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Energize your morning with these grab-and-go ideas for a healthy breakfast

From our experts: Jessi Holden is a registered dietitian/nutritionist at Mary Free Bed.

Pumpkin Energy Bites Healthy Breakfast

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Breakfast is an important meal. It provides our body with the energy it needs to start the day off with a fueled-up tank.

When you balance your energy intake throughout the day, including that morning fuel, you’re less likely to overeat later. When we eat little to nothing for breakfast and a light lunch, we arrive home feeling SO hungry that we grab and eat anything! This is a normal physiological response and our body’s way of trying to communicate to us that we need more fuel. So, what’s the problem? Most of us run out of time in the morning, but I have some ideas for easy, fast and filling “breakfasts” to grab on the way out the door.

Here are my top five recommendations to energize your morning:

1. Plain quick oats (or any preferred oats) with 1 tbsp. flax meal, 1 tbsp. chia seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey for sweetness. If you have time, throw in some fruit or unsweetened applesauce.
You also can put all of this in a jar the night before with enough liquid to cover the oats. Enjoy them cold, or heat up the jar in the morning.
2. Grab two eggs, two tbsp. of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk together in a coffee mug and microwave about 1 minute 30 seconds to 45 seconds. It’s OK if they’re a little undercooked. Let them sit for 30 seconds to one minute before removing from the microwave and they’ll continue cooking.
If you’ve got time or did some prep earlier in the week, throw in chopped veggies, a dollop of salsa or another breakfast protein, such as ham or sausage.
3. A granola bar is a great option, because it’s ready to just grab and go! Aim to find one with at least five grams of protein and less than 5 grams of added sugar.
4. Make a large batch of smoothies to freeze in jars for the week. Take one out the night before and mix in a little extra Greek yogurt for desired creaminess. Enjoy on your way to work.
5. Try an energy bite! You can find lots of recipes on the internet, but you’re in luck! I have the perfect Pumpkin Maple Bite recipe that can be made and kept in the fridge for 7-10 days or up to three months in the freezer.

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup Mejool dates
• 1½ cups old fashioned oats
• ½ cup pumpkin puree
• ¼ cup peanut butter
• 1 tbsp. maple syrup
• 1 tbsp. ground flax meal
• 2.25 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
• 1 tsp. maple extract
• 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

Optional: Chocolate chips, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, craisins, ¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
• Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until well mixed.
• For a slightly smoother texture, blend the oats first until they are down to a powder. Add your remaining ingredients.
• Roll these into balls or place the mixture into an 8×8/9×9 pan, flatten it and freeze for about 20 minutes, then cut into bars/squares.

Nutrition information per bite without optional add ins. Makes approximately 12 bites:
Approximately 132 calories, 3.6 g fat, 3 g protein, and 23 g carb

Jessi demonstrated how to make Pumpkin Energy Bites on FOX 17 Morning News. You can watch her video here.

Mary Free Bed offers Outpatient Nutrition Services with registered dietitians available to help you build sustainable, doable and individualized goals. Contact us for one-on-one nutrition therapy or if you’re interested in our Weight Management Program. For more information, call 616.840.8908.

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