Fresh Ideas for Healthy Meals and Snacks – Ask a Nutritionist

July 4, 2024

Looking for fun and fresh food ideas for you and the family? Tune in to this special follow-up to our episode from June 20th about meal prep - in this episode, our registered and licensed dietitian Brandy shares simple and fun ideas for healthy meals and snacks the whole family will enjoy.

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Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition's “Ask a nutritionist” brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Brandy Buro, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. And we are thrilled to be celebrating 20 years on air, discussing the connection between what you eat and how you feel, while sharing practical, real life solutions for healthier living through balanced nutrition.

So I just want to thank you all so much for your support and listenership over all these years. So if you tuned in, you know that we started a two part episode about meal planning. We had received a question from one of our Dishing Up Nutrition listeners who felt like they were in a rut with meal planning.

So they requested some new family friendly lunch and dinner ideas. So last week I covered some of those basic meal planning strategies and shared a few ideas for lunch and dinner. So today, I'm going to round out this topic by providing some breakfast ideas that have worked really well for my family, but also for many of the clients that I work with.

Prioritize breakfast & balanced breakfast prep ideas

And I think breakfast is a meal that really needs to be prioritized and not skipped. It's too easy to skip breakfast because I think we often run out of time for breakfast. But it does help fuel your body and your brain for the day ahead, and it can help prevent cravings and mindless snacking later in the afternoon and the evening.

So finding ways to incorporate that balanced breakfast can make a huge difference in how you feel. So just as a reminder, when I refer to balanced, I'm referring to a meal that includes some real animal protein, real food carbohydrates from fruits and veggies, and a little natural fat.

So my breakfast ideas are going to focus around that basic formula of what balanced is. And when it comes to breakfast, I really do emphasize the fast part. Many people don't really have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen right away in the morning, so something quick is usually the secret to fitting this meal in. So this usually means planning and prepping that breakfast ahead of time, so that in the morning you can simply reheat it or grab it on your way out of the house that morning.

And one of my favorite go-tos for this is an egg bake or egg muffins. So this is a really simple recipe where you basically combine some scrambled eggs with whatever kind of veggies you like. Maybe some spinach, cherry tomatoes, chopped bell pepper.

You could even throw in a different kind of meat, maybe ham or turkey sausage, maybe some cheese if you can do dairy. And then you can jazz it up with whatever herbs and spices you like. Lately I've been doing a lot of fresh basil and fresh dill from my garden, which has been really nice. And what I love about this recipe is that you can change the veggie combination and the meat and the spices to make it a completely different meal every single week.

And it's a great way to use vegetables leftover from maybe some roasted vegetables or a grilled vegetables or even just some vegetables that you're really not sure what to do with but they need to be used. So it's a great recipe for that too. So basically you mix all of these ingredients together and then you pour it in a baking sheet or a sheet pan, or you could even do it in little muffin tins.

And then you bake that at 375 for about 20 minutes or until the eggs are cooked through. So, love this recipe that you can just store it in the fridge, reheat it in the morning. You can make a double batch, especially if you're cooking for more than one or two, so everybody has some breakfast throughout the week. And I do think that these freeze and reheat really well.

So I always think it's worth your time to make a double batch. And if you do want a more specific recipe than just this kind of basic formula. You can visit our website, and search egg bake. It is one of our most popular breakfast recipes. It's really simple, really tasty. There's also a recipe for sheet pan frittata and crustless quiche. They're both variations on the same idea, but very delicious.

Another one of my go to breakfast options, especially if you're somebody that's not really into eggs, would be a protein shake. A protein shake is a great grab and go breakfast, especially if you make it ahead of time. And with the right ingredients, it can be very balanced and satisfying. And I can throw this together in really just a few minutes.

You really only need three to five minutes to make a protein shake. And as long as I'm making one protein shake, I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to make a triple batch. I'm going to make three all at once. It takes just as long to make three as it does to make one. So this following recipe that I'm going to share with you is intended to make three servings.

And then you just save the leftovers in mason jars in the refrigerator or the freezer. So to make this triple batch, you need to add to a blender, four to five scoops of a good quality protein powder.

Lately, I've been using the Nutrikey Whey Protein Powder, but you could also do the Paleo Protein Powder as a dairy free option. And then you add a full can of full fat canned coconut milk. It's about three and a half ounces. And then fill that can up with some filtered water, throw that in the blender, and then three cups of frozen berries.

And really that's all you need. You have your protein from the protein powder, some real food carbs from the berries, and a healthy fat with that canned coconut milk. If you want, you could add a veggie boost and add in some spinach or kale. I've even done frozen cauliflower rice and just blend it up until it's smooth.

So again, this recipe makes three servings. This way you can have three smoothies and only clean the blender once. And then you have two backup smoothies for breakfast later that week. Or you could even use it as a snack or share with a friend. Wouldn't that be nice?

Another very quick option that you can prepare ahead of time and even make multiple at the same time are yogurt parfaits. So to do this, I like to use plain Greek yogurt. I mix in some of that vanilla whey protein powder or the Paleo Protein Powder for a little extra protein. And then I layer that yogurt mixture with about three quarters of a cup of berries. Then I top that with about a quarter cup of nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter, like peanut butter or almond butter.

And when I make these, I just make them in mason jars, glass mason jars, and I make about three at a time. They store really well in the refrigerator for a good three or four days. So that's another great option.

One other idea for kind of a grab and go breakfast is thinking about eating your protein, your fat, and your carbohydrate as just a la carte options. So I like this option for the, that true grab and go breakfast, because the hardest part is just making sure you have these key ingredients in your pantry or your fridge. So some ideas for you for protein that are grab and go would be hard boiled eggs. Those are pretty simple. You can even buy them pre-hard boiled. Or you can take the time on the weekend to just boil a full dozen and have those ready to grab.

I also really like to have some smoked salmon in the fridge or nitrate free deli meat. Those both make great grab and go proteins. Or you could do like a nitrate free chicken sausage or even a nitrate free meat stick.

Very easy. And then you just pair with that protein a healthy fat. Maybe some sunflower seeds or nuts. I've even done half of an avocado. And then you just need a real food carbohydrate. This could be a small piece of fruit, like an apple or a handful of grapes or a couple of kiwis. Pretty simple. The hardest thing again, is just making sure you have these items on your grocery list. And then you can just grab whatever items you're in the mood for that day. As long as you have that balance of protein, natural fat, and real food carbs.

One last tip for you is a reminder, a reminder that breakfast does not have to be, quote “breakfast foods”. A lot of times I'll even just have my dinner leftovers for breakfast. And it's really satisfying. I know that it's balanced and it keeps me full until lunch. I think so often we're conditioned to think that breakfast needs to be eggs or cereal or bagels, but your body really doesn't care. It really just needs real food in balance just like it does any other time of the day.

So one quick example. Last week, there was only one serving of egg roll in the bowl left in the fridge from dinner the night before. So I knew the family was not going to have that for dinner that night. So I just decided to have it for breakfast, and it was great. So think of leftovers from dinner as a breakfast option.

That's something to keep in mind. It's going to make your life so much easier. That's it for today's show. I hope you got some new, fresh ideas for breakfast, and if you haven't listened to where I take a deeper dive into the meal planning basics along with lunch and dinner ideas, please check that out for even more inspiration.

Thank you all so much for listening to today's episode of Dishing Up Nutrition's “Ask a Nutritionist”. If you found this episode helpful, leave us a review or a rating on your favorite podcast app. That way we can help even more people discover the connection between what they eat and how they feel.

And if you have a nutrition question that you'd like us to answer, please join our private Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook group. Just search Dishing Up Nutrition on Facebook.

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You could also call us at 952-641-5233 and leave your question in our Dishing Up Nutrition voicemail inbox. Either way, don't be shy. If you have a question, just let us know. We're looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks for listening today.

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