The Best of the Bunch – Brunch Tips!

This weekend I’m hosting a holiday brunch for my son’s ice-hockey team. Come Christmas morning and New Year’s Day, I will sit down to brunch with family, and I am sure many of you will too.

I simply can’t think of a meal I enjoy sharing with family and friends more than brunch. While breakfast and lunch in today’s busy world are all too often rushed, brunch is a relaxing meal served with special care.

Less formal than dinner, this marvelous mid-day meal is also exceptionally well suited to serve a crowd. Egg dishes, meats, and pastries – the mainstays of most brunches – are easy to adjust to the number of guests, and to serve. Unfortunately, typical brunch foods can wreak havoc on any healthy diet. Sausage, cheese, cream, and other rich calorie-laden ingredients, in addition to carb-heavy breads and pastries, can make them as unhealthful as they are festive.

Luckily, all it takes enjoy this wonderful meal in good health are a few menu adjustments.

Happy, Healthy Holiday Brunch Tips

  1. Rather than an array of baked goods, serve just one or two. Whole grain toast or rolls are always a great choice and the addition of single small muffin or piece of breakfast pastry can fit into most meal plans. These diabetes friendly Spicy Pumpkin Muffins are both festive and carb-conscious.
  2. Nix the usual eggnog for tomato juice. Instead serve reduced calorie orange juice, sparkling water, and seasonal flavored teas or coffees. Sugar-free hot chocolate is a guilt-free treat.
  3. Keep meats lean. While most breakfast meats are high in sodium, Canadian bacon and lean ham offer a fraction of the fat when compared to pork sausage and thick sliced bacon. If you do opt for sausage look for a reduced fat variety.
  4. Don’t forget the fruit. Sliced melon, orange wedges, and fresh berries bring color and health to the brunch table. Fresh fruit also raises blood sugar more slowly than fruit juices.
  5. Last, brunch casseroles are great when it comes to convenience, but they are only as healthy as the ingredients that go into them. Whether savory or sweet, egg casseroles can be lightened up with a combination of eggs and liquid egg substitute and low-fat milk over whole milk or cream. In savory casseroles reduced-fat cheese can easily replace full fat varieties and mushrooms and peppers are flavorful replacements for sausage. In sweet casseroles like this exceptional diabetes friendly Baked French Toast, lower fat ingredients and a sugar substitute saves the day. My favorite way to serve it is with Canadian bacon, fresh berries, reduced-sugar syrup and a side of scrambled eggs.

Happy, Healthy Holidays to You and Yours!

Marlene Koch

Marlene Koch, RD, (pronounced "Cook") has specialized in delicious food and healthy lifestyles for over twenty years. Thus, when Marlene realized she couldn’t bake a delicious cake without sugar for her stepdaughter newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she set out to find the sweet solution! Marlene is now a foremost authority on sugar and sugar substitutes and the author of the best-selling healthy, low-sugar hardback cookbook series which includes Unbelievable Desserts and Fantastic Food with Splenda, and her newest release, Marlene Koch’s Sensational Splenda Recipes: 375 Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories (M.Evans publisher). With combined sales of over 600,000 copies, Marlene and her books successfully bridge the gap between good food and good health!

Marlene graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in nutrition from U.C.L.A. in 1986 and is one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the American Dietetic Association. Combining her love of food with her educational foundation, she has held such positions as Hospital Foodservice Director, Nutrition Professor, Cooking Instructor for the Columbus State Culinary Academy and as a national nutrition educator to chefs for the American Culinary Federation. Her passion for teaching others how to make healthy food taste delicious also extend to her private nutrition practice specializing in weight loss, diabetes, and wellness.

Marlene loves to teach (and to eat!); her energetic and upbeat style has made her a popular food and nutrition speaker for organizations such as the American Diabetes and American Heart Associations and sought after for television and radio appearances which have included affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and Shaw TV (Vancouver) and radio stations nationwide.

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