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5 Quick Heart Healthy Breakfasts

Whether you’re a busy professional or a parent to on-the-go children (or both!), if you’re like many, sitting down to a healthy breakfast every day can be a big challenge!  But because breakfast provides an opportunity to enjoy heart healthy food and nutrients (like fiber, potassium, and omega-3s), it is a meal that should not be forgotten. 

February is American Heart Month, which is a perfect time to think about the health of your heart.  As it turns out, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and in the world.  Yet, expert bodies suggest that about 80% of heart diseases could be prevented with enhanced education and action.1 Engaging in healthy lifestyles, like getting involved in physical activity and refraining from smoking and secondhand smoke are vital for supporting the health of your heart. 

What you eat matters when it comes to heart health, too.  Choosing nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can positively impact LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.2  This month, if you’d like to support the health of your heart, start with the first meal of the day: breakfast! 

Here are 5 Quick Heart Healthy Breakfast ideas to lend some inspiration.  The best part?  They’re a perfect fit if you’re looking for breakfasts that you can prep ahead of time, too! 

BroccoLeaf Berry Smoothies 

Did you know?  Strawberries are a heart healthy food!  Even the shape of red strawberries resembles a healthy heart!  Strawberries – and other berries – are home to heart healthy phytonutrients called anthocyanins.  Research demonstrates that including berries at least once per week is associated with a significant reduction in death from heart disease and coronary artery disease, and that those who eat more than 3 servings of berries per week have a 34% lower risk of having a stroke.  That’s certainly a reason to eat your berries, right?  3-4 

Making “smoothie packs” with your favorite smoothie ingredients (everything but the liquids!) can be helpful for busy mornings.  Try this BroccoLeaf Berry Smoothie first!  Just combine the BroccoLeaf, strawberries, peach, and banana in a glass jar or reusable bag, store in the refrigerator, and on busy mornings pour all of those ingredients into your blender with the liquids and blend away! 

Avocado Breakfast Toast

Avocado toast is one of the latest healthy breakfast trends among millennials – and for good reason!  No matter what age you are, adding mashed avocado to a slice of whole grain toast delivers heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (the good fats!), plus fiber and potassium, too!  In addition, mashed avocado delivers a heart smart swap for butter or jam.  You can even layer over toppings to your avocado toast, like spicy red pepper flakes, savory sundried tomatoes, or sweet strawberry halves.  Delish! 

Nourishing Grain & Berry Bowls

Healthy grains, like oats, sorghum, and quinoa, can be cooked in large batches at the beginning of the week and relied upon throughout the week to make nourishing grain & berry bowls.  In fact, just one cup of cooked quinoa delivers over 5 grams of fiber (nearly 20% of a woman’s daily needs!), which may help improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.  On busy mornings, simply top your favorite cooked grain with strawberries, walnuts, and melted peanut butter for a fiber-full and tasty breakfast.  Easy! 

Egg Muffins

These Egg Muffins can be prepped on the weekend, reheated, and enjoyed for quick breakfasts throughout the week.  Broccoli, found in these Egg Muffins, delivers a helpful amount of fiber, folate, and potassium.  In this recipe, you can mix in extra vegetables like BroccoLeaf, kale, or rainbow chard to get additional heart-healthy nutrients.  Just don’t fear the egg yolks – research suggests that dietary cholesterol plays lesser of an impact on blood cholesterol than once previously thought.5

Grown Up Ants on a Log

You probably ate the classic Ants on a Log, or celery with peanut butter and raisins, when you were younger – but just because it’s a kid-favorite doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it today!  This healthy breakfast can be created in the evening before a busy morning and stored in the refrigerator for easy, grab-and-go use.  Plus, you can make simple variations to Ants on a Log to suit your other flavor or nutrition preferences.  

Swap out raisins for strawberries, pomegranate arils, or unsweetened dried cranberries.  Swap out peanut butter for Greek yogurt or for another nut butter, like almond butter or cashew butter.  Sprinkle flaxseed, walnuts, or hemp seeds overtop for extra heart healthy omega-3s.  There are so many delicious and nutritious variations to this time honored, kid-friendly snack that make it a heart healthy fit for breakfast for people of any age. 

 

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A heart smart day begins at the start of the day!  What heart healthy breakfast is your favorite?  Share a picture of it on Instagram and tag me @ToriSchmittRDN and my friends here at @FoxyProduce.  We love seeing what you create! 

Looking for more heart healthy meal inspiration?  Check out my dietitian approved Heart Healthy Meal Plan.


References:

1.      February is American Heart Month. American Heart Association. 2018 Feb 1. Accessed February 12, 2018 from http://newsroom.heart.org/even...

2.      Eckel RH, Jakicic JM, Ard JD, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. Circulation. 2013;01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1, originally published November 12, 2013

3.      Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, et al. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(3):895-909.

4.       Cassidy A, Mukamal KJ, Liu L, Franz M, Eliassen AH, Rimm EB. High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Circulation. 2013;127(2):188-196.

5.      Kratz M. Dietary cholesterol, astherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Handb Expp Pharmacol. 2005;(170):195-213. 

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