Let's Talk Cereal | What to Look for in a Healthy Cereal

With summer coming to an end and school getting back in session, more of us are rushing out the door early in the morning. Often times this means either skipping breakfast entirely or having something quick, like cereal. Of course there are other options such as meal prepping some healthy things to eat on the road, or waking up earlier for a full meal, but let's face it, most of us don't have the time. So today I'd like to talk about cereal. 

Most of us have grown up eating cereal (my personal favorite is cinnamon toast crunch) and many of us still eat it today. But by no means are our favorite kids cereals considered healthy. Most of them are highly processed and full of added sugars. But that doesn't mean we have to give up cereals completely! Following these few simple guidelines, you can find a healthy cereal that not only feeds you, but fuels you for the day.

Cereal Guidelines

  1. Limit sugar to less than 5 grams per serving
  2. Look for 100% whole grains as the first ingredient
  3. The shorter ingredient lists the better!
  4. Watch for serving sizes
  5. Try to get at least 3 grams of fiber (preferably from the grains, not added fiber)

Following these simple guidelines should help you find a cereal that is not only quick and easy, but will also keep you going all day without worrying about crashing blood sugar levels or being hungry 15 minutes later ;)

Cereals that Made the Cut

  • Puffed 100% Whole Grain Cereals, like the ones by Arrowhead Mills
    • completely unsweetened, the only ingredient is the grain
  • Original Cheerios 
  • Original Puffins
  • Kix
  • Total
  • Wheaties
  • Uncle Sam Original

Have you Heard of "Zoats"

Have you ever heard of "zoats" AKA zucchini oats? It sounds kind of strange, but zucchini bread works! Adding zucchini to your oats isn't THAT far fetched ;) Who knows, it may just become your new favorite breakfast!

Not only does the zucchini add a great hint of green, but it adds a TON of volume, fiber and nutrients. Zucchinis are very low calorie, containing so saturated fats or cholesterol. They are also a good source of potassium, containing moderate levels of B-complex vitamins like thiamine, pyridoxine, riboflavin and minerals like iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. 

So what are you waiting for? Adding this simple ingredient to your morning bowl of oats will not only make a larger bowl (meaning you can eat less) but it will increase the fiber and nutrient content making you feel fuller longer. And I bet you won't even taste it ;)

Ingredients

  • 1 part oats
  • 2 parts zucchini, shredded
  • 2 parts water
  • Optional mix-ins/toppings:
    • Cinnamon, protein powder, egg whites, nut butters, seeds, fruits, granola, honey etc.

Instructions

  1. Combine oats, zucchini, water and a dash of salt in a small pot over medium heat. I used 1/3 cup oats, 2/3 cup zucchini & 2/3 cup water
  2. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally until water is absorbed. 
  3. Add optional mix-ins and serve with whatever toppings your heart desires!

See, easy! I personally added egg whites and protein powder to this bowl of zoats, along with fresh blueberries and peanut butter on top. This bowl was low in sugar, high in protein and fiber and had me full for hours! It was the perfect pre-workout breakfast. 

Pumpkin (Protein) Gingerbread-men Pancakes

From Christmas lights to holiday music playing on every radio station, it seems like you just can't escape the holiday spirit. But why would you want to? I say breakfast should be no exception! Which is exactly why I decided to make these pancakes in the form of gingerbread men! Aren't they cute? 

Pumpkin (Protein) Gingerbread-men Pancakes

This recipe can also be made in a traditional pancake shape. Gingerbread men just seemed more fun and festive ;)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 6 tbs egg white OR 2 whole eggs
  • 1 scoop cinnamon protein (I used cellucor cinnamon swirl, but any protein powder would work. Different flours should work as well if you don't want "protein pancakes")
  • 1 tbs flax seed meal
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Directions

  1. Mix together all ingredients.
  2. Lightly grease a large skillet and gingerbread-men molds with cooking spray, butter, oil etc.  
  3. Fill each mold with about 1/4 of pancake mixture.
  4. Add a few drops of water to the edges of the skillet and cover with a lid. This will allow the pancakes to steam and cook a bit faster, making them easier to flip and still hold their shape.
  5. After about 2 minutes, flip your gingerbread men and allow to cook for an additional minute or two.
  6. Serve with blueberry buttons and pumpkin spice eyes (optional, but highly recommended)

Nutrition: (Serves 1) 260 calories 3g fat, 17g carbs & 39g protein

This recipe is super easy to make, adorable AND good for you! The protein in these pancakes will easily keep you full until your next meal and give you plenty of energy to get through your day. I hope you enjoy and happy holidays :)

~Mandy

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread | Gluten Free & Paleo!

Nothing screams the holidays like homemade bread. Unfortunately, for people that are paleo or gluten free often have to pass on these delicious breads. Luckily I have found a solution! This banana bread recipe uses coconut flour, making it not only gluten free and paleo, but it also has no refined sugar. Perfect for any type of diet, no one needs to feel left out :)

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 30-40 minutes. Serves 12. Can also be made vegan with suggested substitutions.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 Tbs honey (or maple syrup)*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs, room temperature (or vegan egg substitute)*
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together wet ingredients (through eggs) until well combined.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips).
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing as you go. Mae sure there are no clumps of coconut flour! You may want to use a large fork to make sure to get all of the clumps out.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Per Slice: 117 calories 5g fat, 15g carbs & 3g protein

This recipe can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or even as a dessert! I personally enjoy a slice with a hot cup of tea and a bit more peanut butter smeared on top. Delicious!

~Mandy

Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffle For One

Gluten free foods that actually taste good are often hard to come by and making them yourself can be just as difficult. This is especially true when it comes to baking! There are a multitude of gluten free flours and other substitutions, but replacing 1 cup of all purpose flour for 1 cup of coconut flour is NOT the same. Don't try it, you've been warned..

Let's just say there were a lot of attempts at making this waffle recipe and many, many failures. But I've finally perfected it!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Waffle For One 

While this recipe only serves one, it can easily be multiplied to serve as many people as you wish.

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbs  melted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 eggs
  • 2 Tbs almond milk
  • 2 Tbs pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Melt butter (or coconut oil) and add remaining wet ingredients to a small bowl.
  4. Slowly mix in wet ingredients with the dry.
  5. When waffle iron is heated up, add batter and spread it out evenly.
  6. Cook according to waffle iron's directions and remove when edges become crispy.
  7. Serve immediately with toppings of choice!

I personally topped my waffle with some honey roasted almond slivers, pure maple syrup and a few pumpkin spice morsels. Yum! 

Hopefully this recipe will help alleviate the trail and error that comes with gluten-free cooking. I hope you enjoy!

~Mandy

Building the Perfect Smoothie

There's a reason premade smoothies are so popular - making them yourself can be so daunting! It doesn't have to be though. I have a simple formula to help you create your best ever smoothie. The different combinations are endless so you can be creative and actually have fun getting in your daily fruits and veggies  ;)

Step 1: Base

About 1 cup total

  • Milk (almond, cow, coconut)
  • Coconut water
  • Juice
  • Yogurt

Step 2: Fruits & Veggies

About 1 1/2 cups, fresh or frozen! *Frozen fruits will help thicken your smoothie

  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Pineapple
  • Orange
  • Mango
  • Spinach 
  • Kale
  • Avocado
  • Carrot

Step 3: Boosts & "Flavah"

About 1-2 tbs

  • Protein powder
  • Chia seeds
  • Nut butter
  • Oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa
  • Honey

Choose your combination, bled it up and enjoy! But why stop there? You can make your smoothie a little bit more interesting and more like a meal by putting it into a bowl and adding your favorite toppings! Here's a recipe for my personal favorite smoothie bowl:

Mandy's Green Goddess PowerBowl

  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1 very ripe frozen banana
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 tbs vanilla protein powder
  • Toppings: fresh strawberries, freeze dried blueberries, coconut chips, peanut butter

This smoothie bowl is super filling, chock-full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and healthy fats. The toppings give a great texture and you can't even taste the spinach; it mostly just tastes like banana! This would be perfect for a picky eater or anyone who wants an easy way to include more fruits and veggies into their diet.

2 Ingredient Pancakes for a Quick & Healthy Breakfast

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 Mash it all together and cook on LOW. 

Mash it all together and cook on LOW. 

Two ingredient pancakes. Sounds crazy right? But trust me, it works!

I don't know about you, but I feel like I never have time for a good breakfast. I'm constantly  shoveling whatever food I can find into my face before I have to run out the door before work or school. Well I've found the solution! These pancakes only require TWO ingredients and take FIVE minutes to make. Just a banana and two eggs!

Mash them together and BAM pancake batter. Just make sure to cook them nice and low so they don't burn!

These pancakes come out kind of dark, but that's  just because of the sugar content of the banana. Your pancakes aren't actually burning, I promise :)

I'm sure you could also add coconut flour or protein powder to make a thicker, more substantial batter. Cinnamon is also a great addition! Maybe chocolate chips or blueberries too? The options are endless!

Personally, I like to top my pancakes with peanut butter. No syrup necessary because the bananas are so sweet!

RECIPE

  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional: peanut butter, chocolate chips, blueberries, coconut flour, protein powder etc. Whatever your heart desires!
  1. Mash banana with a fork until nice and smooth. A few chunks are okay.
  2. Add two eggs and beat with a fork.
  3. Heat a pan over low-medium heat and either spray with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease with your favorite oil (I recommend coconut oil due to its high smoke point)
  4. Spoon pancakes onto pan and wait until small bubbles begin forming.
  5. Flip pancakes and allow to cook for an additional minute or so.
  6. Plate pancakes, top with your desired toppings and enjoy!

As is, these pancakes are gluten free and paleo friendly! I'm sure they could even be made vegan with the substitution of a flax egg. Feel free to try it out and expiriment!

~Mandy