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Nutritionally Speaking

Tasty Fruit Dishes Offer a Good Start at Breakfast

July 06, 1989|TONI TIPTON

Several studies throughout the years have confirmed that children who eat a balanced breakfast show better academic performance than their breakfast-skipping classmates. Similarly, researchers in the health and nutrition fields have recommended that adults improve their intake of major nutrients at breakfast.

The trouble with typical breakfast items is that while they may include nutritious foods such as eggs, potatoes, fruit and whole grains, they are typically prepared using high-fat methods. Sugar-laced baked goods, cereals topped with high-fat butter and cream, or fried meats are a few examples.

Diners desiring to return to the breakfast table should instead look for low-fat alternatives to butter, such as whipped or diet margarine and opt for low- or nonfat milk as a substitute for cream in cereal. Try poaching eggs or preparing vegetable omelets in non-stick cookware rather than frying them. And serve low-fat cheese and poultry as an alternate source of protein.

The following recipes provide a few creative ways to use wholesome ingredients to break the night's fast and supply the body with nutrients lost during sleep. Keep butter and syrup off the table; instead, serve unusual fruit combinations over pancakes and French toast or serve quick-breads without butter alongside individual dishes of fresh summer fruits.

FRENCH TOAST WITH APPLE SLICES

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tablespoons, plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

4 eggs, beaten

8 (1-inch) thick slices French-style bread

4 tart green apples, unpeeled

1 tablespoon margarine

1/4 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 ounces low-fat Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, optional

2 tablespoons slivered almonds, optional

Bring milk to boil in saucepan, along with vanilla, cinnamon sticks and 2 tablespoons lemon zest. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks and cool mixture to room temperature.

Whisk eggs into milk mixture until well blended. Dip each bread slice into milk mixture and place soaked bread in baking dish. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread and refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes or overnight.

Meanwhile, cut apples into bite-size pieces. Melt margarine in non-stick skillet over medium heat and saute apples until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add honey, cinnamon, remaining 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and juice. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until apples are tender when pierced with fork. Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheese and almonds.

Heat large non-stick skillet or griddle and spray with non-stick vegetable spray, if needed. Cook each bread slice over medium-high heat until golden, turning once. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining bread slices. Spoon 1/2 cup apple topping over each slice. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

DATE-FILLED HONEY RING

4 cups buttermilk baking mix

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup margarine, softened

1 cup nonfat milk

3 egg whites

Date Filling

1/4 cup honey

Combine baking mix, sugar, margarine, milk and eggs until dough forms, then beat 30 seconds. Spread half of dough in 12-cup bundt pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable coating spray.

Spread Date Filling over top, then cover with remaining dough. Bake at 350 degrees about 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then invert on heat-proof serving platter. Spread with honey and serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Date Filling

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup margarine, melted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine dates, sugar, margarine and cinnamon. Use to fill coffee cake.

COTTAGE CHEESE AND

FRUIT PANCAKES

1 (16-ounce) can sliced cling peaches or pear halves, in juice

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pancake mix

1 cup low-fat milk

Banana-Pear or Raisin-Peach Sauce

Drain fruit, reserving juice for fruit sauce. Chop fruit. Combine cottage cheese and eggs in blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour into bowl.

Add pancake mix and milk. Stir until just blended. Fold in fruit.

For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto medium-hot skillet or griddle sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Cook until golden on each side. Serve with Banana-Pear or Raisin-Peach Sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Banana-Pear Sauce

1 (16-ounce) can pear halves, in juice

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

1 ripe banana, sliced

Drain fruit, reserving juice in saucepan. Add orange juice, cornstarch, sugar and reserved fruit juice from pancake recipe. Stir to dissolve cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and translucent. Add fruit and heat through. Serve over pancakes.

Raisin-Peach Sauce

1 (16-ounce) can sliced cling peaches, in juice

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup seedless raisins

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Drain fruit, reserving juice in saucepan. Add orange juice, raisins, cornstarch, sugar and reserved fruit juice from pancakes. Stir to dissolve cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and translucent. Add fruit and vanilla and heat through. Serve over pancakes.

BANANA LOAF

1 3/4 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3 egg whites

1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and soda. Set aside.

Combine egg whites, bananas, oil and vanilla in large bowl and beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and stir, just until moistened. Spoon into 9x5-inch loaf pan sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray. Bake at 350 degrees until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn out on wire rack and cool completely. Makes 12 servings.

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