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The Breakfast Bar: Even Your Kids Will Love It

Did you know that what you eat for breakfast could help you burn more fat throughout the day? In addition to boosting your metabolism, foods that are low in refined sugars and high in fiber can fight off hunger so you don't overeat at lunch, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Not into boring cereals that taste like cardboard? Well then you'll love my "breakfast bar" setup, and so will your entire family.

Create a breakfast bar by setting out a base cereal or two and a variety of "add-on" options. Choose a few or all of them, add milk, yogurt or a milk alternative and voila: you've got a nutrient-packed breakfast that will help you burn calories throughout the day.

What you'll need:

Start with one or two different kinds of whole grain cereal (I like to mix a crunchy granola with a flakier grain): look for a short ingredient list (that you can understand), containing four grams of fiber or more and low sugar (no high fructose corn syrup).

Add-Ons:

Berries:
Berry fruits are rich in antioxidant polyphenolic compounds that protect against the age-related deterioration of cognitive and motor functions. Eating about a cup of berries a day—fresh or frozen—reduces oxidative stress (hence the term "antioxidants"), lowers inflammation and improves brain cell signaling.

Sunflower seeds: These seeds contain high levels of vitamin E (ideal for heart health), choline (good for memory) and phytosterols (known to help lower cholesterol).

Pumpkin seeds: Also high in phytosterols, as well as magnesium, iron and zinc (good for prostate and bone health).

Almonds: A superfood, these nuts are a great source of vitamin E, calcium (more than any other nut), magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber and healthy monounsaturated fat.

Raisins: High fiber and low fat, these dehydrated grapes offer antioxidants, iron, potassium, magnesium and the mineral boron (effective for bone health).

Cinnamon: Cinnamon's benefits can be found in the essential oils found in its bark; they include anti-clotting actions, blood sugar control and boosting brain function. I've also heard that a teaspoon a day can help fend off depression.

Or you can try other healthy add-ons like coconut, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit, apples, bananas or maybe even sprinkle some cocoa on there. Or start with plain oatmeal instead of cereal on cooler days and add honey or agave nectar to the list.

These are my favorites, but what are yours? Please share below.


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