Healthy Eating Tips and Recipes for Brunch

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Hi HG,

Brunch is very popular in my community, but I'm trying to watch my weight. What tips do you have for attending brunch, and what recipes can I make when I host?

Sarah in Seattle

Hi Sarah,

Brunch may be a combo of breakfast foods and lunch items, but if you're not careful, it's easy to consume an entire day's worth of calories. Check out these tips and recipes that'll allow you to enjoy brunch without wrecking your diet...

Healthy Eating Ideas for BrunchBefore-Brunch Basics: People tend to skip breakfast if they're having an afternoon brunch, but heading out to eat on a completely empty stomach can be a bad idea. You don't want to arrive ravenous -- you'd just be more likely to devour everything in sight! Have something light, like a piece of fruit, in the morning. Drink plenty of water, too, to take the edge off your hunger.

Buffet 101: Always start by doing a lap around the room. Not for exercise, silly -- to see what food's being offered! It's easy to overload your plate with the wrong foods when you aren't prepared for the full spread. Once you see what's available, you can build a smart meal. Fill most of your plate with the healthiest options, and take only a little of the more indulgent items. I also like to stick to one plateful -- it helps to see the true amounts of what I'm eating all at once. After that plate, I'll have some tea or coffee instead of going back for seconds. If I'm still hungry after that, I'll have a smaller plate of the healthy stuff.

Omelette and Waffle Stations: When it comes to restaurant brunch, the made-to-order station can be a gift and a curse! At the omelette stand, you can usually get egg whites or egg substitute. Load up on veggies, but avoid the meat and cheese. Unfortunately, the waffle station is not as easy to navigate. Batter is batter, and it's pretty high in calories. If you have to feed a waffle fix, split one with a friend, and pile it high with fresh fruit (not the syrupy stuff).

Fill 'Er Up: Make lots of room on your plate for the following: fresh fruit, shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon/lox with cucumbers and tomatoes, small portions of cereal (with some fat-free milk), and English muffins (with a smear of jelly). Craving a bagel? Have half, and scoop out the inside!

Proceed with Caution: See some premade oatmeal? If it's made with sugar and whole milk (just ask), you're probably better off avoiding it. If it's unsweetened and made with water or fat-free milk, take a reasonable portion and add a little no-calorie sweetener. And oatmeal packets are A-OK! As for mimosas -- the cocktail of choice for most brunches -- they're actually not too bad. A 4-oz. flute has around 80 calories. But stick to one... It's easy to take in hundreds of calories with bottomless beverages; and if you get tipsy, that waffle station might start to look like a very good idea!

Steer Clear: Avoid pancakes, French toast, pastries, and fatty meats (sorry, sausage). Also skip the maple syrup. Did you know a 2-tablespoon serving -- just two tablespoons! -- has over 100 calories? Not worth it!

Brunch Menus: When you're at a place offering brunch items from a menu, just follow the advice outlined above when ordering. A veggie egg-white omelette, English muffin with jam, and a side of fresh fruit? Easy and delicious!

At Home: If you're hosting brunch (or bringing something to a gathering), check out these recipes for breakfast breads: muffins, scones, Danishes, and more! For even more brunch-tastic goodies, including a tasty three-ingredient Bellini, click for recipes from the "Knockout Brunch" episode of Hungry Girl. Still hungry? Whip up this Big Southern-Style B-fast Trifle or these Cheesy-Good Breakfast Tartlets.

Happy brunchin'!

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Today, July 16th, is the fifth anniversary of Corndog Day... according to us anyway. A batch of Corndog Millionaire Muffins would be a perfect addition to any brunch spread!

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