An advertising campaign in the 1970s used to tell us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I didn't need to hear it on TV, though. I heard it from my mother anytime I tried to skip breakfast so I could sleep as long as possible before going to school.
But the caution is true. Go without, and hunger pains will jar your stomach hours before lunch, sending you to the snack machine to fill up on the empty calories in junk food.
These days, food companies are trying to give us convenience and nutrition. There are new Splenda sweeteners that contain vitamins B, C, E and fiber. Bolthouse Farms has a new line of chilled coffee and tea drinks in flavors such as Vanilla Chai Tea, Mocha Cappuccino and Hazelnut Latte, all filled with extra vitamins and minerals. My favorite is the hazelnut flavor. It's a good substitute for coffee if, like me, you're not a huge fan of hot coffee in the warm months.
It's amazing to me how companies now are paying more attention to the fact that we need an extra vitamin boost, as many of us simply are not eating correctly. I know you may be getting tired of hearing about it, but the proof lies in our high obesity rates.
While we're on the subject of breakfast, I received an email from Carly Boehm asking me where in Chattanooga she and her husband could find a restaurant that serves a good, healthy breakfast. I need your help in letting her know. So email me at abraly@times freepress.com with some helpful suggestions. While you're at it, let me know your favorite breakfast menu item, and I'll pass your recommendation along.
I found this recipe, along with other healthful breakfast ideas at www.eat betteramerica.com. Hard to go wrong with a name like that. Try making a batch of these to last you through the week. They will also make a nice surprise in your child's lunchbox.
Cheerios Banana Raisin Muffins
2 cups Cheerios cereal
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
21/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Heat oven to 400 F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with shortening, or spray with cooking spray. Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and coarsely crush with rolling pin or meat mallet. In large bowl, mix cereal, flour, brown sugar and baking powder. Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins, each with 190 calories and 41/2 grams fat.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.