A tasty way to start your day

Break­fast is the most im­port­ant meal of the day, and of­ten the most neg­lected. It’s im­port­ant that you eat a nu­tri­tious morn­ing meal no later than an hour after wak­ing up. A healthy break­fast al­lows the mind and body to work well throughout the day. Break­fast also is im­port­ant for cre­at­ing healthy eat­ing habits, gen­er­al health, weight con­trol, great­er con­cen­tra­tion and pro­ductiv­ity, and main­tain­ing hor­mone levels and blood sug­ar. Break­fast will speed up meta­bol­ism and help you burn more cal­or­ies throughout the day.

Most people who skip break­fast eat more dur­ing the day. If you start the day with an empty stom­ach, blood-sug­ar levels will be lower. As a res­ult, dur­ing the day you’ll need “in­stant” sug­ar, usu­ally a dough­nut, chocol­ate, pasta or oth­er un­healthy choice.

How do you find the time to pre­pare and eat break­fast every morn­ing? Try get­ting up 15 minutes earli­er. Or, pre­pare your break­fast the night be­fore!

This re­cipe for baked ba­nana oat­meal with wal­nuts and rais­ins is a healthy and de­li­cious solu­tion to your morn­ing break­fast di­lemma. Best of all, it keeps well when re­fri­ger­ated and can be pack­aged in re-seal­able con­tain­ers and re-heated at work, if ne­ces­sary.

Baked Ba­nana Oat­meal with Wal­nuts and Rais­ins

2 ta­ble­spoons plus 1 tea­spoon of un­salted but­ter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup old-fash­ioned rolled oats

1/4 cup chopped wal­nuts or pecans, lightly    toasted, di­vided

1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing powder

3/4 tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon

1/2 tea­spoon ground nut­meg

1/4 tea­spoon salt

1 ta­ble­spoon brown sug­ar

1/4 cup maple syr­up or maple-flavored agave syr­up

1 cup milk, or­gan­ic soymilk, or al­mond milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract

2-3 ripe ba­na­nas, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 cup rais­ins, cran­ber­ries or crais­ins

1/2 tea­spoon cin­na­mon

1-1/2 cups milk, or­gan­ic soymilk or al­mond milk

1. Pre­heat oven to 375 F.

2. Lightly grease a 2-quart bak­ing dish with 1 tea­spoon of but­ter or oil. In a me­di­um bowl, com­bine rolled oats, half of the nuts, bak­ing powder, cin­na­mon, nut­meg, salt and brown sug­ar. Stir with a fork to com­bine. In a li­quid meas­ur­ing cup, com­bine the maple or agave syr­up, 1 cup milk, egg, but­ter or oil, and vanilla.

3. Spread the sliced ba­na­nas in a single lay­er over the bot­tom of the bak­ing dish. Top with half of the rais­ins or cran­ber­ries. Sprinkle the dry oat mix­ture over the fruit in an even lay­er.

4. Pour li­quid in­gredi­ents evenly over the oats. Sprinkle re­main­ing nuts and ber­ries over top. Bake 35-40 minutes, un­til top is browned and oats have set. Cool 10 minutes be­fore    serving.

5. Com­bine cin­na­mon with 1-1/2 cups milk. Heat un­til warm, about 2 minutes. Serve oat­meal topped with warm cin­na­mon al­mond milk. Cov­er and re­fri­ger­ate leftover oat­meal. 

6. To re­heat, place a serving of the oat­meal in­to a bowl. Mix cin­na­mon with al­mond milk and pour it over oat­meal. Heat oat­meal and milk on high in the mi­crowave un­til the oat­meal and milk are warm, about 2 to 3 minutes.  

An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award- win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and the au­thor of sev­en cook­books.         Her Web site is www.di­vapro.com 

You can reach at .

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