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I'm pleased to introduce guest blogger and Illinois State University dietetic student, Tessa Spinelli!

You've heard it over and over again, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day", and it's true! Although some of us may not feel hungry right after we wake up, our bodies are in need of fuel. After sleeping for a substantial period of time, your body awakes without any food in its system. According to the International Journal of Obesity, studies show that it's not only how much you eat that impacts your weight, but it's also when you eat. The study found that those who eat larger meals at the beginning of the day generally have healthier weights than those who do not. By eating breakfast you can prevent weight gain and give your body the energy it needs to get moving and start the day.

So what should you eat for breakfast? Many of the prepackaged breakfast items and cereals you find at the grocery store are often filled with sugar and simple carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar. The spike in your blood sugar may leave you feeling energized for a short period of time, but within a few hours you may begin to feel tired, drained, and hungry (again)! To keep you feeling full and energized, eat a breakfast with the proper balance of protein and carbohydrates, including fiber.

A simple solution is to make your own breakfast items! This gives you the control of what ingredients go into your breakfast. My all-time favorite breakfast item is pancakes. As a child, I remember waking up on Saturday mornings to the smell of homemade pancakes. I would run downstairs and quickly pour a river of pancake syrup all over them. Although they were delicious, the tired feeling from the spike in my blood sugar left me wanting to go back to bed, not start my day!

My homemade Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes are filled with fiber and protein that will keep you energized and full. Whipping the egg whites separately and folding them in at the end creates a delicious fluffy pancake, not dense like other whole wheat pancake recipes. I like to double the recipe and freeze the rest. That way I have a quick and easy breakfast that is ready for me during the week (they heat up great in the toaster). As for my river of pancake syrup, I now would much rather have my homemade strawberry sauce. My strawberry sauce is filled with flavor, packed full of vitamin C, and is lower in calories than syrup. This sauce is simple and is quickly made in the microwave. Enjoy!

Garaulet, M., Gómez-Abellán, P., Alburquerque-Béjar, J., Lee, Y., Ordovás, J., & Scheer, F. (2013). Timing of food intake predicts weight loss effectiveness. International Journal of Obesity, 37(4), 604-611. doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.229


Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes Printable PDF

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites

2 large egg yolks
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Strawberry sauce:

16 ounces frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Preheat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over a medium-low flame. In a medium bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt).

In another medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks, buttermilk, non-fat milk, honey and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine them. The batter will be somewhat lumpy. Then fold in the eggs whites until just combined.

Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to ladle the batter onto the griddle or skillet. Flip the pancake when the top is bubbling and it is golden brown on the bottom. Then cook until the other side is golden brown. Hold on an oven proof plate in the oven until the entire batch is ready. When all the pancakes are ready, cut them into heart shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Ladle about 1/3 of the strawberry sauce on top.

Strawberry Sauce

Place the strawberries and honey in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 3-4 minutes uncovered. Stir in lemon and lightly mash the strawberries with the spoon.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size about 1/3 cup)

Nutrition analysis per serving (Including Strawberry Sauce): 210 calories, 3 grams fat, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 190 milligrams sodium, 39 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams dietary fiber, 9 grams protein