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Breakfast – Don’t Leave Home Without it!

By Cheryl Forberg, RD

With work, kids and social and community commitments packing our schedules, too many of us make too many food decisions on the run - which leads to poor choices, such as relying on packaged, processed convenience foods and hitting the drive-through when a time crunch hits.

Most Americans skip at least one meal a day - usually breakfast. It sounds counterintuitive, but skipping meals can actually contribute to weight gain, not loss; eating when famished almost always leads to poor food choices, and it's hard to pay attention to your body's natural hunger and satiety cues.

And… the biggest mistakes that we make (or our children make) starts before school. You got it. Skipping breakfast. This is a no-no for sure. Not eating breakfast reduces learning and decreases ability to focus and pay attention. In addition, it can be a contributor to obesity. When you skip breakfast, you may get overly hungry later, and this can lead to poor food choices, eating too much and eating too fast. So, give your kids a healthy breakfast each morning (and take this as an opportunity for you to have one - because you need it, too). Start the day off well with oatmeal, a piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter, scrambled eggs or egg whites. Even a healthy, protein filled smoothie works great for fueling the day.

Studies have shown that eating breakfast can lower levels of cortisol. Though food may be the last thing on your mind when you're feeling topsy-turvy, it's the first step to starting your day on a positive note. You'll feel satisfied throughout the morning and less apt to reach for a donut from the office coffee cart.
Image of Fresh Fruit
Toast or fruit is not enough for breakfast. Protein plays an important part of every meal, including breakfast. Pork tenderloin is sometimes overlooked as a lean protein choice, although ground turkey can be substituted in this recipe for an equally delicious result.

Put protein front and center. Lean protein is not only essential for a balanced diet, it helps balance the rise in blood sugar carbohydrates cause, filling you up for longer than carbs alone. And because protein helps keep muscles strong, a lack of protein at breakfast can mean your body feels more fatigued by day's end.
Image of Grains
Choose the right grains. The bran and fiber in whole grains make it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose - leading to a slower, more moderate increase in blood sugar levels. Whole wheat breads and muffins, oatmeal and even polenta can all be part of a healthy breakfast that won't let you down later in the day.

Or get your carbs from fruit. Fresh fruit - not fruit juices, which are loaded with sugar - can give a boost to your morning. Citrus and other fruits high in Vitamin C are especially good choices for a morning meal that will leave you feeling strong.

Here is a protein-packed breakfast recipe your whole family will love!

With a little planning, you can whip up the Sofrito Sauce the night before which would drastically reduce the preparation time in the morning.

Chilaquiles is a classic Mexican dish, traditionally made with fried corn tortillas soaked in red or green salsa (sauce). It is usually topped with fresh Mexican cheese (queso fresco), onions, avocado and sometimes chicken. It can be served with refried beans and/or eggs if desired.

Serves 8

Image of Ingredients for chilaquiles
For the Chilaquiles Sauce:
3 cups diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes (two 14.5 ounce cans)
1 cup chopped Onion (red, yellow or white)
1 roasted Red Bell Pepper
1 cup Fat Free Low Sodium Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth)
¼ cup chopped Cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh Lime Juice 1 tablespoon Chipotle Chile in Adobo Sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons Chopped Garlic
½ teaspoon Chili Powder
½ teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper

For the Chilaquiles:
1 pound Lean Breakfast Sausage, cooked drained and crumbled (approx. 2 cups cooked)
3 ounces Baked Corn Tortilla Chips (approx. 48 chips)

½ cup Red Onion, cut in fine julienne
¼ cup Crumbled Low Fat Feta Cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh Cilantro and 1 medium Avocado, diced or ½ cup guacamole (optional)


For the sauce:

In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender purée all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a 2 quart sauté pan, simmer sauce, stirring, 3 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm. (Sauce may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.) There will be 6 cups.

Make Chilaquiles:

Assemble the Chilaquiles in shallow dishes or soup bowls.
Image of topping chips with sauce
Crumble 6 tortilla chips into each bowl. Top with ¾ cups very hot sauce.
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Sprinkle with ¼ cup warm sausage crumbles.
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Garnish with red onion, cheese, cilantro and avocado (if desired)

Serve immediately.
Image of Chilaquiles
Nutrition Analysis:

Calories 210
Calories from Fat 70
Total Fat 8
Sat Fat 2
Trans Fat 0
Cholesterol 50mg
Sodium 740
Total Carbohydrate 17
Fiber 3
Sugar 5
Protein 17
Vitamin A 20
Vitamin C 50
Calcium 8
Iron 6
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