We’ve all heard the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you know why? Breakfast is literally just that, breaking the fast that your body is in from the night before.The consumption of an early morning meal increases the metabolic rate (how fast you burn calories) and kick starts your body into gear, telling it what to expect the rest of the day. If you don’t eat breakfast, your body doesn’t process your next meal as quickly and tries to hold onto those nutrients. Since your body didn’t get any morning fuel, it tries to hold onto the afternoon meal as long as possible — instead of burning it right away.

Studies have shown that weight loss can be more difficult and weight gain more prevalent in folks who opt out on the morning meal. Those who skip breakfast have a tendency to consume more food than usual the next chance they get to grab a bite to eat and also have a higher tendency to snack on high-calorie foods to keep from feeling hungry.

If you don’t like breakfast foods, don’t eat them! Try leftovers, soup, a sandwich, or lean meats in the morning. Many cultures serve rice and vegetables as a breakfast meal.

Breakfast should include a healthy source of protein and plenty of fiber; that combination will help satisfy your hunger and will keep you feeling full until lunch time. The protein can come from low-fat meat, low-fat dairy products, or nuts and nut butters. Eggs are also a good source of protein. They’re also high in saturated fats, but one egg only has about 75 calories and they’re quite satiating, so it can help keep the hunger pangs away. High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

There is no harm in switching from your traditional breakfast, as long as you are going to get the proper nutritional value, you can try eating something different to start off your day. Try out something tempting and appetizing like some of these recipes listed below.

Breakfast Mini Pizzas                                                                                                                                     

1 serving

IngredientsMini Breakfast Pizzas

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons marinara sauce
  • 1 whole-wheat English muffin, split and toasted
  • 2 tablespoons shredded reduced fat Italian cheese blend, such as Sargento
  • 2 slices turkey pepperoni or Applegate Farms nitrate free pepperoni (optional)

Directions:

Preheat broiler or toaster oven.

Coat a small nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add egg and cook, stirring often, until set into soft curds, 1 to 2 minutes. Spread marinara sauce on English muffin halves. Top each muffin half with scrambled egg, pepperoni (if using) and cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, 1 to 3 minutes.

Berry Smoothie

3 servings, 1 cup each                                                                                                                                                                                      

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups orange juiceMixed Berry Smoothie Recipe
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or 1/2 tablespoon Truvia or Domino Light
  • Berries for garnish

Directions:

Combine orange juice, banana, berries, yogurt and sugar in a blender; cover and blend until creamy. Garnish with berries and serve.

Stuffed Italian Toast

Makes 8 sandwiches

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind (from 1 small lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

bfd_Italianfrenchtoast

Toast:

  • 1 loaf hearty whole grain Italian bread, cut into 16 – 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Warm marinara sauce

Directions:

For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

In a small bowl, combine chopped spinach mixture, ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest, basil, and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread one bread slice with 2 tablespoons of filling, top with another slice of bread and press closed. Repeat with remaining bread to make 8 sandwiches in all.

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and garlic powder in a shallow baking dish.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Working with 1 sandwich at a time, quickly dip into egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. Add to hot oil. Repeat with 3 more slices, taking care not to overload pan. Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Repeat with remaining oil (if needed) and 4 sandwiches.

Transfer to plates, spoon warm marinara sauce over top, and serve.

Yogurt-Zucchini Bread with Walnuts                                                                                                                   

Serve with a fruit salad

MAKES ONE 9-INCH LOAF

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnut halves (4 ounces)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour or Eagle Brand Ultra Grain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar alternative
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini (from about 1 medium zucchini)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat with cooking spray and flour a 9-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan.

Spread the walnut halves in a pie plate and toast them for about 8 minutes, until they are fragrant.

Transfer the toasted walnuts to a cutting board and coarsely chop them, then freeze for 5 minutes to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the eggs, vegetable oil and yogurt.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the grated zucchini and toasted walnuts and stir until the batter is evenly moistened.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the loaf is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the loaf cool on a rack for 30 minutes before unmolding and serving.

MAKE AHEAD:  The zucchini loaf can be wrapped tightly in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen in plastic and foil for up to 1 month.

Eggs Baked Over Sauteed Mushrooms and Spinach                                                                             

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound white or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices of whole-grain toast

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in the butter, garlic and mushrooms. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are softened and a lot of liquid is released, 7 minutes.

Uncover and add the salt and red wine and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the liquid is reduced, 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until wilted, 2 minutes. Season with pepper.

Coat four 1-cup ramekins or small gratin dishes with cooking spray. Transfer the mushrooms and spinach to the ramekins and crack an egg on top of each.

Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the eggs are set.  Let stand for 2 minutes; serve with the toasts.

Crepes with Sweet Yogurt and Raspberry-Apricot Sauce                                                                                

Makes 8 servings

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or Eagle Brand Ultra Grain flour
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves, low sugar, if available
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt (not fat free)
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with 1/4 cup of the milk and the salt until blended. Whisk in the flour until the batter is smooth, then whisk in the remaining 1 cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Let the crepe batter stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the apricot preserves with the raspberries and lemon juice and cook over moderate heat until jammy, about 5 minutes. Cover and keep warm.

In a bowl, mix the yogurt with the brown sugar and vanilla.

Heat a 10-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Brush the pan with some of the melted butter. Pour in a scant 1/3 cup of the crepe batter and immediately rotate the pan to evenly coat the bottom. Cook the crepe until lightly browned on the bottom, about 45 seconds. Flip the crepe and cook until brown dots appear on the other side, about 15 seconds longer.

See post on how to make crepes:

http://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/12/27/new-years-eve-party-time/

Transfer the crepe to a large plate covered with parchment paper.

Continue making crepes with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with the remaining melted butter as needed. Place a sheet of wax paper in between each cooked crepe.

To Assemble Crepes: Spoon 3 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture onto each crepe and roll them up.

Transfer to individual serving plates. Spoon the raspberry-apricot sauce on top and serve.

MAKE AHEAD : The crepes can be made ahead and stacked, then rewarmed in a microwave oven for about 20 seconds.

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