New York Registered Dietitian Discusses Alternative Breakfasts

Posted on: September 19, 2013

Boost Up Your Breakfast!

By: Kimberly Stein, RD, CDN

Let me ask you a question. If you were planning a cross-country road trip, would you fill up the gas tank? Well, the same applies when it comes to starting off your day with breakfast. Not having breakfast is just like not filling up the gas tank. I bet you have heard countless times “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”—and rightly so! There is ample evidence to support that including a healthy breakfast each day has multiple benefits. In honor of Better Breakfast Month, I want to share some of the ways breakfast can benefit our bodies and also, how you can spice up your typical routine.

What are some ways eating breakfast will help me?

A study done in 2003 by the American Journal of Epidemiology stated that those who skipped breakfast where 4.5 times more likely to be obese as those who ate breakfast regularly.  The study also showed that those who eat breakfast are more likely to cut out an extra 100 calories per day. Including breakfast as part of your day can also help with blood sugar control which helps lower your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A 2011 study in the Nutrition Research & Practice Journal stated that those individuals who included breakfast were more likely to eat less fat. They were also more likely to include nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and fiber into their diet. The bottom line is this: having breakfast each day can make a major difference in your overall health and well-being!

What are some better breakfast choices to make?

Since breakfast is touted as the most important meal of the day, it’s best to make smart choices regarding it. This comes down to what is nutrient dense versus calorically dense. A calorically dense food means that a lot of calories are packed into a small serving size. A nutrient dense food means that it is chock-full of nutrients but is very low in calories. Choosing a breakfast with lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains is the way to go. A breakfast high in protein and fiber will fill you up and keep you more full for a longer period of time keeping you satisfied until your mid-day meal.

How can I make breakfast more creative?

Here are five fun ways you can try out for your next morning meal:

  1. Skip the syrup on your waffles and spread some peanut butter on instead. Top with raisins or nuts for an extra crunch.
  2. Create a high fiber/high protein breakfast by mixing bran flakes with Greek yogurt. Throw in some fruit to make it twice as sweet!
  3. Try sprinkling flax seeds over your cereal, oatmeal, smoothie, or even eggs! Flax is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential nutrients for brain and heart health.
  4. Instead of the usual oatmeal, try a bowl of brown rice instead. Slice in some fruit, a touch of peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a delicious treat.
  5. Create your own breakfast pizza! Top a whole wheat pita pocket with tomato sauce, mixed veggies and shredded cheese. Throw it in the oven until the cheese melts.

Try some of these recipes.

Along with the recipes below, Northern Westchester Hospital has an extensive list of healthy and delicious recipes to try today!

Quick Breakfast Taco
Courtesy of


2 corn tortillas
1 tbsp. salsa
2 tbsp. shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
½ cup liquid egg substitute


1. Top tortillas with salsa and cheese. Heat in microwave until cheese is melted, about 30 seconds.
2. Meanwhile, coat a small nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat; add egg substitute and cook, until eggs are cooked through, about 90 seconds.
3. Divide the scrambled egg between the tacos. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 2 tortillas

Calories 153
Protein 17g
Fat 2g
Sat Fat 1g
Carbohydrates 15g
Fiber 0g
Sodium 453mg
Cholesterol 3mg

Cranberry Museli
Courtesy of


½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
½ cup unsweetened or fruit-juice-sweetened cranberry juice
6 tbsp. old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking or steel-cut)
2 tbsp. dried cranberries
1 tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. wheat germ
2 tsp. honey
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt


1. Combine yogurt, juice, oats, cranberries, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, honey, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cover and refrigerate for a least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size ½ cup

Calories 209
Protein 8g
Fat 4g
Sat Fat 1g
Mono 1g
Carbohydrates 37g
Fiber 3g
Sodium 190mg
Cholesterol 4mg

Pistachio Chai Muffins
Courtesy of


7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 ¾ cups)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2 chai blend tea bags, opened
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
¼ cup butter, melted
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/3 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. water


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk. Cut open tea bags and add tea to flour mixture.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture. Combine buttermilk, butter, 1 tsp. vanilla and egg in bowl and whisk together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring just until moist.
4. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups and coat liners with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle nuts evenly over batter
5. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Cook for an additional 5 minutes on a wire rack
6. Combine the remaining ½ tsp vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1 tbsp. water, stirring until smooth. Drizzle evenly over muffins.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 muffin

Calories 192
Protein 3.9g
Fat 6.2g
Sat Fat 2.8g
Mono 2.1g
Carbohydrates 30.5g
Fiber 0.9g
Sodium 259mg
Cholesterol 26 mg