BET­TER BREAK­FAST

Home­made trail mix, with cho­co­late, adds a pro­tein punch to your morn­ings,

Toronto Star - - LIFE & ENTERTAINMENT - NI­COLE OSINGA SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR

Ev­ery morn­ing I eat a co­conut yogurt (100 mL) with a hand­ful of trail mix, chopped up banana, a few dark cho­co­late chips and a steam­ing cup of black cof­fee. Is it OK to eat cho­co­late at break­fast? What can I be do­ing dif­fer­ently?

There is al­ways room for a lit­tle cho­co­late, even at break­fast. I preach the 80-20 rule — 80 per cent of the time fo­cus on tasty, good-for-you foods. The rest of the time — in­dulge!

This teaches bal­ance and pre­vents overindul­gence by set­ting aside small planned treats.

To make your break­fast health­ier, in­crease the pro­tein by re­plac­ing the co­conut yogurt with 3/4 cup (185mL) of plain 2-per-cent Greek yogurt, or plain soy yogurt if you’re avoid­ing dairy. Although tasty, your co­conut­flavoured yogurt is con­tribut­ing just one gram of pro­tein to your meal.

Co­conut has been in the spotlight be­cause of its sat­u­rated fat com­po­si­tion of medium-chain triglyc­erides (or MCTs), which are me­tab­o­lized dif­fer­ently and more im­me­di­ately than other sat­u­rated fats.

Let’s also de­crease the sugar con­tent. Store-bought trail mixes are of­ten high in sugar. It’s easy to make your own by mix­ing unsweet­ened co­conut flakes with whole al­monds, sun­flower seeds, pepita seeds and a pinch of cho­co­late chips. Here’s how to switch it up:

In ad­di­tion to re­plac­ing the co­conut yogurt, as de­scribed above, switch out the banana for1/2 cup (125 mL) mango (fresh or frozen). The high vi­ta­min C con­tent in the mango will help you ab­sorb the iron from the nuts and seeds in the trail mix.

In ad­di­tion to your cof­fee, add a hy­drat­ing trop­i­cal low-sugar drink to your break­fast, such as pineap­plemint-in­fused wa­ter.

Make your own trop­i­cal trail mix. Home­made trail mix

Star Tested 1/4 cup (60 mL) al­monds, whole or sliv­ers 1/4 cup (60 mL) sun­flower seeds, shelled 1/4 cup (60 mL) pepita seeds 2 tbsp (30 mL) cho­co­late chips 2 tbsp (30 mL) co­conut flakes

In a medium bowl mix al­monds, sun­flower seeds, pepita seeds, cho­co­late chips and co­conut.

Makes four serv­ings. Ni­cole Osinga is a reg­is­tered di­eti­tian. Want to pump up your break­fast? Email nico­le­toron­tostar@gmail.com

This pumped-up break­fast pro­vides more nu­tri­ents with fewer calo­ries.

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