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Avo-Berry Smoothie Bowls

This nutritious bowl provides more than half your daily fiber – enough to help keep you full until lunchtime.

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Apple Cinnamon Waffles with Honey Almond Butter Collagen Syrup

Don’t pigeon-hole your breakfast! This innovative, healthy take on the morning classic is positively divine (and nutritious). You'll never taste the collagen, but you'll get the effects of strengthening, hydrating and protecting your skin. That's a great way to start the day!

Waffle Ingredients

Serves 1

1 large apple (finely chopped in a food processor) or ¾ cup chunky applesauce

3 tablespoons cassava flour or oat flour

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

2 large eggs

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

Honey Almond Butter Collagen Syrup

1 scoop NeoCell Collagen Powder

½ tablespoon honey

1½ tablespoons almond butter

1 tablespoon non-dairy milk

Directions

1. Heat waffle iron. In a bowl, combine chopped apple (or applesauce), flour, flaxseed, eggs and cinnamon; blend with a whisk.

2. Spray surface of waffle iron with nonstick spray. Add batter to waffle iron and cook according to appliance directions.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together syrup ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle syrup over warm waffle and enjoy!

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Weekday Breakfast, Solved

End the skimpy breakfast madness! Too many people undereat in the morning and as a result end up overeating in the evening. What you eat for breakfast sets the tone for the whole day. Be sure to always include protein at breakfast, and I always recommend 20-25 grams to kick off your day.

Prep-Ahead Ideas

This strategy saves a TON of time, which is why you’re in this predicament to begin with. Pre-prep is a must!

Spend time Sunday setting up several days’ worth of breakfast.

GO MINI: Use a muffin tin to prepare mini egg frittatas, and eat two per morning. If you make 10 muffins, that’ll get you through the busy work week.

READY, SET, BLEND! Prepare your smoothie the night before. Load your blender container with everything you need and store it overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, add ice and blend. Your breakfast will be ready in two minutes or less.

Give this smoothie a try for a big boost of probiotics for gut health and protein for lasting energy.

Probiotic Brew

Blend two kiwi fruit

2/3 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup coconut milk

Ice

No room for the blender container in your fridge? No prob! Here’s the back up plan:

BAG SMOOTHIES: Grab plastic baggies and put 1 cup berries, half a banana, ½ tablespoon chia seeds and 1 tablespoon flaxseed into each. Stash them in the freezer; when your alarm goes off, toss one serving into the blender with ice, milk and 1 tablespoon your favorite nut butter. Voilà!

Make it in your sleep: Mix a big batch of overnight oats or chia pudding. Both are yummy, nutrient-rich breakfast bowl. You prep-ahead and they “cook” while you sleep!

5-Minute Meal

No chance to make ahead? These eats can be ready in a flash.

GO GREEK: Scoop 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (20+ grams of protein) into a bowl, and stir in cinnamon, chia seeds, and some berries for additional nutrition power. This high-protein & low sugar breakfast will give you long-lasting energy throughout your morning. Purchase the individual plain Greek yogurt cartons for a really fast choice.

PICK NUT BUTTER: Sunflower seed butter or cashew butter are a tasty protein source, perfect on an apple or spread on toast. Even the good ‘ol celery & peanut butter is a delicious start to the day. In a real hurry? Make a peanut butter wrap using a tortilla.

EGGS! My standard go-to is frying two eggs, which takes 5 minutes max. Add some cheese and you’ve met the 20 grams of protein breakfast goal. If you have extra time, toss in some spinach and mushrooms and your energy levels will be sky high all morning.

Get-Out-The-Door Hacks

When making (and sitting and eating) breakfast at home is absolutely not happening, try these on-the-go options.

STOCK UP AT YOUR DESTINATION: Keep nut butter, raw nuts, and plain oatmeal packets in a desk drawer. Have an office fridge? Stash Greek yogurts and hard-boiled eggs.

SWING BY THE SUPERMARKET: Don’t forget you can stop by a grocery store or market and only buy a banana and yogurt. You actually have more control over how you’re fueling your body than when you’re limited to menu items at a drive-through. You’ll likely feel less sluggish avoiding the latter option.

MAKE A COFFEE SHOP PIT STOP: But order a healthy item you would prepare in your own kitchen, like a feta and egg white wrap or a box of apple slices, nuts and cheese. Most coffee shops also have protein bars and yogurt parfait options.

Cheers to feeling good every morning from this day forward!

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Live Superfoods

 

 

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Warm Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Eating cereal for breakfast is such an American thing to do, but many cereals are high in sugar and low in nutrients. Swapping your usual sugary cereal in the morning for a bowl of nutty quinoa will give you an extra boost of protein and fiber. I also love this because you can prep it all the night before.

For those who eat gluten-free, this quinoa bowl is a hardy, warming breakfast that might otherwise seem hard to find without gluten (ie: oatmeal, toast, pancakes, French toast, etc.).

The blueberries give this cereal a sweet zing, while the cinnamon brings out the natural flavors and turns our typically savory quinoa dish into a sweet one.

This might just become your new breakfast go-to! Enjoy!

½ cup uncooked quinoa

1½ cups water

A few pinches of cinnamon 

1 teaspoon honey, optional (You may substitute maple syrup, liquid stevia, or coconut sugar

½ cup almond milk

¼ cup blueberries

¼ cup slivered almonds or walnuts

Cook the quinoa in the water over medium-high heat until the quinoa has absorbed the water, about 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and pour into a bowl. You can also cook quinoa in your rice cooker, which is extremely easy.

Stir in the cinnamon and the optional sweetener.

Pour in the almond milk and top with blueberries and slivered almonds.

Yield: 1 serving

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Here's the Scoop On Meal Replacements

When I think of a meal replacement, I think of drinking a smoothie, munching on a bar, or mixing a powder into some type of liquid. The FDA hasn’t actually defined the term “meal replacement,” and even though there aren’t specific laws regulating meal replacement products in the United States, they’re generally considered in the category of low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods or beverages used to replace a food meal.

Are Meal Replacements an Effective Tool for Weight Loss?

Good news…research has demonstrated using meal replacements for weight loss and weight maintenance among overweight and obese individuals is safe and effective, if implemented correctly. The goal of a meal replacement is to reduce the amount of calories you consume by offering a convenient alternative to a higher calorie meal. For example, if your typical breakfast is 500 calories and you replace it with a bar or shake that contains 250 calories, you’ve cut 250 calories from your diet without much effort or deprivation. If this is done regulary, over the long-term, you will obviously lose weight.

When researchers compared a meal replacement weight loss program to other diets, the meal replacement resulted in greater weight loss, better compliance, higher satisfaction, lower drop-out rates, and was more likely to ensure adequate intake of essential nutrients.

However, I must add, if your weight problem is caused by uncontrolled overeating or emotional eating, losing weight via a meal replacement doesn’t address the core issue. What typically happens is, as soon as you come off the plan that’s working for you, you are likely to re-gain the weight and possibly add a few more pounds.

Meal Replacements and Protein Recommendations

When someone tries to lose weight, they want to lose the fat and keep the muscle. Muscle contributes to your resting metabolic rate and is important for keeping your weight off in the long-term. Eating protein is crucial for preserving your muscle, particularly when a person’s daily calorie intake decreases, such as when using meal replacements. I suggest choosing a meal replacement that contains 15-25 grams of protein. Protein also improves your satiety (the feeling of being full after eating).

Safe and adequate recommendations for protein intake:

                                                     grams of protein per pound of body weight           grams of protein per kilogram

Recreational exerciser, adult:                              0.5 – 0.7                                                       0.8 – 1.5

Endurance athlete, adult:                                     0.6 – 0.7                                                       1.2 – 1.6

Adult building muscle mass:                                0.7 – 0.8                                                       1.5 – 1.7

Athlete restricting calories:                                   0.8 – 0.9                                                       1.8 – 2.0

Shift Your Carbohydrate-Protein Ratio

A meal replacement higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates is important for weight loss. More protein and less carbohydrates means less insulin is released into the bloodstream. Insulin determines whether or not to store calories as fat, so by shifting the balance to protein, your body prefers fat loss. To learn more about this, read my blog called "Get Off the Blood Sugar Rollercoaster."

Meal Replacements and Fiber

Chose a meal replacement with some fiber. People who eat high fiber diets are less likely to gain weight because fiber helps curb your appetite and supports regularity. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men under 50 need 38 grams of fiber each day and women need 25 grams. Adults over 50 require less fiber (30 grams for guys and 21 grams for ladies) due to decreased food consumption.

Key Points to Consider When Choosing a Meal Replacement

1. Aim for a meal replacements between 200 – 400 calories.

2. Choose a meal replacements with 15 – 25 grams of protein per serving.

3. Choose a meal replacement with 3+ grams of fiber.

3. Be aware of meal replacement bars and shakes with a high sugar content.

4. Ingredients I suggest avoiding: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, soy protein, hydrogenated palm kernel oil (or any type of hydrogenated oil), maltodextrin, and acesulfame K.

5. If possible, choose an organic protein powder. If you like whey protein, using an organic brand ensures it doesn’t contain antibiotics, growth hormones, or genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). Personally, I like Garden of Life RAW. Another option is Healthforce Warrior Food Extreme Vegan Protein or Hemp protein powder

Creating Your Own Meal Replacement Drink

Before spending too much money on a meal replacement, consider getting out your Vitamix blender to create your own meal replacement concoction. Here are easy steps to follow to create your own:

!st: choose your base, such as cow’s milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, filtered water, etc.

2nd: choose 1-2 greens, such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, collards, beet greens, dandelion, etc.

3rd: choose a fruit or two, such as a banana, any berries, mango, avocado, pear, peach, pineapple, grapes, apple, etc.

Next, the fun part…add a scoop of your preferred protein powder, along with anything else to “supercharge” your drink, such as chia seeds, ground flaxseed, raw cacao powder, cinnamon, goji berry powder, bilberry powder, spirulina, maca powder, vanilla extract, and nut butter.

If you need a sweetener, consider chopped dates, agave, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, yacon syrup, or honey.

I like to add ice to make the drink cold, and blend away. I suggest blending on high for 3+ minutes to ensures the consistency is very smooth.

How long should a person use a meal replacement?

If you’re using one meal replacement per day a person can continue indefinitely, as long as he/she monitors intake at other meals to maintain a well-balanced diet. If the plan is to utilize two or more meal replacements per day it is recommended you seek the advice of a clinical weight loss specialist (ie: registered dietitian nutritionist, medical doctor, naturopath, etc.).

My last piece of advice: I encourage you to surround your meal replacement of choice with real food. By real food, I mean fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, eggs -- nutrient dense foods full of vitamins, mineral, fiber, monounsaturated fats, proteins, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and yet to be discovered compounds that likely have a positive impact on our health, wellness and fat loss efforts.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods


References:
Heymsfield, S.B., van Mierlo, C.A., van der Knaap, H.C., Heo, M., and Frier, H.I. (2003) Weight management using a meal replacement strategy: meta and pooling analysis from six studies. International Journal of Obesity, 27(5), 537-549.

Levitsky, D.A. and Pacanowski, C. (2011). Losing weight without dieting. Use of commercial foods as meal replacements for lunch produces an extended energy deficit. Appetite 57, 311-317.

Pi-Sunyer, X., Blackburn, G., Brancati, F.L., Bray, G.A. et al. (2007). Reduction in weight and cardiovascular disease risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes: one-year results of the look AHEAD trial. Diabetes Care, 30(6),1374-1383

Waller, S.M., Vander Wal, J.S., Klurfeld, D.M., McBurney, M.I., Cho, S., Bijlani, S., and Dhurandhar, N.V. (2004). Evening read-to-eat consumption contributes to weight management. Journal of American College of Nutrition, 23(4), 316-321.

Heymsfield SB, van Mierlo CAJ, Knaap HCM, Heo M, Frier HI: Weight management using a meal replacement strategy: meta and pooling analysis from six studies. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003, 27:537-49.

Ashley JM, Herzog H, Clodfelter S, Bovee V, Schrage J, Pritsos C: Nutrient adequacy during weight-loss interventions: a randomized study in women comparing the dietary intake in a meal replacement group with a traditional food group. Nutr J 2007, 6:6-12.

Ditschuneit HH, Flechtner-Mors M: Value of structured meals for weight management: risk factors and long-term weight maintenance. Obes Res 2001, 9(Suppl 4):S284-S289.

Egger GJ: Are meal replacements an effective clinical tool for weight loss?--a clarification. Med J Aust 2006, 184:591.

 

 

 

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