5 Breakfasts to Power Your Heart

by April Dupee

The month of February is all about the heart. Not only is it that time of year when stores are stocked with greeting cards, balloons, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but also it marks American Heart Month to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention. With 1 in 3 deaths in the U.S. attributable to cardiovascular disease, American Heart Month serves as an important reminder to take care of our hearts and encourage our communities to support heart health initiatives.

In honor of American Heart Month and school back in full swing, I have rounded up my favorite, simple, make-ahead breakfast recipes full of heart healthy nutrients. Whether or not you have cardiovascular disease, a heart healthy diet is one we can all benefit from. Loading up your plate with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean poultry and fish will give you all the fiber and important nutrients you need to protect your heart. In addition, cutting back on sugar, sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats will reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors such as increased cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight.

Because these recipes can be made in advance, there is no need to compromise health for time when you are heading out the door in the morning. Give your breakfast a heart-healthy makeover that will power you through the day.

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes To-Go

Baked oatmeal to-go, anyone? While many baked goods are filled with added sugar, refined flour, and saturated fats, these oatmeal cupcakes are loaded with fiber-rich oats to help keep cholesterol low. Make these even more delicious and nutritious with add-ins such as berries, flax seeds, and cinnamon. The best feature of this recipe is that it freezes well. Before you head out the door, pop one in the microwave and you will be ready to go!

Recipe and photo: Chocolate Covered Katie

Breakfast Oatmeal Cupcakes To-Go. Recipe and photo by Chocolate Covered Katie.

Chia Pudding

Don’t let their small size fool you—the chia seeds in this recipe are packed with nutrients including fiber, protein, and omega-3s. One ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) has 10 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and about 6,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids! Low in sugar and saturated fats, this recipe is definitely a heart healthy alternative to your typical pudding.

Make this recipe the night before and get creative with flavor combinations and toppings. Some of my favorite add-ins and toppings include: Vanilla extract, cacao powder, cinnamon, bananas, berries, nut butters, coconut, and granola.

Recipe and photo: Nutrition Stripped

Chia Pudding. Recipe and photo by Nutrition Stripped.

Egg Muffins

Get your veggies in with this savory recipe! Vegetables are an important part of a heart-healthy diet by offering beneficial nutrients and fiber that keep calorie counts low and contribute to overall cardiovascular health. While the eggs in this recipe do contain cholesterol, current dietary guidelines indicate that dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol levels as much as we once thought. Rather, saturated fats are the main culprit. Nonetheless, these single serving cups will keep your portion sizes in check and your morning moving quickly as you head out the door.

Recipe and photo: hurrythefoodup

Egg Muffins. Recipe and photo by hurrythefoodup.

Overnight Oats

Wake up to a creamy bowl of oats that takes no more than 5 minutes to prep! No cooking required. If you like chia pudding but are looking for something a little heartier, overnight oats are a great option. The oats and chia seeds provide tons of fiber, which is thought to boost heart health by lowering cholesterol and helping with weight loss. In addition, the bananas used to sweeten and add a creamy texture keep this breakfast low in sugar and saturated fats.

Recipe and photo by OhSheGlows.

Overnight Oats. Recipe and photo by OhSheGlows.

2-Ingredient Pancakes

This recipe is as simple as it gets! Maybe not the traditional pancake you are used to, but with just bananas and eggs these pancakes are too easy not to try. With no sugar, oils, or processed flour that you often find in pancakes, this recipe is a quick heart healthy alternative. Plus, you can boost the nutrition with endless extras and toppings. I love to mix in nuts, berries, and cinnamon and top with nut butters. Make a batch and store the extras in the fridge or freezer when you need a quick breakfast.

Recipe and photo by The Kitchn.

2-Ingredient Pancakes. Recipe and photo by The Kitchn.

While we begin to gift our loved ones with flowers and chocolates this Valentine’s Day, let’s remember the greatest gift of all that we can give them—a long, healthy, and happy life. Use American Heart Month as motivation to take care of your heart and encourage your friends and family to do the same. With these simple and versatile recipes, you can start your day with a variety of heart-healthy fruits, veggies and whole grains. Make these recipes a part of your routine and trust that you are taking care of your heart as much as much as it takes care of you!

April Dupee is a first year in the NICBC program and future DPD student. With breakfast as her favorite meal of the day, she loves experimenting with healthy and delicious new recipes.

10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

by Mireille Najjar

Eating a well-balanced breakfast every day is key to staying energized, focused, and alert. Get a fresh start to your day with a healthy, wholesome (and delicious) breakfast using these simple tips and recipes.


A hearty, fiber-rich breakfast topped with fresh berries.

Bircher muesli (Swiss oatmeal)

Soak oats, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds in milk overnight. In the morning, stir the mix with strawberries, blueberries, grated apples, and fresh yogurt. Bircher is rich in fiber and antioxidants, as well as beneficial fats and calcium.

Natural muesli

Munch on this fiber-rich oat dish with nuts and seeds, kiwi, a handful of berries, and a spoonful of yogurt. Natural muesli is high in antioxidants and probiotics, a type of “good” bacteria that protects against harmful bacteria and stimulates a healthy gut.

Poached eggs on spinach and whole-grain toast

Add a handful of baby spinach to a piece of whole-grain toast and top with poached eggs and reduced-salt baked beans. Baked beans are a great source of iron, B vitamins and fiber. Baby spinach is rich in beta-carotene, a compound found in many fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamin K and folate (vitamin B9).

Whole-oat porridge

For a fiber-rich dish, try whole-oat porridge with almond milk, almond flakes and chia seeds (rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber). Top with diced pear and banana, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey. Oats are a good source of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps reduce cholesterol levels.

Green veggie juice

Try this antioxidant-filled smoothie to start your day feeling energized. Toss baby spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber, apple, lime, and avocado in a blender until smooth.  Add a teaspoon of dried spirulina (a plant-like organism packed with protein), B vitamins, iron, and minerals.

Muesli and yogurt breakfast cups

Add layers of muesli, yogurt, and a variety of berries in a glass. Top with crushed mixed nuts and some shredded coconut. Yogurt is abundant in probiotic bacteria, which supports good immune and digestive health.

Spelt toasted sandwich

Prepare a spelt (a type of wheat)-toasted sandwich filled with avocado, a fried egg, rocket lettuce, and tomato relish. Eggs are an excellent breakfast choice that provides plenty of protein, zinc, and iron. Avocado is also a great source of the antioxidants vitamin E and beta-carotene.

Fruit smoothie

Transform a traditional fruit smoothie into an organic, protein-rich one that will stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent you from craving sweets during the day. Prepare the smoothie with organic milk, frozen raspberries, banana, yogurt, chia seeds, two dates and 2 tbsp. of protein powder (fermented brown rice, pea, or whey protein). This is a great on-the-go breakfast when you are short for time.

Quinoa porridge

Opt for nutritious, gluten-free quinoa porridge to up your intake of protein and fiber. Prepare the porridge using almond milk, diced apples, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, and almonds; finish with vanilla yogurt.

Scrambled eggs on whole-grain toast

A classic dish with a hearty twist—scrambled eggs made with pesto, grilled tomato, and avocado served on whole-grain toast with a touch of flaxseed oil. This protein-rich dish is packed with heart healthy fats that will keep you filled until lunchtime.

Mireille Najjar is a first-year NUTCOM student and an avid food and dessert lover, particularly of sushi and chocolate.