

*Provided by Zipongo

Spring Into the Season with Delicious and Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Creamy Wheat Berry Hot Cereal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups hard red winter-wheat berries (see Tips)
  • 7 cups cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups nonfat milk or reduced-fat soymilk
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups Cooked Wheat Berries
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see Tips)

Instructions:

  • To prepare the wheat berries: Sort through wheat berries carefully, discarding any stones. Rinse well under cool running water. Place in a large heavy saucepan. Add water and salt Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse. (Makes about 4 1/2 cups.)
  • To prepare the hot cereal: Place oats, raisins, milk (or soymilk) and salt in a large, microwave-safe bowl. (No microwave? See Stovetop Variation.) Stir to combine. Microwave on High, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Stir in 1 1/4 cups cooked wheat berries and microwave again until hot, 1 to 2 minutes more. Let stand for 1 minute. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve. (Refrigerate or freeze leftover wheat berries.)

Tips and Notes:

  • Make-Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the cooked wheat berries (Step 1) for up to 2 days or freeze airtight for up to 1 month.
  • Look for wheat berries in natural-foods markets in bulk or other near whole grains. Contrary to popular belief, they do not require an overnight soak before cooking. Simply boiling them for 1 hour soften the kernels and produces their characteristically chewy texture.
  • Toast slivered almonds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Frittata

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Instructions:

  • Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.
  • Whisk eggs, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a large, ovenproof, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and scallions and cook, stirring constantly, until the scallions are just wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook, lifting the edges of the frittata to allow the uncooked egg to flow underneath, until the bottom is light golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Dot the top of the frittata with cheese, transfer the pan to the oven and broil until puffy and lightly golden on top, 2 to 3 minutes. Let rest for about 3 minutes before serving. Serve hot or cold.

Tips and Tricks

Make-Ahead Tip: Let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; serve cold.

Black Bean & Chipotle Tostadas with Creme Fraiche

Ingredients:

  • 8 5- to 6-inch corn tortillas
  • * Canola oil cooking spray
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced garlic
  • 2 cups cooked or canned, rinsed black beans, (see Tip)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp ground chipotle pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp crème fra?che, or sour cream

Instructions:

  • Position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375°F.
  • Coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Place on 2 baking sheets. Bake, turning once, until light brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add beans, water and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and chipotle. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or large fork to the consistency of a chunky puree. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
  • Beat eggs, egg whites and milk in a large bowl. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, folding and stirring frequently with a heatproof rubber spatula, until almost set, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • To assemble tostadas, spread each tortilla with about 1/4 cup bean mixture. Top each with 1/4 cup scrambled eggs and sprinkle with chipotle pepper, if desired. Serve garnished with onion, cilantro and a small dollop of crème fra?che (or sour cream).

Tips and Notes:

  • Tip: To cook beans from scratch
  • 1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours.
  • 2. Drain the beans and place in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, skimming off any debris that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 to 2 hours (cooking time will vary with the type and age of the bean). When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste. Makes about 6 cups. Refrigerate leftover beans (in the cooking liquid) for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Crispy P0tatoes with Green Beans and Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh or cooked green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice, or 5 cups diced cooked potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • * Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 large eggs
  • * Pinch of paprika, (optional)

Instructions:

  • If using fresh green beans, cook in a large saucepan of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle a piece of potato. Spread potatoes in an even layer and cook, turning every few minutes with a wide spatula, until tender and browned, 15 to 20 minutes for raw potatoes, 10 to 12 minutes for cooked. Stir in the green beans, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
  • Crack each egg into a small bowl and slip them one at a time into the pan on top of the vegetables, spacing evenly. Cover and cook over medium heat until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to your taste, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the eggs with paprika, if desired, and serve immediately.

Mango Coconut Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup frozen banana slices (about 1 medium banana)
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed or flaxmeal
  • 1-2 tsp pure maple syrup or honey (optional)

Instructions:

Add coconut water and cottage cheese to a blender, then add kale, banana, mango, flaxseed (or meal) and sweetener (if using); blend until smooth.

Gingerbread Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour (see Tips)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (see Tips)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk egg, buttermilk, applesauce, oil, molasses, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined. Resist overmixing—it will make the pancakes tough.
  • Let the batter sit, without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes. As the batter rests, the baking powder forms bubbles that create fluffy pancakes and the gluten in the flour relaxes to make them more tender.
  • Coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Without stirring the batter, measure out pancakes using about 1/4 cup batter per pancake and pour into the pan (or onto the griddle). Cook until the edges are dry and you see bubbles on the surface, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, 2 to 4 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining batter, coating the pan with cooking spray and reducing the heat as needed.

Tips and Notes:

  • Make-Ahead Tip: The mixture of dry ingredients can be stored airtight for up to 1 month; the batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; cooked pancakes can be frozen airtight, in a single layer, for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
  • White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour.
  • No buttermilk? You can make “sour milk” as a substitute: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup nonfat milk; let stand for about 10 minutes before using.

Recipes Provided by Zipongo

Sunrise Bistro Xpress – Start Your Day Right with Fresh Ingredients and a Smile

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By Mark A. Leon

Sunrise Bistro Xpress is located at 116 A Spring Street.? Located in the heart of the re-birth of Spring Street, this is the offspring of one of John’s Island’s favorite dining spots (As well as one in Summerville, SC).? Serving breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, Sunrise Bistro Xpress offers a uniquely intimate dining experience.? This small and cozy restaurant is donned with fresh vegetable and spice plants in the windows, post modern art on the walls and a fresh aroma of dark roast coffee in the air.? With a beautiful outdoor area on the side of the building, a cozy bar and six indoor tables, you will feel as though you are a family dinner.

Before we delve into some specific menu items, it is important to mention that no breakfast is complete with the fresh herb homemade bread.? These squares of heavenly delight give Sunrise a unique edge.? Prepared with a rich blend of spices including rosemary and complimented with olive oil, the bread alone is enough to make you want to return.

Though it is a side addition to a number of the breakfast items, it can be used to make an exceptional breakfast sandwich.? Though the tomato melt is traditionally served with a bagel, we chose to have it served on the herb bread and it was exceptional.? It was the type of breakfast sandwich you eat in small bites and savor.

Shrimp and grits.? This is a tricky topic as it is a fan favorite in Charleston.? Sunrise, will not disappoint.? I would even be so bold as to place it in the top ten.? Their three meat shrimp and grits is a hearty combination of sausage, ham, bacon, shrimp, onions and peppers in a bed of grits made in a secret house sauce.? Without flaw a breakfast masterpiece.? We shared this memorable dish.? It isn’t an overwhelmingly large portion, but the portion of proteins make it a filling experience.? As you can see from the picture, the shrimp are jumbo and ready to please.

The open face omelets are a special offering from Sunrise.? Why do all omelets have to be folded or wrapped like a blanket?? Sunrise does not feel that way.? All their omelets are served open faced (If you feel passionate, you can get it prepared rolled).? It is like a breakfast pizza and who doesn’t love pizza.? There are seven options or a customized omelet, but we recommend the Jessica Ann and the Smoked Salmon with capers and onions.? With fresh basil, onions, tomato and feta cheese, the Jessica Ann omelet is a mild and delicious way to enjoy breakfast/brunch.? If you love smoked salmon, this omelet will leave you so satisfied.? By going light on the egg and providing a healthy topping of smoked salmon, onions, capers and cheddar cheese, each bite is to be savored.

We want to give a personal acknowledgement to the staff.? Their careful spirit, considerate customer attention and service with a smile was a comforting bonus to our visit.? With such small quarters, that can be tricky to please guests, maintain wait list and keep providing attention with a smile.

If breakfast isn’t in the cards, enjoy one of the fresh sandwiches that are prepared with fresh local ingredients.? From the Basil Grilled Cheese to the Cajun Shrimp Wrap, Sunrise Bistro offers winning options for lunch as well.

You have many choices when you think about breakfast and lunch in the Charleston area.? If you travel just a bit out of the way, go to Spring Street and take in one of the best small breakfast and lunch spots on the peninsula.

 

You’ll Find Morning Sunshine at the Sunflower Cafe

By Mark A. Leon

Charleston has a rich culture of breakfast and competition is fierce among the well-known establishments as is evidenced by long waits and rising prices. Luckily, there are still a few hidden gems that have quality food and reasonable prices, like The Sunflower Cafe. This quaint diner in West Ashley is a step back into the family kitchen and offers a relaxing dining experience.? As you walk in, you are greeted by a busy but friendly staff and decor of sunflowers and patriotism.? The walls are covered with stories of local patrons. Overall, the ambiance is cozy.

We know you yearn for an omelet or waffles, but we highly recommend starting with the beignets.? At $3.95, they are a steal for three large puffs of golden brown dough, generously dusted with powered sugar, served with a side of maple syrup for dunking. That first hot bite is heaven and will make you understand why so many feel they are the best in Charleston

The breakfast and lunch menus are well categorized and concise.? For breakfast, the choices include benedicts, pancakes, eggs and omelets.? Make sure, if they are not included with your selection, to sample the potatoes – sautéed with just the right amount of spice and onions. They are mouth watering.? The grits are also an outstanding side – they are rich and creamy.

The spicy sausage, peppers and onions benedict is savory and explodes with flavor.? The portion is generous and will satisfy the most ample appetites. The fresh crab and fried green tomatoes benedict is a unique creation that will not disappoint.

Sweet pecan waffles are a great choice for the waffle lover with a sweet tooth.? They are the right mix of sticky and doughy and oh so yummy.

If your appetite favors an omelet, we suggest you lean your selection toward the sauteed spinach, over sun-dried tomatoes and feta or the crab, brie and artichokes omelet.? Both have a shower of mixed flavors and the portions are enough to cover you for two meals.

sun2

The setting is very casual and the staff is friendly and unimposing.? If you bring a large group and want to relax, you will feel right at home.

Located about 20 minutes outside of downtown Charleston at 2366 Ashley River Road in West Ashley, the Sunflower Cafe is one breakfast and lunch experience you should add to your dining list. Come early as they are only open Tuesday through Saturday from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM with a break from 11:00 to 11:30 to transition from breakfast to lunch and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.? They are closed on Monday.
?Sunflower Cafe Menu