Clean 2016: 3 healthy breakfast ideas

Click here to watch our January 17 segment on WJBF News Channel 6!

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January marks my first of three “Clean 2016” segments with WJBF. During the next few months or so, I’ll be sharing recipes that support your New Year’s resolutions and keep you on track with your health and fitness goals.This month, I’m sharing a few of my favorite breakfast recipes. I’m starting with breakfast not only because it’s the first meal of the day, but it’s also the most important meal of the day, especially for those who are looking to lose or maintain weight.

Before my health and fitness journey began, I thought that breakfast was all about carbs (think: cereal – which I now know isn’t always a healthy option). Now I focus on complex carbs (“good carbs”) and incorporate protein into my morning routine. Carbs are a good source of energy and “brain food,” and protein makes you feel full and builds muscle. While glucose, which is supplied by carbs, is the body’s preferred fuel source, proteins provide back-up energy. With that being said, each breakfast option is packed with protein, and two of the three recipes include complex carbs.

IMG_7409Overnight Oats

Last year, I got stuck in a few slumps, when my mid-morning snack included Belvita, Clif Bars, Fiber One bars, Special K Protein meal-replacement bars or even the corned beef and scrambled eggs served in the cafeteria where I work. While these aren’t as egregious as other things I could have been eating, I knew that I strayed from my healthier eating habits.

So I decided to reign it in and switch things up for 2016. While nonfat plain Greek yogurt and berries is a great option, that gets old and doesn’t sufficiently satisfy my cravings or keep me full, especially if I worked out that morning. So I brought back an oldie but goodie: overnight oats. They’re a great alternative to meal-replacement bars, which can be high in calories, sugar and unhealthy ingredients. Not to mention, they can be expensive. Oats are a complex carb that is a good source of dietary fiber, so overnight oats will aid with your digestive health while satisfying your taste buds.

I discovered overnight oats a few years ago and seem to have forgotten about my love for them until now. I’ve been eating these lately for my mid-morning snack, a few hours after the meal-replacement shake I drink almost as soon as I get up in the morning. I make only the amount I’m going to eat the next morning (one serving) the night before, let the oats soak in the milk overnight – as the name suggests – and grab one to go in the morning.


Step 1 (under “instructions”)


  • Peanut butter banana
    • ½ cup old fashioned oats
    • Splash of vanilla or original unsweetened almond milk or nonfat milk, enough to cover the oats
    • 1 banana, peeled and sliced
    • 1 Tbsp. creamy natural peanut butter
  • Berry and agave nectar or honey
    • ½ cup old fashioned oats
    • Splash of vanilla or original unsweetened almond milk or nonfat milk, enough to cover the oats
    • 1 cup of blueberries, raspberries and/or quartered or sliced strawberries
    • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey

Step 2 (under “instructions”)


  1. Place oats into a two-cup container or slightly larger. (I use a round two-cup Pyrex container. Others use mason jars.)
  2. Cover oats with milk.
  3. Place fruit of choice on top.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next morning, take them out of the fridge and heat slightly covered for 1 ½ minutes.
  6. Mix up milk-soaked oats and fruit. If you use bananas, mash them.
  7. Mix in peanut butter or agave nectar.


Quinoa Mini Muffins

If you like the grab-and-go concept but crave something savory for breakfast (like quiche – this recipe reminds me a lot of a crustless quiche), then this is a recipe for you!

As I shared in my post on healthier Thanksgiving sides, quinoa is a great source of vitamins, minerals and protein. The eggs are another good source of protein. Feel free to add your favorite meat, cheese and veggie. Here are four ideas below, two of which are meatless!

Ingredients (four separate recipes):


Step 3 (see “instructions” below)

  • Ham and Swiss
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 cup thin deli-sliced nitrate-free ham, chopped
    • 1 cup reduced-fat Swiss cheese, chopped
    • Black ground pepper to taste
    • Cooking spray
  • Bacon and cheddar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 cup lower-sodium turkey bacon (or about 12 slices), chopped
    • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
    • Black ground pepper to taste
    • Cooking spray
  • Broccoli and cheddar

    Step 4 (see “instructions” below)

    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
    • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
    • ½ cup onion, diced
    • Black ground pepper to taste
    • Cooking spray
  • Mushroom and spinach
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup cooked quinoa
    • ½ cup mushrooms, diced
    • 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
    • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
    • ½ cup onion, diced
    • Black ground pepper to taste
    • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pick which of the four recipes you’d like to make.
  3. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Grease mini muffin pan, and fill with contents from bowl(s).
  5. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool before removing from pan.



Healthier Pancakes (from scratch!)

Making pancakes from scratch has become increasingly popular, especially in the fitness realm, but I’ve never actually done so until I did my experimenting for this post! These take the same amount of time as the boxed stuff and have a good taste and texture, so I’m not sure what I was waiting for (other than the fact that we don’t eat a lot of pancakes in my household). The “special ingredient” is oat flour, which is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. As stated above, oats are a complex carb that is a good source of dietary fiber.


  • Pancakes:
    • 2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats
    • 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium baking powder
    • 1 tsp. stevia
    • 6 Tbsp. egg whites or 2 eggs
    • 8 oz. almond or fat-free milk
    •  cup applesauce
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • Cooking spray
  • Topping:
    • Honey to taste
  • Optional ingredients to add, to taste:
    • Cocoa powder
    • Peanut butter
    • Pumpkin puree


  1. Grind oats in a food processor or blender.
  2. Mix the dry pancake ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the remaining pancake ingredients in a medium bowl, and add the mixture to the dry mixture to create pancake batter.
  4. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Spoon about ¼ cup batter onto pan.
  6. If you want to add in fruit, do so when you see small bubbles in the batter.
  7. When the edges of the pancakes become golden, flip them.
  8. Serve and top with honey.



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