Eat to Lose Weight

Do you run out the door in the morning with just coffee in your stomach -- or maybe nothing at all? We’re a country of breakfast skippers: Although 93 percent of adults agree that a morning meal is an important part of a healthy diet, more than half of us don’t practice what we preach, according to a recent survey by the International Food Information Council.

What’s your excuse? Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and nutrition consultant for the Chicago Cubs, makes toast out of every reason to avoid starting the day off right.

Breakfast Blow-off: “I’m trying to lose weight.” 

Wake-up Call: Eating in the morning actually helps you slim down. When you’re sleeping, your metabolism -- how you burn calories and fat -- slows to practically a crawl. But a meal revs up your body’s fat-burning ability, says Blatner. Besides the metabolism boost, breakfast gives you willpower. “I think of it as the prevention meal,” she says. “When you eat in the morning, you’ll be less likely to take second helpings at lunch and dinner, and have a better chance of resisting temptations throughout the day, like the bowl of candy at work.”

In fact, four in five successful dieters -- those who have lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off on average for six years -- make time for breakfast every day, according to the National Weight Control Registry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. And don’t let your kids out of the house on an empty stomach either. A recent study of more than 4,000 British schoolchildren found that those who skipped breakfast were 62 to 92 percent more likely to be obese than students who had a morning meal.

Breakfast Blow-off: “I don’t feel like eating in the morning.”

Wake-up Call: Skipping breakfast will leave you sluggish all morning long. By the time you wake up, your body has used up most of its fuel for energy overnight, and your blood sugar is low. If you don’t raise it with food, you’re dooming yourself to feeling fatigued and unfocused for hours. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast improves performance on brainy tasks for both children and adults.

If you’re not hungry shortly after you wake up, you’re probably eating too much at night, says Blatner. Cut back on after-supper snacks and eat less at dinner. “It just takes a couple of days to re-adjust your body to the new schedule,” she says.

Breakfast Blow-off: “I’m running late.”

Wake-up Call: Whether you’ve got to get to work or your workout, there are many good options you can make in five minutes and eat on the run. Blatner’s equation for a balanced breakfast: one whole-grain food (toast, cereal, English muffin) and one protein-rich food (milk, yogurt, nut butter, eggs, turkey bacon), plus at least one serving of produce (any fruit or veggie). According to a recent study at the University of Nottingham, eating a whole-grain breakfast with fruit can help you burn more fat at the gym than chowing down on refined carbs like white bread and doughnuts.

Eating this way is easy and delicious. Try these quick and easy morning fixes:

  • 1 toasted frozen whole-grain waffle topped with fruit sauce made by pureeing ½ cup berries and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. “I’ve got a lot of the Cub players eating this,” says Blatner.
  • Yogurt, cereal and chopped fruit layered in a bowl for a breakfast sundae. “Use low-fat, protein-rich Greek yogurt because it’s thicker and won’t get the cereal soggy,” she suggests.
  • Instant oatmeal with nuts and apples.
  • Sliced hard-boiled eggs (made the night before) on English muffins with a side of fruit.

For kids, Blatner suggests:

  • A peanut butter and strawberry sandwich on whole-wheat bread.
  • Scrambled eggs rolled into a whole-grain tortilla with orange slices on the side.

Breakfast Blow-off: “I don’t like breakfast food.”

Wake-up Call: If you’re not a fan of typical breakfast fare, eat something else that contains the aforementioned three important breakfast components. Dinner leftovers like veggie pizza on whole-grain crust, brown rice with dried fruit and nuts, and even creamy tomato soup with whole-grain croutons all count as a nutritious breakfast. Blatner’s own favorite creation: “I whip low-fat cottage cheese with chives and lemon, and spread that on my whole-grain toast. Then I put a couple of tomato slices on top. It reminds me of Italy.” 

Merry Cherry Punch Recipe

Here’s an easy and nutrient-rich party punch with just 75 calories in every 8-ounce cup. (The typical cup of punch has 150 calories.) You’ll be loading up on powerful anthocyanins -- the antioxidants in tart cherry juice -- which have anti-inflammatory and other heart-healthy properties. Plus, they help relieve muscle and joint soreness.

Bonus: Every cup contains 75 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. Here’s to good health!

Makes 12 servings (1 cup each)


6 cups 100% tart red cherry juice
3 cups light cranberry-pomegranate juice
3 cups calorie-free lemon lime soda
Lemon and lime slices or starfruit for garnish (optional)


1. Combine two juices in large pitcher or bowl. 

2. Add soda right before serving.

3. Garnish punch bowl with fruit if desired.

Nutrition information (per serving):
75 calories, 0 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 235 mg potassium, 10 mg calcium, 0.7 mg iron, 0 IU vitamin A, 45 mg vitamin C, 0 g fiber


More articles from Completely You:

·         19 Healthy Holiday Gifts for Everyone in Your Life

·         Can You Get Through the Holidays Without Overeating?

·         Easy Ways to Feel More Energetic

·         Sneak in Some 'Me' Time During the Holidays

Follow Completely You (@completely_you) on Twitter!

Thanksgiving-inspired Turkey-herb Meatballs

These easy-to-make meatballs are irresistible -- and perfect for Thanksgiving or any time of year. The secret ingredient: a bit of ketchup mixed into the meat and then brushed on top before baking. They come together in minutes and freeze well to boot. You may never defrost a pre-packaged meatball again! 

Meatball trick of the trade: Wet your hands with cold water first to keep the meat from sticking to your fingers when you form the balls.

Makes 8 meatballs



1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 egg

1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat

1/3 cup panko or other dried breadcrumbs

1/4 cup ketchup, plus 1 tablespoon for glazing

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tsp. dried oregano

Freshly ground pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Heat the oil in medium pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, reduce the heat to medium-low and saute until soft, about eight minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let the onion mixture cool for 10 minutes.

4. In a medium-size bowl, crack the egg and beat it with a fork. Add the turkey, panko, 1/4 cup ketchup, salt, oregano and pepper. Add onions and garlic. Mix with your hands until just combined. Do not overmix.

5. Form meat mixture into eight balls and place them on the baking sheet. Brush them evenly with the remaining tablespoon of ketchup. Bake until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant-read thermometer. Begin checking after 35 minutes.


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·         4 Easy Quinoa Recipes

Everyday Superfoods: 4 Easy & Healthy Quinoa Recipes

The “Everyday Superfoods” series shows you how to use healthy ingredients to make simple dishes full of flavor. Check out previous articles in the series about kale, oats and beans.

Even though it’s considered a whole grain, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is actually an ancient seed that’s quickly become one of our favorite superfoods at Completely You. It has a rich, nutty flavor and since it cooks in just 15 minutes, it can be on the table more quickly than just about any other grain.

Plus, quinoa is high in calcium -- which is so important for teeth and bones -- is both gluten- and cholesterol-free, and provides all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. In fact, it’s so nutritious that the U.N. has actually designated 2013 as “The Year of Quinoa” in hopes that it can help end hunger and malnutrition around the world. It’s a really super superfood!

Quinoa can be found in most supermarkets and health foods stores in all three of its varieties: white, red and black. There is no difference in health benefits among the different colors, so feel free to use the quinoa of your choice.

Flavor tip: Before cooking, always rinse quinoa or it will be bitter. Simply place quinoa in a strainer and run cold water over the top. Drain and cook according to recipe directions. While there are pre-rinsed quinoa brands available, it never hurts to rinse these again before using. Since quinoa has more fat in it than other grains, I recommend storing it in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent it from going rancid.

So why not try some quinoa tonight? You’ll be glad you did.

Quinoa and Chickpea Burgers With Honey Mustard

Try this summery version of veggie burgers using cooked quinoa and chickpeas. Quinoa packs in an enormous amount of protein and vitamins to keep you powered up throughout your day. Look for chickpeas in BPA-free cans, such as those made by Eden Organics.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, minced
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large egg
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Honey mustard for topping

1. In a medium saute pan, over high flame, heat two tablespoons of the olive oil. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 to 7 minutes until the onion is translucent and slightly golden. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook, stirring, one minute longer. Stir in the quinoa and toss to coat in the onion mixture. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until finely chopped. Add egg and blend well for 30 seconds longer. Transfer chickpea mixture to a large bowl and combine with cooled onion/quinoa mixture, red pepper, breadcrumbs, cilantro or parsley, and salt and pepper.

3. Divide the mixture into 4 balls and shape each into a 2-inch thick patty. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and reserve. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. When hot, place patties on pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side (or until golden brown). Transfer patties to the baking sheet and continue to cook in oven 15 minutes. Serve with honey mustard.

Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Think oatmeal and cream of wheat are the only hot cereals worth eating? Think again. Wait until you try cooked quinoa with this combination of warm spices and sweet and nutty add-ins. You may never look back

Serves 2

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind, optional
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

1. In a 2-quart saucepot over high heat, combine the almond milk, salt, cinnamon, orange juice and orange rind over high heat. When mixture reaches a boil, stir in the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve immediately.


Serves 4

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaf
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. If toasting quinoa, place it in a large, dry sauté pan over high heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 3 to 5 minutes or until you hear the quinoa start to pop and turn golden. Remove from heat and rinse before using. Set aside.

2. In a 2-quart saucepan over high flame, heat oil. When hot, cook onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add thyme and bay leaf and cook 2 minutes longer. Add quinoa and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Stir in chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving.

beans are available in your supermarket’s freezer section.

Serves 4 to 6


1 cup uncooked black or white quinoa
1 pound cooked salmon, broken into chunks
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
1 ½ cups cherry tomato halves
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Juice of one lemon

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt in a 2-quart sauce pan over high heat. When it reaches a boil, add quinoa, stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Cool completely.

2. Combine cooked, cooled quinoa with other salad ingredients and toss gently.  Set aside.

3.  For the dressing, combine vinegar, shallot, garlic and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Blend well. With motor running, slowly add oil to food processor in a thin stream until combined. Add dressing to salad and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Like this “Everyday Superfoods” article? Check out previous articles in the series about kale, oats and beans.

Everyday Superfoods: Oat Recipes You'll Love

This month, we’re focusing on oats—and we’re not talking about instant oatmeal. Even before you add milk, you’ll find that rolled oats are a great addition to any meal. They contain loads of calcium per serving, in addition to beta glucan, a form of fiber that’s been shown to lower cholesterol. Stumped on how to include them in your next dish? These four recipes will quickly dispel the myth that rolled oats are only fit for cereal and cookies. Here’s how to use unprocessed oats for a variety of different dishes sure to be a breakfast, lunch or dinner favorite.

Mini Meatloaves
The addition of oats instead of breadcrumbs makes this traditional meatloaf more tender than usual. Add in the scrumptious sauce and these mini meatloaves are sure to become a weekly staple.

1 ½ pounds ground beef or turkey
1 ½ cups organic ketchup, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large onion, minced, divided
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 cup organic old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Four 5” X 3”X 2 mini loaf pans or 1 standard loaf pan


1.     Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.     In a large bowl combine ground beef, ½ cup ketchup, eggs, ½ chopped onion, garlic, oregano, basil and oats. Mix well with your hands or a large spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the mixture evenly among 4 mini loaf pans (or use 1 standard loaf pan). Place the pans on baking sheet and bake 30 minute or until cooked through. Remove from oven and allow cooling slightly before serving. Unmold onto plates and serve with sauce.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup ketchup, remaining half minced onion, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar. Warm slightly over moderate heat. Remove from heat and serve with the meat loaves.

Mushroom Ris “Oat” Ohhh!
Oat Groats are higher in fiber than the traditional Arborio rice. Even better, they provide a texture similar to traditional risotto with the added health benefits of oats, which have not been over-processed.

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish

3 ½ to 4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 cups mixed sliced raw mushrooms, such as Portobello, shiitake and white
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
½ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups organic oat groats
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan


1.     In a medium saucepot over moderate heat, add the chicken broth. Keep warm.

2.     Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over high heat, add the oil. When hot, cook the onion and garlic 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is soft and starts to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the fresh thyme. Add wine and allow it to cook until almost evaporated.

3.     Add oats and toss to coat. One cup at a time, add the chicken stock stirring the groats constantly until most of the liquid has evaporated. Keep adding chicken broth 1 cup at a time until oats are tender (but still al dente) and most of the liquid has been absorbed. It should be creamy in consistency. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and parmesan cheese

Pumpkin Oat Muffins with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Gluten free and moist, these pumpkin oat muffins offer a healthy spin on an old favorite. This makes a great breakfast treat, and can also be a wonderful alternative to cupcakes.

Makes 6 muffins

Muffin Ingredients
One 15-ounce can of organic pumpkin pie mix
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
4 eggs
2 cups Cup 4 Cup* gluten free flour (*Cup 4 Cup flour can be found in most organic or specialty grocery stores)
1 cup organic old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick cooking)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt


1.     Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or flour one 6 cup muffin tin or use paper liners.

2.     In a large mixing bowl combine the pumpkin, sugar, oil, juice and eggs. Blend well. Add remaining ingredients blending just to combine. Do not overmix.

3.     Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full.

4.     Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Easy Crunchy Oat Granola
There are so many different brands of granola on the market; it can be difficult to choose the healthiest and most flavorful brand. Until I made this homemade version, my kids wouldn’t touch granola. Now, I can’t keep enough of it around. Once you make the basic recipe feel free to add your own ingredients to make it unique.

Makes 5 cups (including nuts and fruit)

½ cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sliced almonds
3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup mixed nuts such as pecans, walnuts and cashews (optional)
1 cup mixed diced dried fruit such as apricots, cranberries and blueberries (optional)*


1.     Preheat oven to 250°F

2.     Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Reserve

3.     In a large mixing bowl, combine the syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, almonds and oats and toss to coat evenly.

4.     Spread evenly on prepared pan and bake in oven 30 minutes.

5.     Toss and continue to cook 45 minutes longer, tossing every 15 minutes or until desired crunchy consistency. The longer you bake it the crunchier it gets.

6.     Cool completely. Toss with additional nuts and dried fruit if desired. Store in tightly sealed container.

*NOTE: Since the dried fruit is moist, I found that it softened the oat granola more than I liked so I opted to add it in before serving.

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