There are easy ways to shave calories from traditional heavyweights, like pancakes and muffins, while still enjoying a decent serving size. The trick: move in whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Check out these three breakfast recipes from Men's Fitness blogger Molly Morgan, whose latest book, Skinny-Size It, drops this week.
Before: A breakfast skillet loaded with calories and fat. (When you order this type of dish in a restaurant, it can have as much as 700 calories and 50 grams of fat.) After: A lighter, more flavorful skillet packed with fiber-rich vegetables and beans. To make it even lighter, swap whole eggs for egg whites, since the yolk is where the majority of calories in an egg are stored. The white is a complete source of protein, yet it has only 15 calories.
1 small red potato, diced
½ medium sweet onion, peeled and diced
½ medium red or green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed and diced
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 large egg whites
2 large eggs
¼ cup shredded light cheddar cheese (such as Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar Cheese)
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the potatoes, onions and peppers until all the vegetables have browned and are tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the black beans and cook for 5 minutes more.
2. Add the egg whites and the whole eggs to the vegetable-bean mixture, and cook, stirring frequently, until the eggs have set, about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the cheese over the scramble, cover the skillet and let the cheese melt, about 2 minutes. Serve at once.
Nutrition (per serving): 190 calories, 4 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 110 milligrams cholesterol, 150 milligrams sodium, 22 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 17 grams protein
WHOLE-WHEAT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
Many fruit muffins gain their sweetness from added sugar and have only a small amount of real fruit. Plus they are typically made with all-purpose flour. By switching from all-purpose flour to whole-wheat flour and adding lots of fruit to these muffins, you end up with 3 grams of fiber in each serving. Additionally, the recipe relies on the natural sweetness of fruit, thus eliminating the need for much added sugar.
Simple Swap: Buttermilk actually contains no butter, as it is basically the sour milk that results from the curdling of the milk proteins. Buttermilk is used frequently in baking. Rather than buying buttermilk, make your own. Simply mix together one cup of low-fat milk and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Let it sit for about 3 to 5 minutes, and the proteins will begin to curdle.
Nonstick cooking spray or 12 paper cupcake liners, for greasing or lining the muffin tin
2 cups whole-wheat flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup low-fat milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar(buttermilk)
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons melted unsalted margarine (such as Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread) or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Coat the wells of a 12-cup muffin tin with the cooking spray or line the wells with the paper cupcake liners.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well.
4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk, egg whites, margarine and vanilla extract, and stir until well combined.
5. Fold in the blueberries.
6. Spoon the batter into the wells of the prepared muffin tin, so that each well is about two-thirds full.
7. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Makes: 12 muffins
Nutrition (per serving): 130 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 410 milligrams sodium,28 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 12 grams sugar, 4 grams protein
VERY BANANA PANCAKES
A serving of traditional pancakes can have as much as or even more than 400 calories, 80 milligrams of cholesterol and 38 grams of sugar, while offering only about 1 gram of fiber. But these pancakes allow you to have the same number of pancakes as in a typical serving but at a cost of only 300 calories, almost no cholesterol, and little added sugar. Most of the sugar in these pancakes comes from the fresh bananas in the batter, and a serving contains 6 grams of belly-filling fiber, thanks to the combination of whole-wheat (or oat) flour and oatmeal.
Simple Swap: In any pancake, muffin or cookie recipe swap each whole egg for two egg whites. This single change will trim the recipe by 65 calories, 5 grams of fat and 186 milligrams of cholesterol. Additionally, instead of all-purpose flour, use 100 percent whole-wheat or oat flour, found in the grocery store baking aisle.
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
1½ cups low-fat milk plus 2 tablespoons white vinegar (buttermilk)
¾ cup whole-wheat flour or oat flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 medium bananas, plus 1 sliced for garnishing
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the griddle
1. In a small bowl soak the oats in ¾ cup of the buttermilk for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the egg whites, brown sugar, the remaining ¾ cup of buttermilk, and the oat-buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Mash 2 of the bananas and fold gently into the pancake batter.
5. Coat a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray and then heat it over medium heat.
6. Working in batches, ladle ¼ cup of the pancake batter onto the skillet or griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on surface and the underside is golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook it on other side, about 1 minute more. Repeat until all the batter has been used.
7. Garnish the pancakes with the banana slices and serve at once.
Makes: 6 servings (2 pancakes each)
Nutrition (per serving): 300 calories, 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, < 5 milligrams cholesterol, 520 milligrams sodium, 60 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 25 grams sugar, 10 grams protein