My favorite breakfast/treat

Fall is almost here but I’m relishing these last days of summer.  This summer, my favorite breakfast/snack/dessert was banana ice cream.  At this point, if you follow any vegan instagram accounts, I’m sure you’ve heard of banana ice cream (also called “nice cream”.)  This delicious frozen treat is made by freezing a few bananas and then blending the frozen ‘nanas with a little liquid (almond milk, coconut water, water, etc.) in a food processor.

I’m obsessed with eating banana ice cream for breakfast and trying different variations.  I love how simple it is to whip up a bowl of nice cream and I love how healthy and filling it is.  The trick is to only use a few bananas (you don’t need to eat 10 bananas at a time contrary to what fad diets might say) and and 3/4-1 cup. of another frozen fruit (if you want more flavor than just banana).  For toppings, I like using a sprinkle of oats or granola, cacao nibs, chocolate chips, or a table spoon of peanut or almond butter.  You can also add protein powder into the food processor if you’re looking for a post-workout meal or snack.

I’m sharing the nice cream creation I made this morning below.  What is your favorite way to eat nice cream?   If you’re looking for some ideas on how to make this deliciously healthy meal, be sure to follow me on instagram @vitaminvalentine for more nice cream recipes and daily food inspiration 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Nice Cream

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Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen peeled bananas (I usually just break the bananas into 2-3 pieces each before freezing)
  • 1/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (100% cocoa powder is usually vegan. I buy this at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain cereal
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. vegan chocolate chips (I buy these at Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

  • Blend frozen bananas, coconut water, and unsweetened cocoa powder together until creamy (about ~3 minutes).
  • Scoop out nice cream and transfer to a bowl.
  • Top with cereal, peanut butter, and chocolate chips
  • Enjoy and eat up, this can melt fast in warm weather!

-Jess

Oat-rageous Oatmeal Ideas

Left: Oats with apples and almond butter. Right: Oats with Heritage Flakes (dry cereal) and a peach

Left: Oats with apples and almond butter. Right: Oats with Heritage Flakes (dry cereal) and a peach

Have you grown tired of eating your oatmeal with brown sugar? Well, prepare to be amazed with some delicious oatmeal ideas.

Before I get to that, let’s discuss how healthy oats actually are! Oatmeal has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), decrease overall inflammation in the body, decrease blood pressure, and keep you full for a long time. When choosing an oatmeal variety, stick to the old-fashioned kind and not the instant one-minute kind and try to stay away from any with added sugars or fake dried fruit in the ingredients.

Here are some delicious, nutritious oatmeal ideas for your eating pleasure:

  • Cook oatmeal according to the directions on the box. Then chop an apple and add to the bowl. Top with 1-2 tbsp. of peanut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. You can also slice a banana in addition or in place of an apple.

    mmm Oatmeal, Apples, & Peanut butter!

    mmm Oatmeal, Apples, & Peanut butter!

  • Prepare the oats, and blend berries in a blender. Mix the berries in with the oats and not only do you get a huge amount of nutrients in that bowl, you also get a beautifully colored masterpiece. Top with other fruit, such as an orange and coconut flakes for a nice finish. To add some healthy fats, you can also add almond butter or mixed nuts.photo-13
  • Cook oats, and add in canned pumpkin and top with raisins and cinnamon.
  • Use oats in a savory dish by replacing them in any recipe that calls for rice, quinoa, barley, or any other grain. Oats have a mild flavor, and when seasoned correctly can be done right in savory dishes.
  • Add a fiber-full  dry cereal to your oats, if you want some extra fiber!
  • Add oats to your favorite cookie or muffin recipe for some fiber. You may have to increase the amount of oil or liquid ingredients, but unlike flour, oats will not immediately soak up the liquid ingredients so play around with the recipe you’re using.

    Oats in a muffin makes this a healthy fibrous breakfast

    Oats in a muffin makes this a healthy fibrous breakfast

  • Eat oats for dessert! Cook oats, and then add 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder (I like 100% cacao, unsweetened). Add a tbsp. of brown sugar, some cinnamon, almond or peanut butter, and your favorite fruit.photo 5

 

Those are my favorite ways to use oats. What are some of your favorites? Feel free to post a comment if you’d like to share, and don’t forget to visit and like my new Facebook page for Vitamin Valentine for additional daily nutrition, motivation, and health news and updates.

 

-Jess

Breaking Out of the Skipping-Breakfast Habit

How many people have time to eat breakfast in the morning? Mornings can be a hectic time for most, and hunger often goes unnoticed until later in the day. Unfortunately, hunger only builds and skipping breakfast can lead to excessive consumption of calories at lunch, snack times, and dinner (oh, and at “fourthmeal”, thank you Taco Bell for coining that term).

Eating breakfast is a simple favor you can do for yourself that can benefit you in the long run. Perhaps you’re not in the habit of eating breakfast because you just don’t have an appetite upon waking up? One solution is to wake up 10-15 minutes earlier and go through your normal morning routine of getting ready for work, school, etc. When you’re done, you may actually have small twinges of hunger that you didn’t notice before, if not, something like a smoothie or juice may be appropriate so that you’re not uncomfortably full. Allowing yourself that extra 10-15 minutes at the end of your normal morning routine enables you to prepare something to eat without feeling rushed for time.

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A whole-grain pumpkin spice muffin (recipe to come soon!) and a green smoothie (recipe suggestion listed below). These foods make a healthy breakfast and provide energy throughout the morning.

Listed below are some other recipes and suggestions for a quick, easy, healthy first meal of the day!

  • When picking a cereal, look for whole grains. Avoid sugary, processed cereals that will cause you to crash mid-morning. Some of my favorite cereals are by the company Nature’s Path, which uses organic ingredients and can be found in health food stores (and in the health food aisle of conventional supermarkets).
  • Find yourself a blender and hop on the green-smoothie train. Use 1 banana (fresh or frozen), 1-2 cups baby spinach, kale, or other green, leafy vegetable.  Add a liquid component. You can use almond milk, soymilk, etc. You may want to add frozen or fresh berries for a fruity sweetness. Blend well!
  • Oatmeal is a great way to start your day. Cook old-fashioned oats in the microwave for 3 minutes (keep an eye on the bowl though, as sometimes it can overflow). You can add nuts, fresh or dried fruit, peanut or almond butter, or coconut flakes with banana and mango for a tropical treat!
  • Soy yogurt  with granola and berries is also a flavorful way to get in some healthy goodness in the A.M. Look for granola with at least 3 grams of fiber and watch out for added sugars. Bear Naked brand makes an excellent granola, and if you’re watching your calories, try to halve the portion size and increase the amount of berries in this breakfast
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Whole grain cereal (here I used brown rice crisps with added raisins (adds a few grams of fiber) and half a banana with Trader Joe’s dairy free coconut yogurt. Quick and easy!

There are many other ways to enjoy a healthy breakfast. Keep reading my blog and I’ll post some muffin recipes that are surprisingly nutritious while sinfully delicious.