Morning Glorious!

Start your day with deliciously healthful herbal scones, muffins, and bread.

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What’s on the menu at the top of every day can make or break the morning’s activities for adults and children alike. We know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but science recently has stretched that tenet to prove those first bites at daybreak affect our energy, mood and ability to function at peak capacity right through to bedtime.
Recent research on the glycemic index {which lists foods from high to low in their ability to boost blood sugar levels} indicates slow-digesting protein and whole-grain breakfast foods provide energy and food satisfaction that can last into the evening. This is very good news because it means a well-planned breakfast can curb endless munching later in the day; keep irritability in check; and best of all, promote fat breakdown instead of its storage.
According to this new information, top-of-the-morning meals of whole grains, fruit or vegetables, cheese, yogurt, chicken and/or fish are the very best healthy breakfast combinations. But you don’t need to completely give up your old favorites-most traditional breakfast foods can be tweaked and teamed with lower-glycemic ingredients to create delicious dishes packed with enough fuel to power you through even the most challenging day.

The Critical Role of Herbs

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Fresh potager {kitchen garden} herbs are key to revamping outdated breakfast foods. Rosemary, parsley, tarragon, thyme, sage, dill, mint, lemon balm, oregano, basil, marjoram and savory give whole grains and other breakfast foods a flavor spike. What’s more, herbs do not even appear on the glycemic radar, making them wise additions to breakfast foods.
When it comes to replacing salt, fat, and sugar in breakfast fare, herbs are flavor hero’s

. Factor in their medicinal properties and dietary nutrients and it becomes clear that herbs are essential breakfast ingredients. Fresh rosemary, for example, contains compounds useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation and improving concentration. Most herbs also contribute significant amounts of vitamins A and C, some vitamin B, folate and a wide variety of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc all nutrients we need to get going and stay alert.

To ease your transition to healthier breakfast habits, start by stocking your refrigerator and freezer with whole-grain staples. Our updated low-fat, low-sugar, high-herb muffins, scones, quick bread, and biscuits are easy to make in advance. All can be stored in airtight containers to last into the work week. Add low-fat cheese, yogurt or leftover chicken or fish, and these homemade power foods provide a complete and convenient morning meal. Make them on the weekend or the night before, then simply grab and go.
Chopping fresh culinary herbs into whole-grain breakfast recipes is a great way to enhance the most important meal of the day. For maximum breakfast goodness, try these tips:
* Sprinkle up to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon { Cinnamomum cassia} over whole-grain cereal or yogurt.
Preliminary evidence indicates cinnamon can lower blood glucose.
* Use stevia {Stevia rebaudiana}, a sweet-tasting herb, whenever possible as a sugar replacement.
* Anise-flavored herbs, such as sweet cicely, chervil and tarragon, complement stone fruits {peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries} and whole-grain baked goods.
* Try lemon herbs, such as lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon thyme and lemon-scented geranium leaves, with citrus fruits and strawberries. Also, add them to yogurt; or use the leaves to make a refreshing morning tea blend.
* Mints in the morning are stimulating. Just 1 tablespoon fresh chopped peppermint, hyssop, lemon balm, catnip or any mint-flavored scented geranium leaves will perk up breakfast melons, berries, or yogurt smoothies.