Healthy Brunch Options

Hello Readers!  I don’t know about any of you, but I love brunch!  There’s something so decadent about having brunch with the girls, and something about brunch reminds me of not just the Spring but also of the Fall when my mother-in-law does a holiday brunch for the ladies in the family.

But brunch, like I said, is typically a decadent meal.  Mimosas, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Scones, Muffins…the possibilities are endless!  Often, however, they can be filled with fat and carbs.  So, let’s think of how we can make brunch healthier for all.  To do so, let’s look at a healthy Fall brunch menu.

Baked Oatmeal.  This may not sound like your typical brunch fare, but this is a much healthier option than French Toast.  Oatmeal made with rolled oats or old fashioned oats is much more heart-healthy than French Toast, plus there are less bad carbs than what would be found in French Toast.  Plus, this has the potential to pack a lot of flavor.  On allrecipes.com, I found this Baked Cranberry Oatmeal recipe that relies on dried cranberries and fresh apples for most of the flavor, although it does have a little sugar.  However, this dish is still perfect for a Fall brunch because it’s warm and comforting while still being decadent and flavorful.  And, it’s healthier than french toast.

Breakfast Strata.  This dish is one that has the potential to actually be healthy while still fulfilling the decadence meter for brunch.  Eggs, cheese, meat, all baked like a casserole.  But, all too often, a breakfast strata is full of cheese and fat from cheese for “flavor”.  But, for brunch, this can be a favorite with Fall flavors.  Spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower are all in in season in the Fall, and these fresh ingredients can make for a great strata.  And, by choosing a low-fat or reduced-fat variety of sharp cheddar, you’re bound to get the same flavor with less cheese.  To make it even more healthy, try using chicken or turkey breakfast sausages and bake them on a rack rather than frying them in the pan.  You’re more likely to get the excess fat out and save the calories by focusing on healthy ingredients over the fatty ones.  And the flavor will be just as great by increasing your greens and veggies and decreasing the fats and cheese.  As for the bread, a hearty multi-grain with whole wheat listed as the first ingredient, or homemade wheat bread is a fantastic option to make this dish healthier.

Sweet Potatoes.  Now, it’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, and it’s often because they are cooked in fat with sugar on top (in the form of marshmallows).  I love butter, and I love marshmallows, but added to the ever-sugary sweet potatoes, it can be overkill.  So, why not try other varieties of this dish?  Instead of the usual sweet potato casserole, try making a sweet potato hash with coconut oil and fresh herbs.  It’ll still be an indulgent dish, but the coconut oil will make a huge difference to your health.  Coconut oil breaks down more easily in your system than butter, and it helps to break down more complex carbs.  The fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary, will add a wonderful flavor to your hash that will brighten up the dish.  And with the savory highlighted, the use of marshmallows becomes obsolete.  Just changing the use of the vegetable can change your whole outlook on using this item for your Fall brunch.

Pastries. I know you probably hate to admit it, but you probably love pastries as much as I do.  Donuts, danishes, scones, muffins.  These are all favorites at brunches, and we typically regret them as soon as we eat them because of how many calories they contain.  But, what if you could make them healthier?  For example, I love carrot cake because it can be made healthy while still being delicious!  How?  By using whole wheat flour instead of All Purpose.  By using applesauce instead of oil.  By using agave nectar or honey instead of sugar.  By using fresh carrots, real raisins or cranberries, and by adding in chopped pecans or walnuts.  And this is something you can do with a lot of pastry recipes.  Just look for ways to make your favorite pastries healthier, such as black beans in double chocolate muffins, cornmeal in berry muffins, and my carrot cake substitutions.

Drinks, Alcoholic.  If you are like me, you probably love Mimosas.  They are brunch favorites, after all.  But what about doing a Fall brunch?  Orange juice doesn’t necessarily go with Fall flavors, and we often want a warmer drink.  Some options are to do Dirty Chai Toddies for your guests or to offer Mulled Wine or Spiced Cider.  And I love doing a Fall Sangria with cinnamon whiskey, apples, and white wine!  Just be sure to offer a couple of options–such as Fall Sangria and Chai Toddies–as well as a non-alcoholic option or two, like Spiced Apple Cider and Coffee.  And keep your intake to no more than two alcoholic drinks to avoid the calories found in alcohol.

If you want even more ideas, be sure to check out the ever-favorite website allrecipes.com, or check out this blog from Food 52 about Fall brunch.  And set a date to get together with friends for a Fall brunch!

Until next time,

-BBM

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