I’ll be the first to admit that around our house, we don’t get enough fruits, vegetables, and other super foods. My one consolation of the day is when I give the kiddos their gummy vitamin. Your mom always said “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and yet so many people skimp on it, or merely skip it all together, because let’s face it, with school, work, and errands, mornings are hectic! Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky says that eating a regular, healthy breakfast can lead to weight loss, making healthier food choices over-all, and can give you the energy boost you need to power through your day. A study from the Sussex Innovation Centre in Brighton, UK also found that 61% of test subjects showed improvements in English and math tests after eating a healthy breakfast. With standardized tests right around the corner, your kid could use any boost available.
Breakfast is actually one of the easiest places to pack in important nutrients. Pancakes, oatmeal, omelets, muffins, and smoothies are the perfect vehicles for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, and proteins. One of my favorite nutrition-packed recipes is this Delish-Nutrish Carrot Cake muffin recipe. Couple that with a power smoothie, and I can rest assured that everyone starts their day off right.
WARNING: This may need to be a covert operation. Ski masks and aliases could prove necessary (mine is Slick Nic), as well as other stealthy measures. If unsuspecting subjects witness exactly what goes into these recipes, you just might have a revolt on your hands.
Delish-Nutrish Carrot Cake Muffins (makes 12 small muffins or 8 larger ones)
*I like to make a double batch of these muffins and freeze half for frantic mornings, park snacks, or lunch box treats.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oats
1/2 Tablespoon flaxseed (or use oatmeal that contains flaxseed)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium banana mashed
1/2 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt
1/2 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spoon into greased muffin pan and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Even without eggs, these muffins are so moist and full of yummy textures from all of the “sneaky” ingredients!
*HEALTH BENEFITS: 1) Whole wheat flour and oats are whole grains and complex carbohydrates that contain key vitamins and minerals like fiber, selenium, potassium, and magnesium, and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, 2) Flaxseed (use ground flaxseed, I found it in the bulk bins at Winco) is one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet that contains Omega-3 essential “good” fats, Lignans which are powerful antioxidants, and both soluble and insoluble fiber, 3) Bananas make these muffins oh-so-moist and are packed with vitamin A, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, 4) Greek yogurt is creamy and contains calcium, live bacterial cultures which prevent gastrointestinal infections and boost the immune system, and double the protein with half the sugar. The best choice is the low-fat or fat-free version, 5) Carrots may seem like a stretch, but are perfect to hide in these muffins! This orange power food is rich in beta-carotene, falcarinol which lowers risk of cancer, and Vitamin A and antioxidants that protect skin from sun damage, 6) Nuts like walnuts contain important omega-3s and antioxidants, as well as an excellent source of vitamin E that protect cells and skin.
Whew! All that in a little unpretentious muffin?! Now that’s what I call brain food. No wonder I feel so great giving these to my uber-picky toddlers and hubby. They gobble them up and Slick Nic can’t help but give a slightly sinister smile (Mwa-ha-ha-ha!).
But that’s not all! Take the deception even further by concocting a yummy nutrient-filled smoothie. Just like a smooth criminal knows where to hide the booty, you can stash various power foods into a smoothie and your unsuspecting
victims loved ones will savor every slurp. No smoothie was created equal and you can essentially put in anything you dare. Here are a few family favs in our house:
Blueberry Cobbler Smoothie
Ingredients (in no formal measurements): crushed ice, frozen yogurt cubes ( I spoon yogurt into ice cube trays and then freeze them for smoothies), oatmeal, almonds, blueberries, coconut milk. Blend and serve
Spinach Ice Cream Smoothie (sounds weird, but my personal favorite!)
Ingredients: crushed ice, milk (almond, vanilla soy, coconut, or fat free half & half), vanilla protein powder, spinach (1-2 cups), , agave nectar (or honey), vanilla. Blend and eat right away, or put in the freezer for a more ice-cream like consistency.
Tangy Orange Smoothie
Ingredients: crushed ice, almond milk, flavored liquid coffee creamer, handful of baby carrots, one orange peeled, 1 TB tang drink mix (or crystal light to flavor). Blend and serve.
A healthy breakfast really does make a difference and it is a great way to disguise (as if they have something to hide!) those fruits, vegetables, and other nutrients that are otherwise a little hard to swallow. So by all means, resort to tricks, deceptions, and sneaky disguises!
What is your undercover alias and how sneaky are you?
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1/2 Tablespoon flaxseed (or use oatmeal that contains flaxseed)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium banana mashed
- 1/2 cup plain or vanilla greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup finely grated carrots
- 1/2 cup craisins
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Spoon into greased muffin pan and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
- Even without eggs, these muffins are so moist and full of yummy textures from all of the “sneaky” ingredients!
- crushed ice
- frozen yogurt cubes ( I spoon yogurt into ice cube trays and then freeze them for smoothies), oatmeal
- coconut milk
- Blend and serve