Tag Archives: breakfast

No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Do you love cookies as much as I do? There’s nothing wrong with treats as part of a balanced diet. However, if you want to eat cookies more often, you should get more than calories, sugar, and fat in the bargain.  No-bake oatmeal raisin cookies can help you do that!

Better-for-you cookies

My idea of a delicious cookie recipe is a no-bake combination of oats, peanut butter, raisins, and pure vanilla extract. These cookies are ready in less than 10 minutes and one batch is enough to last the week.

No-bake oatmeal raisin cookies are vegan and gluten-free (especially if you use gluten-free oats). In addition, you can prepare them with no added sugar, if desired.

Can you eat cookies for breakfast?

We usually think of cookies as dessert, but they work for the morning meal, too! You eat breakfast for dinner, so why not?

Don’t like cereal, eggs, or yogurt for breakfast, or you don’t have time to eat these nutritious foods?  One no-bake oatmeal raisin cookie paired with milk or a carton of yogurt and a piece of fruit is a nutritious morning meal.

No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies

Makes 10 cookies.

2 cups raisins

1 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter (use natural peanut butter for no added sugar)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups quick oats, toasted*

Place raisins, peanut butter, and vanilla extract in food processor. Blend on HIGH until well combined, about 45 seconds.  The mixture will resemble a paste. Place the raisin mixture in a medium bowl. Add oatmeal and combine well, using your hands, if necessary.  Form into 10 cookies or balls. Store in airtight container.

*Toasting oatmeal makes it taste even better in no-bake recipes. (You can skip this step if want.) To toast oats, preheat oven to 350˚F. Spread the oats evenly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before using.

Per serving: 292 calories; 8 grams protein; 39 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 14 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 164 milligrams sodium; 60 milligrams calcium.

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts

I love coffee-shop donuts as much as the next guy, and maybe more. I don’t eat them often because while they taste good going down, donuts usually bother my stomach afterwards. When I crave a hunk of sugary fried dough, I turn to my baked Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts instead because they offer way more – and far less – than typical coffee shop choices.

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Maple walnut pumpkin muffins are better for you

Donuts, including all the variations on pumpkin and maple offered at supermarkets, convenience stores, and coffee shops supply little in the way of nutrition. Most store-bought donuts are fried, which jacks up the calorie and fat content.

Here’s how a maple walnut pumpkin donut stacks up to a glazed pumpkin donut from a national coffee shop chain. My better for you version has:

• 212 calories vs. 360 calories

• 1/3 the total fat, and only 1 gram saturated fat (vs. 10 grams of saturated fat found in the coffee shop donut)

• 3 times the dietary fiber, thanks to whole wheat flour and pumpkin puree

• 64% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, primarily from pumpkin. The commercial donut has just 2% of the DV for vitamin A, which tells me there is very little pumpkin puree in the recipe.

• Nearly 900 milligrams of potassium, about 20% of the DV, again, mostly from the pumpkin.

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Donuts

These mouth-watering baked maple walnut pumpkin donuts are easy to make, delicious, and nutritious! 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthydonuts, maplewalnut, pumpkindonuts
Servings: 12
Calories: 212kcal
Author: ewardrd

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat two standard donut pans with cooking spray.
    In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
    In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, and add the pumpkin, 1/2 cup maple syrup, vanilla, yogurt, and oil. Mix until well combined.
    Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Don’t overmix.
    Spoon the batter into the donut pans, filling to about 1/4″ shy of the rim, and making sure the center post is clear.
    Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Remove donuts from oven and allow to cool, in the pan, for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Remove donuts from pan.
    To make glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and the milk and stir until smooth. Frost each donut and top with chopped walnuts.
    Per donut: 212 calories; 7 grams fat (1 gram saturated fat); 36 milligrams cholesterol; 220 milligrams sodium; 35 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber; 5 grams protein

Notes

Note: For less added sugar, omit the glaze, and add the walnuts to the batter. If desired, coat warm donuts in maple sugar or a sugar-cinnamon mixture.

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Want more pumpkin? Try Pumpkin Spice Smoothie, and Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Flour.

No-Diet Tips for Weight Loss

Just thinking about what to eat to lose weight can be overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to try so hard!  These three delicious no-diet tips for weight loss will put you on track for easier weight control, and you won’t feel deprived.

Peanut butter smoothie bowl topped with fresh raspberries, bananas, and chopped peanuts.

Peanut Butter, Raspberry, and Oats Smoothie Bowl from Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During and After Pregnancy.

Eat breakfast

Breakfast is an opportunity to include the nutrients you need. The energy it provides helps to jump-start the body and brain after sleep.

I talk here about how studies suggest that eating the morning meal does not guarantee better weight control, and it may seem like I am contradicting myself by suggesting breakfast. However, the research about breakfast and weight loss is inconclusive.

You may skip breakfast because you’re not hungry in the morning. Maybe you’re not hungry in the morning because you ate too much before going to bed. Eating more regularly throughout the day, starting in the morning, may prevent overeating at night and may decrease your calorie intake overall.

Many people don’t like traditional “breakfast” foods. Not a problem. Any food eaten in the morning counts as breakfast.  Your A.M. meal just needs to be balanced and nutritious and include enough protein, found in foods such as dairy, eggs, and beans.

You don’t have to eat breakfast all at once. It’s OK to divide up the morning into two smaller meals.

Switch to whole grains

I  wrote about a study that showed swapping whole grains for the refined kind burns calories and boosts metabolism.  What a gift! You eat delicious whole grains, and you burn calories!

This No-Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Quick Bread is packed with whole grains and nuts. Get the recipe here.

It’s easier than you think to include more whole grains in your eating plan.

For example, instead of white bread, have whole grain. Enjoy oatmeal for breakfast in place of a highly refined cereal. Experiment with whole grains such as freekeh or farro. Munch on popcorn instead of chips.

Include nuts for better health

Studies show that nuts often have fewer calories than what’s on the Nutrient Facts label.  That’s good reason to include them as snacks, and in other ways.

Research has found that whole roasted almonds have 25% fewer calories than what is listed on food labels; walnuts supply 21% fewer calories; and pistachios also contain fewer calories than what the label says.  It stands to reason the same goes for peanuts, too.

Skip the chips, cookies, and candy. Reach for delicious and nutritious nuts!

One ounce of nuts is an excellent substitution for the same amount of snack chips, pretzels, or crackers.

In addition to having fewer calories, nuts provide protein, heart-healthy fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are powerful plant compounds that protect your cells.

Include nuts in salads, homemade trail mix, and in smoothies.

Bottom line: No-diet loss tips for weight loss

Simple changes can help you to lose weight and keep it off.  Making a few small tweaks to your eating plan promotes eating satisfaction. In addition, including more healthy food choices in your diet provides you with the nutrients you need to support health.

5 Nutrition Rules Debunked

Many nutrition rules that we take for granted are more hype than help. It may come as a relief that you can ignore some nutrition advice and still eat healthy!

Advice: Put only the most colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate.

Bottom line: This rule shortchanges white, brown, and tan produce, such as mushrooms, cauliflower, and bananas, which are just as nutrition-worthy as their brighter counterparts. Most of us fall far short of suggested fruit and vegetable servings, so concentrate on including the types you like, no matter how pale. And while we’re at it, let’s stop shaming starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and peas, as nutrition expert Janet Helm so aptly puts it.

Advice: You should eat breakfast every day to control your weight.

Bottom line: The research doesn’t support the claim that eating a balanced breakfast is necessary for weight control, but if it works for you, stay with it. Skipping breakfast probably won’t cause weight gain or prevent weight loss if you stick to your calorie budget throughout the day, but there’s more to breakfast than the number on the scale, including fuel and nutrients for body and brain.

Don’t like to eat when you get up? Divide a balanced breakfast of fruit, yogurt, and a whole grain roll into two morning snacks that you finish before lunch. If you’re not into “traditional” breakfast foods, munch on a slice of leftover thin-crust cheese pizza and fruit, or half a turkey and cheese sandwich and carrot sticks.

Advice: Shop only the perimeter of the grocery store.

Bottom line: Yes, the outer parts of the store have lots of nutritious foods, including the fish counter, produce section, and the dairy case, but the bakery is also located there. The aisles house healthy options including whole grain cereal and pasta, as well as canned seafood and beans, and jars of fruit packed in their own juice. Plan meals and snacks, and head to the grocery store with a list to make it easier to peruse the aisles for nutritious choices. Don’t shop when you’re hungry, or that bakery along the perimeter may be too tempting to walk past.

Advice: You must drink 64 ounces of plain water every day.

Bottom line: Probably not! Water is an essential nutrient, but most of us don’t need to down a half gallon of the stuff every day.  Men, and women who are not pregnant or nursing require between nine and 13 cups of fluid daily, about 72 to 104 ounces, respectively. (Physically active people may need more.) Plain water is preferable for meeting fluid needs, but the water in other drinks, such as milk, coffee and tea (even the caffeinated kinds) contributes fluid, so it’s easier than you think to meet your quota.

Advice: Eating at night leads to weight gain.

Bottom line: Only if you overdo it, which is often the case. If you’re extremely hungry (from under-eating during the day; see section on breakfast, above), stressed, or bored, and you reach for high-calorie foods such as cookies, chips, or candy, you may find it difficult to limit your calorie intake. It’s OK to eat at night as long as you’re mindful of your daily calorie needs. If you struggle to control calories after the sun goes down, read this by Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.

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