4 carb-filled breakfast foods that won't ruin your diet

Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 @ 12:12 PM
Updated: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 @ 2:12 PM

Add these carb-filled foods to fuel your morning Switch white bread for whole-grain bread with protein like peanut butter, avocados, or an egg for more energy Load your old-fashioned oatmeal with nutrient-dense foods, like chopped nuts, berries, chia seeds or hulled hemp seeds Pick out a whole-grain cereal high in fiber, low in sugar and big on vitamins Start your morning with a whole grain English muffin topped with an egg, leafy greens, fresh tomato and cheese

With all the fad diets out there, it's hard to know what to eat in the morning.

Although some experts suggest that eating a low-carb diet could help you lose weight more quickly, some carbohydrates are actually good for you and can give you the sustained energy you need to get through the day.

RELATED: Considering the Paleo Diet? Here's what you need to know

According to Clemson University, a nutritious breakfast contains small amounts of protein and fat, with the bulk of the meal consisting of complex carbohydrates, like whole grains. If you've been shunning carbs in order to drop a few pounds, but feel lethargic and exhausted by lunchtime, adding a few back into your diet could give you the nutritional boost your body's craving.

 Add these carb-filled foods to fuel your morning:

Give whole grain toast a punch of power by adding an avocado or an egg.(Courtesy of megh28/Flickr/For the AJC)

Whole-grain bread with protein

Switch your morning white bread to a healthier, heartier, whole-grain counterpart, and add a little protein and fat, like peanut butter, almond butter, mashed avocado or an egg, which will give you more energy and leave you feeling satisfied for hours.

Eat old-fashioned oatmeal in the morning for a boost of long-lasting energy.(Courtesy of Jonathan Wilhoite/Flickr/For the AJC)

Loaded old-fashioned oatmeal

The soluble fiber in slow-cooked, old-fashioned oatmeal actually helps slow down how fast your body absorbs carbohydrates. This keeps your blood sugar levels more consistent and even throughout the day. Instead of having it plain, load your old-fashioned oatmeal with nutrient-dense foods, like chopped nuts, berries, chia seeds or hulled hemp seeds.

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Whole grain cereal with fruit

Starting your day with a bowl of cereal might seem like a no-no, but it's all about which cereal you pick. Avoid sugary, refined cereals, and pick out a whole-grain cereal high in fiber, low in sugar and big on vitamins. Top your bowl off with some fresh fruit that's high in antioxidants, such as raspberries or blueberries, and you'll have an early morning winner.

Homemade breakfast sandwich

Although a breakfast sandwich from a fast food restaurant might not provide you with the energy-filled morning you're hoping for, making your own homemade breakfast sandwich just might. Start with a whole grain English muffin, which contains complex carbs that digest slowly in your system, topped with an egg, leafy greens, fresh tomato and cheese.

Still confused about what to eat? Get the answers to the questions you were too afraid to ask about healthy eating here.


This fall, say hello maple and so long pumpkin spice

Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 @ 5:12 PM

Come on, admit it. You're so over the pumpkin-spice craze.

Seasonal beer, coffee drinks and cookies spiced with ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon are one thing. But when those cozy fall flavors sneak their way into a Kit Kit candy bar or a stick of Burt Bees lip balm or onto a pizza, you know it's officially jumped the shark. Big time. 

Which is why some of us were glad to hear that a new flavor will supposedly supplant pumpkin spice this fall − maple.

RELATED: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte returns with livestream to watch ‘Pumpkin Hatch’

At least that's what MarketWatch would have us (hopefully) believe, based on a report from the analytics company 1010data. It notes that even as pumpkin spice flavor continues to grow in popularity to the tune of 49 percent more products a year sales just aren't holding pace. Maple, meanwhile, "is surging." 

Measured against the same quarter last year, sales of maple-flavored beverages have almost doubled while maple-flavored cocktails have climbed 14.6 percent. Which might explain why beverage giants Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts debuted maple-pecan coffee drinks this fall. Dunkin' also is featuring a 630-caloried Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich. But is maple really the next big thing? And will its sweet, distinctive flavor be something that consumers naturally crave when the weather gets cooler?

While all maple syrup is made according to the same process, there's a grading system for maple products that differentiates between the natural variations in color and flavor. The lighter the syrup, the more delicate the taste. Sap processed later in the season produces a more robust and darker syrup.

Maple syrup can be substituted for honey or agave one for one, but you'll want to use only a cup of syrup for every 1 cup of white sugar in baking, while also reducing the other liquids in the recipe by 3 tablespoons. Go for the good (real) stuff, even though it's more expensive, as it takes 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. However you enjoy fall's hottest flavor, know that you're making a nutritious choice. Not only is maple syrup high in healthful antioxidants but it also includes essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. 


PG tested

This maple cocktail is full of fall flavors, and so easy.

an ounce pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Amber

an ounce fresh orange juice \ ounce fresh lemon juice 4 dashes of Angostura bitters

an orange wheel 2 ounces bourbon Ice 1

 2 ounces chilled seltzer

In a rocks glass, combine maple syrup with orange juice, lemon juice and bitters. Add orange wheel and lightly muddle. Add bourbon and stir well. Fill glass with ice and top with chilled seltzer. 

Makes 1 drink. 

_ (c)2017 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. 

Chick-fil-A is set to open its largest location ever (5 stories high!)

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 1:22 PM

5 Fast Fact About Chick-fil-A

Just when you think New York City can’t get any better, Chick-fil-A announces they are opening their biggest restaurant ever in the concrete jungle.

The fast food chain revealed details behind their third N.Y.C. location on Monday, describing it as the largest location of their 2,100 restaurants across the U.S. Situated in the middle of the city’s Financial District, the 12,000 sq.-ft. restaurant will feature five levels, floor-to-ceiling windows and rooftop seating where customers can take in a view of lower Manhattan.

Although it is going to be the largest location they’ve built so far, it’s also going to be very narrow (15-ft. wide), according to the design manager Nathaniel Cates.

“We pushed ourselves to break into new ways of thinking and try innovative solutions we’ve never implemented before,” Cates says.

The space was also designed to act as a location to take in the 9/11 Memorial site.

“With the restaurant sitting under half a mile from Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial, Cates’ team wanted to respectfully pay homage to the significance of the location,” reads the press release. “They drew designs for the front of the building to be stacked fully with glass windows, with elements built into the façade that give a subtle impression of the Twin Towers – one on each side of the restaurant. It’s a feature that acknowledges the significance of location.”

The doors are expected to open early next year.

Easy dishes every college student can make for dinner

Published: Sunday, September 17, 2017 @ 1:39 PM

Mornings can be rough so we want to make eating healthy easy. Here are 5 breakfast ideas that are extremely nutritious and delicious.

College is full of challenges, what with having only four years to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life.

It also can be tough on parents, who often not only have to help pay for their kids’ higher education but also must feed and house them in the process.

It’s a bit of relief when college students finally move out of the dorms with their expensive meal plans, and into an apartment where they can make their own meals for much cheaper. Or at least that’s the plan until reality sets in.

After going to classes, possibly working part time, doing homework, volunteering with student organizations and maintaining an active social life (it’s college, after all) there’s just not a lot of time for cooking. So when your kid no longer can use a meal swipe for lunch or dinner, it’s tempting for her to fill up on fast food and fulfill late-night cravings with artery-clogging goodies from the local convenience store.

But there are easy ways for your child to incorporate cooking into his or her schedule — and it’s cheaper and healthier, too.

» Beans: The Super Food that Keeps You Full

They’re bound to have a box of noodles and a few stray packages of soy sauce from takeout Chinese. Why not add a few green vegetables and sliced chicken breast to create classic lo mein noodles? They don’t even need a wok — any decent saute pan will work, and the dish comes together in minutes.

Bread is another college apartment staple, and when the slices are buttered and then soaked in a mixture of eggs and milk, topped with shredded cheese and baked, it transforms into a satisfying casserole that can be cut into squares for a grab-and-go breakfast or late-night snack.

Skillet enchiladas are easier still, and after wolfing them down for dinner, the microwavable leftovers will be a welcome alternative to that MTO sandwich for lunch the next day.

In choosing recipes for college kids, convenience and speed is of the essence. A dish can’t require any hard-to-find ingredients, and it has to go from stove to table in short order. For a generation that’s tuned into social media, it also helps if the food make for a great photo. Or as my daughter Olivia put it, is “Insta worthy.”

» No More Bland Diet Food!

In that vein, we offer below some quick and easy recipes that even reluctant first-time cooks will easily master.



PG tested

This easy recipe is simple to adapt to your favorite fillings. For a Tex-Mex omelet, substitute pepper Jack cheese for the cheddar and minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce for the mustard; if you’d rather go Italian, use Mozzarella and add 1/2 cup Parmesan and 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

3 slices unsalted butter, softened

10 slices hearty white bread

12 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)

8 large eggs

3 cup whole milk

1 small onion, grated

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon hot sauce or more to taste

Grease 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Spread butter evenly over 1 side of bread slice, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Scatter half of bread evenly in prepared dish and sprinkle with half of cheddar. Repeat with remaining bread and cheese.

Whisk eggs, milk, onion, salt, pepper, mustard and hot sauce together in bowl until well combined. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread and press lightly on bread to submerge. Wrap dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap casserole and bake until puffed and golden, about 1 hour. Serve immediately.

» McDonald’s rolls out the ‘frork,’ a utensil made of fries

Makes 8 servings.

— “The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook” by America’s Test Kitchen (July 2017, $29.95)


PG Tested

Why order takeout when this classic noodle dish is so easy to make at home? While the recipe calls for fresh lo mein noodles, you can easily substitute fettucine or linguini pasta; I used fat egg noodles.

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon corn starch

3 tablespoons cooking oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

11/2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger

1/2 pound chicken breast or thigh, thinly sliced

3 cups fresh lo mein noodles

1/4 pound baby bok choy, bottoms removed

3 scallions, cut into 11/2-inch pieces

To make sauce, stir together oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce, chicken stock and corn starch in a small bowl.

Heat the pan to high and add the cooking oil. Once you see wisps of smoke, add garlic and ginger and cook until light brown and fragrant, about 20 seconds.Stir in the chicken and cook until medium, about 1 minute.

Stir in the sauce; allow the sauce to coat all the ingredients and start to simmer, about 1 minute more. Add noodles and bok choy and toss to coat.

Cook until chicken is cooked through (about 1 minute more) and sauce starts to bubble into a glaze. Top with scallions and serve hot.

Serves 4 to 6.

— “101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die: by Jet Tila (Page Street Publishing, June 2017, $21.99)


PG tested

My daughter was so excited to eat this cheesy dish. And talk about easy. It took less than 10 minutes to prepare in a cast-iron skillet.

12 corn tortillas, cut into bite sized pieces

3 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken

10-ounce can diced tomato with chili

10-ounce can red enchilada sauce

8-ounce can tomato sauce

1/2 cup grated cheddar, divided

1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack, divided

1/2 avocado, sliced thin

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat the pan over medium heat.

Add the corn tortillas and cooked chicken to the pan and cook until heated through, stirring often.

Pour the undrained tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and tomato sauce into the pan with 1/4 cup of each cheese. Stir to combine well. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, top with the avocado and cilantro before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

— Countryliving.com


PG tested

These no-bake cookies hit the sweet spot with an addictive mix of chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow. They’re sticky, but no problem — you’ll want to lick your fingers.

6 cups cornflakes

1 cup mini marshmallows

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup creamy peanut butter

Place cornflakes, marshmallows and chocolate chips in a large bowl.

Combine sugar and corn syrup in a nonstick pot over medium-low heat. When sugar has dissolved, add peanut butter, stirring to combine.

Pour peanut butter mixture over cornflakes and stir to combine. Quickly drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto waxed paper.

Let cookies cool and set for about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

— Adapted from “Halfway Homemade: Meals in a Jiffy” by Parrish Ritchie (The Countryman Press, $24.95)

Here’s how to get free breakfast at Chick-fil-A during September

Published: Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 2:18 PM

5 Fast Fact About Chick-fil-A

Tomorrow’s breakfast just got a little easier on your wallet.

Since it’s the most important meal of the day, Chick-fil-A doesn’t want anyone to miss out and is offering a free breakfast starting on Thursday at participating locations. Customers who create a new account on the Chick-fil-A One App (or already have an account) will receive a coupon for one free breakfast entree until Sept. 30.

The fast food joint, known for its expertise in fried chicken, offers several options for breakfast including an egg white and grilled chicken sandwich, burrito stuffed with hash browns and the classic bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. For those leaning on the healthier side, they also offer a greek yogurt parfait and multigrain bagels.

You can download the app on iTunes or Google Play and have the cashier scan the “My Card” QR code.