When I wake up, the first two words you’ll usually hear me grumble are “sore” and “hungry”! I’m almost always in a state of recovery from the previous day’s workout, running low on fuel in my body’s tank and, honestly, a bit foggy because coffee isn’t ready. I need a hearty, healthy, healing breakfast that’s ready to go STAT. A favorite “stumble to the fridge” morning meal is Toasted Coconut, Turmeric & Ginger Overnight Oats.
Yes, overnight oats. Before hitting the hay, I dump all the wholesome ingredients in a mason jar, give it a shake, and stick in the fridge. Sometimes I meal prep enough for three days to even cut out that night-time obligation At the crack of dawn, I’ll I have to do is unscrew the lid and spoon into my mouth right out of the jar. Read on to find out just how easy this make-ahead recipe is and how the turmeric and ginger will help you feel fabulous. Continue reading →
Feedback is in from friends, family and those of y’all around the Internets . . . . this hearty, healthy Banana Quinoa, Oats ‘n More Breakfast Bake is a winner! Other nutritious ingredients I’ve snuck inside this make-ahead breakfast meal — hemp seeds, chia seeds and cacoa nibs!
Grape-Nuts has been around forever, for almost 120 years! I’ve been eating it for decades and my parents grew up with it too – probably because their own moms and dads knew it was a great way to start the day.
While snacking on Post® Grape-Nuts right out of the box or pouring it in a bowl and covering with milk is hearty, filling and exactly the way my mother served it to me (with raisins on top as a bonus), sometimes a girl wants a little more decadent flavor in her day – like, errr, chocolate-covered cherries. Nothing wrong with that, even if being mindful of New Year’s resolutions. I’m sharing right here and now that my New Year’s resolution is to start each day with a delicious, chocolate-inspired breakfast and thanks to my nutrient-dense recipe for Overnight Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Pudding, I’m prepared for sweet success!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. The opinions and text are all mine.
Popcorn makes a super on-the-go snack swap, especially as a replacement for common convenience options like granola bars, chips, and cookies that can be higher sugar and fat. Naturally gluten-free and considered a whole grain, popcorn is high in dietary fiber and low in calories – plus for the visual eater, a serving of popped corn looks like a whole LOT of food! I’m especially fond of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn, their Healthy Pop line gets the thumbs up from Weight Watchers and most products are 94% fat-free and have just around 100 calories per serving (give or take) – that’s about 20 calories per cup!
So, y’all know I’m big on getting protein into my snack too! A bag (5 cups) of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn has about 4 grams of protein, which actually surprised me – I thought it would have zip, nada, none! I was wrong, popcorn does have protein! But, I like to pump it up with additional whole food add-ins – especially seeds! Tiny little seeds are powerhouses of nutrition – they are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, protein and essential vitamins and minerals. For example, hulled hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally complete sources of plant-protein – containing every essential amino acid an fatty acid the body needs for optimal health.
Check out my recipe for Sweet & Salty Four-Seed Pop Corn Balls made with Healthy Pop Kettle Corn hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. Instead of a caramel to hold it together like you’d find in a traditional popcorn ball, I’ve whipped up a nutritious binder made from sunflower butter and agave syrup, a low-glycemic index, natural sweetener. This great snack or healthy dessert recipe is gluten-free, nut-free and has no added refined sugar – so enjoy and #haveaJOLLYTIME !
Also, please check out the Healthy Pop Challenge – get a free workout band, enter to win a FitBit Altra and grab coupons for JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. I love the idea that they have to workout while waiting for popcorn to pop – even little bursts of exercise add up. Depending on the length of your popping session and microwave settings (plan on an average of 4 minutes), you can get quite a few exercises done. Try these simple exercises in the kitchen while you wait:
Perform each exercise for 1 minute, as many times as you can safely, while you wait for JOLLY TIME Pop Corn to cook:
Overhead band pulls (or pushup against wall, if no band)
Prepare popcorn according to package instructions. Pour in large mixing bowl and let cool.
In small bowl, mix together hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and chia seeds. Set aside.
In small sauce pan, add sunflower seed butter and agave syrup, stir to combine. Bring to medium heat, stirring continuously. Once mixture begins to bubble, keep cooking and stirring for an additional 30 seconds.
Drizzle hot sunflower-agave mixture over popcorn and quickly stir to combine as evenly as possible. Sprinkle in seed mixture into popcorn mixture in about 3 batches, stirring quickly each time to distribute.
Spray 8 x 8-inch brownie pan with baking spray and fill with popcorn mixture. Using a piece of wax paper and hands or back of spoon, press down over entire top to compact firmly.
Sometimes I stumble onto something while shopping and I’m all like “ooooh, I want that so bad. . . but I totally don’t need it right now, I have way too many.” Usually, I cave in . . . and quick! Case in point, the continually growing size of my already enormous running shoe, compression sock, flip flop, trucker hat, miniature bowl, exotic herb, flavored tea and protein powder collections.
Yeah, yeah, I have a stock pile of protein powder of all different ilks and ingredients . . . some of it I found, must most found me for review or recipe development. Naming a “best” protein powder is really so subjective, basically it boils down to individual nutrition needs, lifestyle, taste and tolerance. But, dang, some protein powders are definitely choices than others! My practical side tells me to use up all my stash before I actually BUY the product I prefer.But let me tell you, I recently found a protein powder that had me running to the trash with my mother lode of “meh” products – it’s the Organic Protein from The Natural Citizen. By the way, use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com
This new plant-based Organic Protein powder is totally on point to boost your next smoothie, but I’ve also used it for baking everything from pancakes and cookies – check out my Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie recipe below! This protein powder is sublimely simple, and that gives me control over what I do or don’t put it my recipe. On its own, this powdered supplement has just four organic, whole food ingredients – hemp protein, brown rice protein, pea protein, and sacha inchi protein. One serving delivers 15 grams of vegan protein per serving along with fiber, omega fatty acids and amino acids – oh, and for only 80 calories! Plus, there are no added flavors and other undesirable “extras” so the taste of Mother Nature’s other wholesome food can shine through.
So, raise your hand if you want a cookie for breakfast but thing you shouldn’t?! Well, my single-serve Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie will make you think you’re really splurging first thing out of bed, but actually its super healthy and balanced with 25 grams protein for sustained energy and muscle-making and 25 clean carbs to help power your body and brain for the morning’s tasks, workouts or whatever you do! In about 15 minutes from start to finish, you’ll be enjoying a super-sized, under-300-calorie cookie with your morning coffee – and that’s my cup of tea! It’s also gluten-free, if that is a concern.
The Natural Citizen has a full line of other wonderful products that are all non-gmo, organic, gluten-free and vegan including Organic Digest, Organic Greens, and Organic Energy.As a totally on-the-go person who probably doesn’t get as much sleep as she needs, I’ve fallen in love with the Organic Energy. This blend features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support – no more getting jacked up on too much caffeine. I found the ripest, sweetest Texas melon yesterday and blended up this recipe for a Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie.
This is how you make the Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie:
Blend together and pour in tall glass (or melon bowl):
What is your go-to morning meal? Are you getting enough protein at breakfast (you need around 25g)?! What are your non-negotiables in a protein powder? What do you “collect”? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)
I’m on this mug muffin kick lately. I have a zillion iterations, from Lemon Raspberry Protein Muffin Mug to this Blueberry Pecan Oat Protein Mug Muffin that I’m sharing today. I usually mix up this protein-packed breakfast scoop by scoop in the morning, but I love this one so much that I big-batched it! Meal prep, y’all – I can’t believe I’m so organized. Haha.
So, come morning, when I’m not feeling human, all that’s left to be done with my breakfast is add two liquid ingredient (egg white and almond milk) to my mix and stick in the microwave. I tried to use an egg white powder in the mix to make even more convenient, but I didn’t like that so much – plus, how is cartoned egg-white not convenient?! Other things to love about this Blueberry Pecan Oat Mug Muffin recipe in addition to the homey taste is the wholesome nutrition – it’s gluten-free, sugar-free, low-cal and packed with protein (32 grams protein and about 240 total calories per serving).
When I say that this is a Master Mix Recipe, it means you can swap out the blueberries and pecans for the other dehydrated fruit and nuts of your choosing — bananas & peanut, pineapple & macadamia nut, raspberries & almond are just some ideas!
I ran the nutritional info for you tracker types!
Instead measuring out the oats, chia seeds and pecans separately, I like to just use Love Grown FoodsSuper Oats with Chia & Nuts – that stuff ROCKS my world.
Here’s a run down on most of the products I used in this recipe:
What is your go-to easy meal in the morning? If you were swapping out the fruit and nuts, what would you choose? Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer
1 1/4 cupegg whiteparceled out 3 tablespoons per serving
To make master mix, add protein powder, baking mix, oats, chia seed, pecans, stevia and dehydrated blueberries to large mason jar or storage container and shake to blend.
To prepare individual serving, add approximately ½ cup mix into large mug or microwave-safe bowl. Stir in 3 tablespoons of egg white and 5 tablespoons of almond milk. Microwave on high for between 1 and 2 minutes – exact time will vary by microwave strength (the magic time at my house is 90 seconds). Mug cake will rise dramatically while cooking and then settle back down and is “done” when no longer wet and has consistency of a bread pudding.
*In lieu of these three ingredients, you can swap out with just a little skosh more than 1 ¼ cup of Love Grown Food Super Oats with Chia & Nuts
Yes, I have been guilty of eating REAL cookie dough and a lot of it. Once as a kid, my indulgent grandmother let me eat as much as I wanted while my annoyed mother looked shaking her head and telling me I was going to get sick. So, what happened? I barfed . . . mothers are always right. While I still like to make “real” chocolate chip cookies for the family now and again, I try to stay out of the dough (as much as I can). My recipe for Nut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Bites is a healthier option with no raw eggs, no gluten, and no added sugar except for a few chocolate chips.
With less than 100 calories and almost 5 grams of protein, one these yummy little no-cook treats also make a sensible alternative to eating that whole chub of cookie dough and turning into the Pillsbury Dough Boy (but, darn if he isn’t the cutest thing).
Your sweet tooth will be satisfied with the smattering of chocolate chips, but you can also omit these from the recipe.
I’ve added a whey protein powder for sustained energy, muscle-making and to prevent that sugar crash that comes with eating too many sweets. The protein also makes this no-bake recipe a great choice for your post-workout or run recovery snack. You can use your favorite brand of protein powder, but note that it may change the nutritional info depending on the brand and exact ingredient list.
Also, I used Nuttzo Seven Nut & Seed Butter which is my nut butter of choice – again, you can sub in whatever almond butter, peanut butter or other nut butter you like, but I highly recommend this one because it is packed with so much extra wholesome goodness. Save 20% on your order with my discount code FITFORK-20 at Nuttzo.com.
I’m making an extra batch this week to take along on our road trip to Spartan Houston! It has been raining buckets all over Texas so it looks like it’s going to be ANOTHER wild, wet and super muddy course. If you’re thinking about running an upcoming Spartan Race (check calendar here), there is a new limited-time discount code SPRING20 you can use at checkout to save 20% .
Add protein powder, almond meal and oat flour in bowl; stir to combine. Stir in chia seeds and flax seeds (if using a nut butter that already includes these seeds, simply omit these ingredients).
Add nut butter, 2 tablespoons of almond milk and stevia to bowl. Use spatula to combine well; mixture should be a bit crumbly, but hold together when pinched between fingers. If too dry, add additional almond milk a teaspoon at a time.
Stir in mini chocolate chips.
Roll approximately 1 tablespoon between palms of had to form ball; repeat with remaining dough.
My mornings can’t be complicated. I have a hard enough time getting out of bed at 5:15 am and then am greeted by a dog extremely needy for attention, kids to get ready for school, email to respond to, social media to monitor and loads of other things – like dishes and laundry! All this needs to happen before I head out the door for my run or gym time– and, believe me, that’s non-negotiable. I need a breakfast that is pretty much ready and waiting for me!
In the summer, a smoothie bowl (like my Orange Pistachio Almond Bowl one make with Almond Breeze Chocolate Almondmilk) or cold Greek yogurt and fruit are just fine, but in the winter, I need and easy, quick breakfast that will fuel me through my workout and warm me up from the inside. My recipe for Warm Overnight Java Brownie Chia-Oats to the rescue – it’s my hybrid take on traditional overnight oats and chia puddings.
This healthy breakfast recipe takes just a few minutes to prep – I do it after dinner when I’m making the kids’ lunchboxes because it needs at least 3 hours to sit in the fridge and do its thing. In the morning, the nutritious ingredients absorbed the liquid and await a quick blast in the microwave to warm. I can usually barely wait to get my hands on that hot mug of goodness! You can also eat this the chia oats cold too, I just prefer hot!
Time saving tip: Mix up everything in the microwave-safe mug or bowl you plan to eat from – who has time for extra dish washing?!
Since you know I’m a healthy food and fitness nerd, let me just tell you about some of the awesome ingredients in this easy overnight oat recipe and how each helps support optimal health and peak performance for your sport.
Almond Milk*: With just 30 calories per 8-ounce serving, almondmilk is a sensible addition to any meal or recipe. It also has 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, is an excellent s source of vicatims D and E and is low on the Glycemic index. Key for athletes is, adequate vitamin D levels promote good bone density, innate immunity, muscle wasting, and exercise-related inflammation and immunity. It is also suggested, this nutrient could help prevent stress fractures.
Whole Grain Oats: Oats are whole grain by nature add fill you up with lots of fiber, have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and help stabilize blood sugar. Athletes can count on the quality complex carbs in oats to provide non-crashing energy and to refuel muscles after a taxing workout. I really love the Nuts and Seeds Super Oats by LoveGrownFoods.com.
Chia Seeds: The industrious Aztecs had a good thing going with chia seeds. This ancient superfood is loaded with nutrition despite it’s teeny-tiny size. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, more calcium than milk, more Omega-3s than salmon, more iron than spinach, and more antioxidants than blueberries.
Maca Powder: Nearly magical maca powder is derived from a root vegetable indigenous to Peru – don’t confuse it with Macha green tea powder. This natural boost has been prized for thousands of years for its ability to boost stamina, endurance and hormonal balance. It includes vital nutrients such fatty acids, fiber, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. Don’t miss my past Maca Mint Chip Smoothie.
Cacao Powder: Cacao (or cocoa) powder has been linked to lower blood pressure, a boost in blood ﬂow to the muscles, and reduced cardiovascular demand during exercise. Cacao powder also lowers an athletes perception of fatigue and the boost of caffeine has been shown to improve performance. The higher percentage of cacao in your powder, the better. Try this one.
Coffee: This essential morning elixir has been suggested to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and boost metabolism. It also actually has some beneficial nutrients like B vitamins, manganese and potassium and the natural epinephrine kick from the caffeine can improve focus and athletic performance.
*Typically, I purchase the chilled almond milk from the “dairy” aisle – however, I always like to stock the pantry with shelf-stable Almond Breeze Almondmilk so that I always have a supply on hand for emergency rations and 11th hour recipe inspirations.
What are your eating for breakfast these days? Are you a fan of overnight oat or chia puddings? Did you run a race this weekend or do something fun in winter wonderland? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer
This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk. However, the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own.
Warm Mocha Brownie Overnight Chia Oats
A welcomed wake-up call and boost of sustaining morning energy, this easy make-ahead breakfast recipe gives you more out of your mug and more out of your day!