Mixed Nut Cereal: To make mixed nut cereal, combine these ingredients in a bowl: ⅓ cup mixed nuts, ⅓ cup berries of choice, ¼ to ½ of a banana cut in slices, ⅓ to ½ cup milk of choice and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.
— Allison Mertens
Ingredient Improv: Mix in some whole grains, such as bran flakes or puffed brown rice. Make it hot by adding quick oats and microwaving until warmed through. Add a pinch of nutmeg or cardamom for extra flavor.
Breakfast Sweet Potato: The night before, roast one (or more) sweet potato. In the morning, microwave the sweet potato for 30 to 60 seconds, then top it with Greek yogurt, banana slices, a drizzle of nut butter and a dash of cinnamon.
— Amanda Izquierdo, MPH, RD, LDN
Ingredient Improv: To add a crunchy element, top with whole-grain cereal, granola or chopped nuts. An alternate, less-sweet option is to top the sweet potato with low-fat cottage cheese.
Breakfast Smoothie: My breakfast smoothie is quick, portable, high in fiber and yummy. In a blender, add 1 cup soy milk, 1 banana, ¼ cup dry oatmeal, 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder and a few ice cubes. Blend and enjoy!
— Joyce B. Patterson, MPH, RDN, BC-ADM
Ingredient Improv: Use any kind of dairy or other plant-based milk and add low-fat or fat-free yogurt for extra creaminess and protein. For a thicker consistency, use a frozen banana. Add extra fruit, such as berries or pineapple chunks, and your favorite greens such as spinach and kale for an extra punch of nutrition.
Simple Overnight Lunch: Layer frozen cooked rice or cauliflower rice, frozen sliced peppers, frozen corn, leftover protein such as shredded or chopped grilled chicken or frozen beefless crumbles, and canned (and drained) black beans. Top with salsa. This flavorful meal will thaw overnight and is a simple, delicious lunch to reheat the next day.
— Kayla Girgen, RD
Ingredient Improv: Add shredded cheese, canned jalapeños and a dash of cumin to the mix for extra flavor. Eat with a fork or scoop up with baked tortilla chips, pile onto a corn tortilla or stuff into a whole-wheat pita pocket.
Beans & Greens: In a deep skillet, sauté a chopped yellow onion in oil. Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes and 2 cans of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans. Bring to a simmer and add several handfuls of any type of chopped greens. Cover and cook until greens are wilted. Serve over prepared rice or add chopped cooked sausage, if desired.
— Julia Jordan, MS, RD, LD
Ingredient Improv: It’s easy to customize this dish, from swapping in kidney, navy or black beans to using collards, spinach or kale and beyond. To boost flavor, sauté sliced garlic with onion and season with black pepper or red pepper flakes before serving.