Building a Better Breakfast

You've always heard breakfast was the most important meal of the day, and the research definitely supports it.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survery (NHANES) found that when compared to those who don't eat breakfast, those who did were less likely to be overweight or obese or have elevated blood pressure.  Other studies found that participants that ate breakfast were better able to control their appetites and had a greater intake of iron and folate, important micronutrients for cell function.

 Some people totally hate breakfast, and I get that.  Some people wake up feeling nauseous, or they wake up early to go workout and eating anything sounds like the worst idea in the world.  I get that.  I really do.  I wake up and the only thing I want for about an hour is a huge glass of water and some coffee.  Once, I've had my coffee, we can start talking about food.

I've also heard complaints that breakfast is boring.  They're tired of cereals, they're sick of oatmeal and they can't stand the thought of having another smoothie.  This one I also understand, although I find I go through cycles of breakfasts.  Like for a year I was obsessed with oatmeal with almond milk over fruit and then I got sick of that and started having scrambled eggs with spinach every morning for a year.  I'm in a phase now, and have been for about 3 years, where I have a smoothie every morning for breakfast, and I find this one is the most variable and the least likely that I'll get sick of.  You can put anything in a smoothie and sometimes you find out that it was a great idea, and other times (like combining maca powder and sunflower sprouts) you realize it's a terrible idea.

Here are a couple of ideas I put together for good breakfast options that you can change up every day by adding different fruits, nuts and greens:

Chia Breakfast Bowl

        Image from

        Image from

Chia seeds can hold up to 10 times their weight in water, and when soaked in fluid, they form a gel-like consistency similar to a pudding.  The flavor isn't overpowering, so you can feel free to make this a sweet or savory pudding depending on the mood you're in.

To prepare a chia breakfast bowl, you will need 1 cup almond milk (or any milk or milk alternative), 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, and any desired toppings such as berries, walnuts or dried fruits.  Mix the chia seeds and milk together in a glass jar, cover and let sit for 15 minutes or until it forms a gel-like consistency.  Stir in the toppings and enjoy!  

Time Saving Tip: You can let the chia seeds soak overnight and add the toppings in while you're getting ready in the morning to save time.

Breakfast Smoothies

Image from

Image from

This one is sort of self-explanatory.  All you need is a blender and some fruit, greens and some milk alternative.  Lately, I've been really into a mix of banana, papaya, spinach, frozen mango, pumpkin seeds and kefir.  I also really like adding in avocados for an unexpected creaminess.  The important thing with smoothies is to experiment until you find a texture and a flavor that you enjoy!

Overnight Oats

Image from

Image from

This is a great summer breakfast because its a chilled alternative to warm oatmeal. To prepare, measure 1/2 cup of rolled oats into a jar with a lid, and pour 1 cup of milk or a milk alternative over the oats.  Allow this to sit overnight.  In the morning, stir in fresh fruits (berries are a great option), nuts or seeds and take it with you out the door!  The fiber from the oats will help you stay fill longer and the fats in the nuts and milk will help you feel satiated, making it less likely you'll overeat later in the day.

Life Updates: Summer in Florida

Hi everyone!

It's been awhile since my last post and I'm excited to have the summer before I start my Dietetic Internship to focus on building this back up again!  I moved out of my apartment in Cambridge two weeks ago, and now I'm living in South Florida with my lovely fiance and my new perfect puppy.

Meet Marni!  She's a mixed-breed rescue from Peggy Adams, a fabulous shelter here.

Meet Marni!  She's a mixed-breed rescue from Peggy Adams, a fabulous shelter here.

Florida is quite an adjustment from Cambridge considering you have to drive to get most places, it's extremely hot and humid and is less than 10 minutes from the beach.  I've spent more time on the beach in the past two weeks than I think I have since moving back from Venezuela!  It's been pretty awesome.

Pretty peonies in our new beautiful kitchen.

Pretty peonies in our new beautiful kitchen.

Another thing I'm loving about our place in Florida is we have a deck with a grill, so I've been making kebabs, veggie burgers and grilled fish as often as possible.  I'd love it if you'd share some of your favorite grilling recipes!  Right now I'm loving marinated shrimp kebabs but am really excited about expanding my options!  


Milk and Milk Alternatives: What are the options?

I discovered Almond Milk a few years ago, and while I wasn't in love with the flavor, it was a good choice for a milk alternative.  I used it in smoothies, morning oatmeal, soups and anything else I used milk for.  The only problem I had with it was I hated it in coffee.  So I started looking into other milk alternatives just to see what was out there.  I tried soymilk, cashew milk, rice milk, coconut milk and hemp milk to see if there was one that really stood out to me.  I learned that I prefer soy milk less than any other option and that cashew milk was one of the best.  Of course, it's impossible to find cashew milk for sale, so to rely on this option, it has to be homemade.  I decided to continue using regular skim milk (from grass-fed cows, of course) in my coffee, but to continue using almond milk in smoothies, oatmeal and soups.

I put together an infographic in case anyone else is going through the same experience  and just wants to see the different milks laid out next to each other and compared to the standard skim milk:

Let me know what you think!  And what milk alternatives you rely on!

Exploring Boston: the Arnold Arboretum

I rarely go to Jamaica Plain (also known as JP).  Since moving here, I've only been 3 times, all to volunteer at the same place.  This Sunday, since neither Josh and I were working, we decided to head down to JP and check out the Arnold Arboretum.  We drove there, but it's easy enough to get to via the T; just take the Orange Line to Forest Hills and it's about a 5 minute walk from there.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Arboretum isn't packed with tons of people, making it a welcome alternative to other outdoor spaces such as the Boston Common.  I highly recommend checking this place out if you want to spend a lazy afternoon in a beautiful space.

There are quite a few flowers still in bloom and tons of honeybees.  We even saw the head of a massive turtle as it came up for some air.  There is a bonsai exhibit but we missed it because we didn't get there until after 4 pm.

Swiss Chard and Potato Enchiladas

My sister came up last weekend to visit, so I had her write today's post on one of the delicious meals we made together last week!  Enjoy!


Greetings from the other Henke sister! I went up to Boston to visit Sarah this past weekend. I was able to witness the excitement of the arrival of Sarah’s CSA box, which was then promptly followed by the panic of what she was going to do with the huge bunch of chard that was left over from the previous week. While she napped away the stress of the overflowing fridge, I took to the internet to find something that 1) used all of the chard and 2) didn’t feature a salad or pasta which already occurred too frequently in that week’s menu. After a little bit of digging, I came up with Chard and Potato Enchiladas.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 pound rinsed and chopped chard (you could also use collard greens or kale)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (add more as needed)

  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 6 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • Fresh ground pepper

  • 4 ounces crumbled fresh cheese (we made it from scratch-more on that next week!)

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • Homemade salsa

What to do:

  1. Saute potatoes in oil for about 8 minutes or until fork tender and golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until soft. Add the chard leaves, cover, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat. Combine the potatoes with 1/2 cup of the cheese and the Swiss chard mixture, and set aside.

  2. Once you are ready to start putting the enchiladas together, pour enough vegetables oil into a skillet so it is about a 1/4 inch deep, and heat over high heat. Fry the tortillas one at a time for about 5-10 seconds until they are softened. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour about a cup of the pre-made salsa into the bottom of 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Put 2 heaping tablespoons of the Swiss chard mixture in the center each tortilla and roll them up. Place the tortillas, seams side down, on the salsa so they are right next to each other laying the enchiladas snugly next to one other. Pour the remaining salsa over the enchiladas. Cook in a 350 degree F oven until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is softened, about 20 minutes. Serve with plain Greek yogurt on top for a little extra flavor. Enjoy!