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Healthy family breakfasts

All of us are trying to eat healthier and make healthy dishes for our families. Breakfast is often overlooked -- it's easy too buy granola bars or serve the cereal the kids like the most, which usually has far too much sugar. Try these healthy alternatives and see if some of the other breakfast "junk food" can be left behind!

Healthy and delicious
The banana bread is a big favorite at our house and I make it often when company comes as well. The bread and granola bars are also good for snacks or brown bag lunches.

Homemade Granola
Ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 cup bran
1/2 cup soy flakes
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup raisins

Directions:
Combine oats, wheat germ, bran, soy flakes, coconut, nuts and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the honey and water. Pour over the mixture and mix well. Spread on two ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 225 degrees F for one hour or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool, then stir in the raisins. Place in a covered jar and store in a cool, dry place or refrigerate. Use 1/2 cup of milk for each serving (try vanilla soy milk for a great breakfast!) A serving is about a 1/3 of a cup.

Note: Keeping the amounts the same you can substitute almonds or pecans for the walnuts. You may want dates or other dried fruit instead of raisins-you can use extra of something instead of the coconut too.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple juice
1 apple, diced
2/3 cup rolled oats
Dash cinnamon
1 cup lowfat or skim milk

Directions:
Place the water, juice and apples in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the rolled oats and cinnamon. Return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thick. Serve hot with the milk.

Lowfat Banana Bread
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup margarine
3 egg whites
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas
3/4 cup fat-free yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1 tsp. rum extract
2 3/4 all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Place oven rack on lowest position. Preheat to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar and margarine. Mix in egg whites until blended. Add the banana, yogurt and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in other ingredients until just moistened. Bake in two 8" loaf pans for about an hour until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.

Notes: The fat content listed was 2 grams per serving, but it wasn't clear if that was for one slice or two. I left out the nuts, and LOVED it. It was very moist and everyone in our family liked it. I would never have guessed it was low fat.

Granola Bars
Ingredients:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup toasted chopped nuts
1 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup sesame seeds or flax seeds
1 1/2 cup dried fruit (combination of anything you like)

Directions:
In a large pan, combine sugar, butter, honey, water and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in oats, nuts, wheat germ and sesame seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add fruit. Pour onto a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan lined with wax paper or parchment.

Cut the "dough" into bars of desired size, so you can break along the cut lines when cool. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Break along score lines. Store in an airtight container.

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