Tag Archives: Kefir

Miracle Grains from Russia, What is Kefir? Easy Steps to Making Kefir

Just what is kefir? Kefir is said to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains in an area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and spread over the countries of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.  Kefir is considered a staple food in Russia and the reason for longevity.  When yogurt was introduced to America as a food that was extremely healthy, they had actually discovered kefir.  Kefir and what we use today as yogurt are two completely different things.  Even Greek yogurt is a different culture.  But they are all fermented foods which are extremely beneficial for you.  Kefir grains occur naturally.  Kefir grains were traditionally treated almost like part of the family.  The word kefir means “long life” or “good life”.  You pronounce kefir, kuh-FEAR.

Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains.  There are also water kefir grains.  Kefir grains are a combination of lactic acid, bacteria and yeasts and they resemble cauliflower.  The exact nutrients of Kefir depends on your grains and the milk that was fermented.

I find kefir much easier to make than yogurt.  It is better for you than yogurt and has a much thinner consistency.  Kefir has a tangy flavor that increases with a longer fermentation.  It contains an enzyme that breaks down lactose, the sugar found in milk.  As a result kefir is easier to digest than other dairy products and can usually be tolerated by lactose-intolerant people.  It does not add sugar to the diet as the bacteria eats it.  

When making yogurt you have to watch the temperature and the time.  With kefir – it isn’t a key factor to the quality of your batch.  When the temperatures are warmer in the room you are fermenting – your kefir will turn much faster.  The longer it ferments the stronger it gets.  On a cold day, it can take 24 hours. 

I have had my kefir grains for years, a gift from my cousin.  They have been through a lot.  I got tired of making kefir so they stayed in the back of my fridge for four months and revived nicely.  You will find that making kefir is very easy and simple.

The benefits of Kefir are the beneficial bacteria or probiotics that gets introduced into the intestines and stay there.  These beneficial bacteria keep the intestines healthy, provide food for the friendly bacteria living in the gut, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria, supports the healing of ulcers and colitis, supports bone health and strengthens the immune system.  Kefir is a good source of protein, calcium, magnesium,phosphorus, tryptophan, K2 and B vitamins.  Many people find relief from chronic constipation through regular consumption of kefir and it may even help with allergies and asthma.  It helps with cold, flu, acne, yeast infections, and may even treat diarrhea.  Some people report that they sleep better on kefir.  Recent discoveries show that gut health can influence mental health and well-being, many have notice kefir can help with anxiety and depression.

The simple process of making Milk Kefir

The instructions I'm providing apply to regular milk.  These do not apply to water kefir or kefir made using coconut or nut milk.

Supplies needed:
-
Glass jar, like a Mason jar with a lid or other cover
-Milk kefir grains
-plastic colander
-a plastic or glass bowl
-a plastic, bamboo or wooden slotted spoon
-milk

Step 1 – get some kefir grains.  Find a friend, most are willing to share as kefir continues to grow with each batch providing a good supply of grains to share.  There are sources to purchase on the internet as well.  The powdered kefir starters do not last very long.  Kefir grains can last indefinitely with care.

Step 2 – The tools you will need:  A plastic colander, a bowl, wooden slotted spoon,  and a glass jar with a lid.  Don’t use metal utensils. 

Step 3 – Put your new kefir grains into a clean glass jar and add milk.

The amount of milk to kefir grains can vary and is not exact.  When you first get your grains, you don't want to overwhelm them with too much milk.  Start with about 1 tablespoon of kefir grains to 1/2 cup to 1 cup of milk to start with.  You have to find what works for you as it is not exact.  

The more you make kefir, the more you will understand the flavor you like.  Too many grains to milk ratio and your kefir can ferment quickly which may be too strong a flavor.  Too little and your kefir may turn and not ferment properly.  I don’t notice a big difference when I have more grains, it just ferments more quickly.

Variables in temperature and milk quality can affect the process.  Do not fill your container more than 2/3 full.

What kind of milk do you use?  Raw cow, goat or even sheep milk makes a great kefir.   Organic, whole, pasteurized milk is better than fat free milk.  Use 2% or even better - whole milk.  Some people use nut milks, but it needs to be sweetened.  Look up specific instructions for alternate milks.  I used unsweetened almond milk once just not thinking and it soured – it didn’t ferment as there was no sugar to feed the grains.   Water kefir can be made from water kefir grains using a sweetener and a different process.

Kefir thrives on raw milk.  We've never had a problem ever with raw milk and I've been using it all my life.  If you want to read up on the facts of raw milk, check this site.

Step 4 – Let it sit on your kitchen counter from 6 hours to 36 hours depending on the temperature.  The warmer your environment, the quicker it will ferment.  In Arizona during the summer and a home at 76 degrees during the day - it takes 10 hours or less.  In our winters with a house at about 68 degrees during the day and 60 at night, it takes 24 hours.  The kefir will start to thicken slightly and will begin to taste a little sour like kefir and then you will know it is done.  The longer it ferments, the stronger the flavor.  The whey will eventually begin to separate from the kefir.  It is still good, just stronger tasting.   In the warmer months, the kefir sits on the counter all day, and in the evening I'll stick it in the fridge until the next morning when I'm ready to use it.

Step 5 – Strain the grains in the plastic colander.  Be gentle to your grains, they are a living organism.  They do not need to be rinsed – ever.  Just gently stir them with your wooden slotted spoon to separate the kefir from the kefir grains.  Metal is not good for your precious grains.

Step 6 – Wash your glass container that you ferment your kefir in.  I just rinse with warm water every other time I make kefir.

Step 7 – Using your slotted spoon, put your kefir grains gently back into the clean glass jar and repeat the process.

 

Questions and Tips

What is Kefir? Making Kefir.New grains:  When you get your kefir grains, they may be ‘stressed’ from traveling.  In most cases they are fine.  But you may not want to use the kefir from your first batch as it ‘heals’ and even the first two or three batches if the kefir traveled through the mail, long distances or was stressed for any reason. It won't be 'bad', it will just have a more 'yeasty' off taste.  If you obtained local kefir grains, your first batch will most likely be perfect.  

How much kefir should I consume?  Always start with small amounts, like one to two ounces and work your way to larger amounts.  Many people consume one to four cups a day several days a week.  If you are consuming a large amount, it is advisable to take a break after three weeks for a week.  It can be used medicinally in large amounts for a short period of time.  We use 1/2 to one cup daily unless we are working on an issue, then we'll consume more.  My kids get a little less.

What if I'm lactose intolerant?  Many people that are lactose intolerant happily enjoy milk kefir.  The yeasts and bacteria consume the lactose or the milk sugar for their food supply.  Very ripe (sour) kefir has the least amount of lactose.  Always start with a small amount.

Are you short on time?  You can repeat the process daily and have fresh kefir every day.  We change out our kefir about four times a week.  On the other mornings, I just stick the jar in the fridge.  We don't always have time to prepare the kefir daily.  It does just fine sitting in the fridge.  If I know I'll be gone or busy for a few days, I'll put fresh milk with the kefir grains and immediately stick the jar in the fridge.  It still ferments, just much slower.

I’m going on vacation, what do I do with my kefir?  I put my kefir grains in the jar and add milk.  Then I put the jar in the fridge.  Most people will tell you to change out the milk weekly.  But I have had the same milk in the jar for a month and my grains are just fine.  You may not want to consume the kefir after awhile as it may be very sour.

What if it looks or smells bad?  Dump that batch, reserving the grains and make a batch or two letting the grains heal.  In most cases your grains will recover.

Do the grains contain gluten?  There is no grain of any kind in the kefir grains.  They are simply called kefir grains.

Will I need to change or replace my kefir grains?  Your grains can last indefinitely as long as you take care of them.  Kefir can become overly 'yeasty' if not cared for.  This isn't bad yeast.  Kefir grains a combination of yeasts and bacteria.

Can I flavor my kefir or do I need to drink it plain?  Many people that like drinking buttermilk will drink plain kefir.  But I like to blend some fruit first and add the kefir with some stevia or raw honey for a nice beverage.  My kids will even drink this.  You can add kefir to your smoothies.  When I find myself with extra kefir I will use it to make buttermilk pancakes.  The heat from cooking may kill some of the nutritional benefits.   Those not used to the taste of kefir may find that mixing a 1:1 ratio of kefir and milk / nut milk is a good way to mask the tartness. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to use kefir:

  • Blend some fruit like strawberries with milk or water.  Add dates, sugar, or raw honey to sweeten.  Add in Chia, flax and/or hemp seeds.  Blend until smooth.  Then gently mix in the strained kefir.  Drink and enjoy.
  • We love raw muesli with raw oats, raw nuts and seeds, chopped fruit.  We top it off with some kefir and milk.
  • I'll take 1/2 cup kefir and about 1/4 cup or more of nut milk or raw milk and add 2 tablespoons of whole chia seeds, some chopped nuts or hemp seeds, ground flax, and or chopped fruit.  I'll sweeten with stevia or raw honey.  Let it sit for a few hours and the chia seeds will thicken the mix.  It makes a delicious snack or breakfast.
  • I love mixing kefir with a little nut or raw milk and flavored stevia like Root Beer Stevia or Vanilla Cream Stevia.  For my kids that don't like "sour" kefir - I'll do equal parts of kefir to nut or raw milk.
  • You can use kefir in pancakes or muffins.  You can substitute kefir for sour cream in recipes.
  • Favorite:  2 cups kefir, 1 cup milk, handful of strawberries, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 tea vanilla and a dash of salt.  Blend and you get delicious strawberry kefir.
  • Another favorite:  2 cups kefir, 2 cups milk, 3 tablespoons cacao powder, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/4 cup soft raisins or soaked dates, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 teaspoon vanilla, a dash of salt, a few ice cubes and blend in a good blender until raisins and ice are smooth.
  • Strain the kefir to make kefir cheese for use in dips and spreads.  

What do I do with the extra grains?  As your grains grow, a natural process, you can blend some of the grains into a smoothie, or give them away.  You don’t want to use too many grains as your kefir will ferment too quickly.

Add to Plan to Eat

Milk Kefir

Course: Beverages

Prep Time: 5 min

Total Time: 5 min

Yield: 1 cup

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk whole, organic is best
  • 1-2 Tablspoon kefir grains

Directions

  1. The time it takes for kefir to be done depends on the temperature of the room. Basically the colder the room, the longer it takes to ferment and the warmer the room, the shorter the time. For our home, in the winter it takes about 24 hours and in the summer as short as 8 hours.
  2. You can find kefir grains from friends as the grains are constantly growing, so they are easy to share.
  3. When you get your new kefir grains, you will place them in a glass jar, like a mason jar. Add about 1 cup of milk for a 1 to 2 tablespoon sized ball of kefir grains. Put a lid on loosely or cover with a paper towel, fine mesh covering or towel and secure with a rubber band. Set aside.
  4. The room temperature will determine the time it takes your kefir to be done. The longer it sits, the more tangy it will become. It should thicken slightly and can even be a little 'stringy and slimy'. It will be thinner than yogurt.
  5. Strain your kefir from the kefir grains using a plastic colander and a plastic or wooden slotted spoon. You don't want to use metal. Rinse the glass jar. I usually rinse my glass jar every other time. NEVER rinse the kefir grains. Put your kefir grains back into the jar and add milk. Cover and set aside.
  6. You can consume the tart, tangy kefir just as it is, add a little sweetener or blend it with fruit. There are a number of ways to use kefir. One of my favorite and simple ways is to add a few drops of Chocolate Raspberry Stevia and drink.
  7. Keep repeating. And as your kefir grains grow and multiply, share them with friends or toss them. I will add them to smoothies.
  8. If you need a break, simply put them in the fridge for a day or 2. It will continue to ferment but will slow down. If you want to store them for 1 to 3 weeks, put fresh milk over the grains and immediately put in the back of the refrigerator. The fermentation process will slow way down. .

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Plan To Eat

 

I usually have kefir grains to share.  So if you are in need of some let me know.  Just remember, kefir is easy to make and adds a lot of benefits to your diet.

What is your favorite way to use kefir in a drink?  Share your recipes.

Kally

Updated January 19, 2018

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20 Healthy Breakfast Recipes and Ideas That Kids and Families Love Part 3

A healthy breakfast is the perfect way to start your day for more energy and better concentration.  If you missed part 1 of our healthy breakfasts series, click here.   With a little planning you can save a lot of money and have a nice variety of breakfast meals that are healthy and your family will love.  With food costs rising, don’t sacrifice a good breakfast – save money eating healthy.   Need some more inspiration, check this article out with healthy breakfast recipes.  You can save a ton of money not buying boxed cereal.  I have found that when my family eats a better, healthier meal, they eat less and are not hungry so quickly - another benefit that saves money on your grocery bills.

1.     Fruit is a great way to start the day.  I cannot think of a faster breakfast. I like to call it 'The Original Fast Food'.   Apples, bananas or oranges are self-contained.  Raw fruit is easy to digest because of the live enzymes, so it is a great food early in the morning or if you need a late snack. 

·         The fastest and easiest breakfast to grab.

2.     Sliced apple with nut butter.  Eat like that or add coconut or chopped nuts and seeds.  If you need more inspiration, click here.

3.     Fruit with cheese.  Apples, pears, strawberries, and grapes are all delicious with cheese.  Check out this site’s Fruit Kabob.

4.     Fruit smoothies.  With just fruit or  add plain yogurt or kefir.  Sweeten if you need to.

·         Can be prepared up to 3 days in advance to retain its nutrition.

5.     Green smoothies.  There are lots of combinations and recipes all over the internet.  I went to a retreat with Victoria Boutanko and I think she has lots of great resources and information, click here to learn more. 

·         Can be prepared up to 3 days in advance to retain its nutrition.

6.     Fruit salad is a fun breakfast.  Chop fruit and serve.  You can toss with lemon, lime or orange juice; yogurt or kefir; add chopped nuts or seeds.  Sweeten if needed.  One of our family favorites is to use tropical fruits, especially papaya, and toss with lime. 

·         Prepare the night before for a quicker morning.

7.     Yogurt or kefir with fruit.

·         Can prepare a few days ahead.

8.     Fruit Parfaits.  Layer chopped fruit, yogurt and granola.  Homemade granola has less sugar.  You can also use raw rolled oats, soaked or cooked grains, or quinoa.

·         Can prepare the night before.

9.     Banana on a Stick.   Take a banana and roll in nut butter or yogurt (Greek is best as it is thicker) and then roll in granola, oats, or chopped nuts and seeds.  Put it on a stick and freeze overnight.

·         Prepare several days in advance for an easy quick grab on warm mornings.  Put in a covered container.

10.   Pancakes or Waffles. Whole grain made from scratch, with or without gluten.  Don’t get overwhelmed by the making from scratch part, they are healthier and cheaper.  You can make your own mix ahead of time.  You can make them on the weekend and make extra to freeze.  They reheat easily in a toaster or in the oven with a pot of water under them.  We don’t use a microwave.  We use a lot of oat flour and soft white wheat flour.  On occasion, we have used just oat flour.  I make pancakes for me with coconut flour.  You can even use a little barley or just about any grain.   Another time saver: make the batter the night before while working on dinner and put in the fridge ready to cook up in the morning.  See the list below for topping ideas.

·         Agave syrup by itself or with maple extract mixed in.

·         Melted butter or coconut oil with honey to drizzle on top, optional:  cinnamon and nutmeg.

·         Chopped fruit, sweetened if needed. 

·         Yogurt, or fruit and yogurt.

·         Chopped apples cooked with a little water, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Thicken with something just a little (see part 2 for ideas)

·         Chopped and warmed berries and banana with water, sweetener if needed and something to thicken it. 

·         Pureed strawberries with cream cheese, almond milk, a little sweetener, and vanilla extract. We call this one strawberry sauce and my nine-year-old loves to dip waffle sticks in it.

·         Unsweetened applesauce, add cinnamon if you like.

·         Chocolate gravy:  Cocoa powder, chia seeds, butter or coconut oil, a sweetener, use water or almond milk and vanilla extract.  Blend the chia seeds into the milk and add everything.  Serve warm if you want.

11.   Crepes. I even make these with whole grains.  This is definitely something that takes a bit longer. 

·         Brush with a little melted butter or coconut oil and top with cinnamon and sugar.  Remember, when you’re using raw or coconut sugar, it is better for you.  You use a lot less sugar than what can be found in a bowl of presweetened cereal.  For those that are watching the sugar, you can put stevia in coconut oil and spread it on your crepes.

·         Stuff with fruit, and cream cheese or yogurt if you like.

·         Fold into fourths and drizzle any of the toppings for pancakes on top.

12.   Eggs. Try them in different ways.  Hard boil them ahead of time for a quick breakfast on the go.  *Note – I like to travel with hard boiled eggs.  Rather than cooking your eggs the same way, try new recipes.   Casseroles can be prepared the night before to stick in the oven when you wake up.

13.   Breakfast burritos, with green chili, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, cilantro, onions and salsa; wrapped in a corn, flour or whole grain tortilla or wrapped in a lettuce leaf.  I avoid tortillas with partially hydrogenated oils.

14.   Breakfast Wraps, with spinach or kale, eggs, Craisins, sunflower seeds, and tomatoes.  Wrap in a tortilla or lettuce leaf.

15.   Cooked grains. See this post for a description of different grains.  Cooked oats.   Quinoa makes a nice morning meal.  Rice with almond milk and cinnamon is one of my favorites on a cold morning.  Wheat and grains are easily prepared by boiling water and pouring over your grain in a thermos.   Let it sit overnight and in the morning you’ll have nice hot cereal.  You can also use your slow cooker and let it cook your oats or other grains while you sleep.  Here are some ideas to go with your cooked grains.

·         Cinnamon, apple, raisin

·         Berries

·         Pumpkin Spice (yes, use pumpkin puree)

·         Stir in yogurt

·         Jelly and jam

·         Nuts and seeds

·         Citrus

·         Tropical fruit

16.   Muesli:  is a popular breakfast meal developed by a Swiss physician for his patients in a hospital.  It is basically uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts topped with yogurt, kefir or milk.  You can even use water (great for campouts or traveling).  We like to use almond milk.  We discovered this in Europe.  Since we started eating it, we have not purchased cereal in a box (okay once a year…maybe).  It is filling, healthy, FAST and so easy.  I put my ingredients in different containers and the kids get to pick and choose their toppings for their oats.  Sometimes I’ll mix a batch up in a larger container that is ready to pour into a bowl.  But the kids each have different tastes, so they like to make their own combinations.  Add sweetener if you need it, but it doesn’t take much.  My kids sometimes add one quarter to half teaspoon of sugar depending on the tartness of the fruit or if they are using plain yogurt, compare that to 4 teaspoons or more of sugar in commercial cereal. 

·         Fruit:  bananas, strawberries, apples, dates (I like to blend dates into the milk and pour on), peaches, blueberries, raspberries, pears, and mangos.

·         Dried fruit:  Craisins, raisins, and blueberries.  Some dried fruit has sugar, so watch for that.

·         Nuts, chopped and raw are best:  pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamias, and pistachios.  Check out this link on nuts.

·         Seeds, raw are best:  sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, and chia seeds (soak in water for 30 minutes first).  Check out this link for a description of them.

·         Chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or carob chips.  This was my compromise with my kids.  No more boxed cereal, but they could have chocolate chips for breakfast.  It was a no brainer for them.  A little bit of chocolate chips here with the oats, nuts and seeds are a fantastic breakfast by most standards.  It is less sugar than boxed cereal. 

17.   Whole grain breads or Sprouted grain breads with nut butters and fruit. 

18.   My kids like to make a ‘Banana Hot Dog’ by spreading bread with nut butter and put a banana in the middle and wrap bread around it. 

19.   Homemade breakfast bars or breakfast cookies.  Check out this fantastic healthy breakfast recipe with pictures and instructions.

·         These you can make ahead and eat on the run.

20.   Grits, even if you are not from the South you may enjoy a little variety to your breakfast routine.  Here is a little overview of making gritsPalmetto Farms has great tasting Grits (as far as I can tell they are nonGMO).

There you have it, our favorite breakfast ideas.  Seriously, we don’t eat boxed cereal.  Stay tuned as we follow up with more recipes and other meal ideas. 

 
Have a great and healthy breakfast!
Kally
Connect with me on Facebook for great ideas.  I am a happy, healthy mom of 7 that took my family from the sick lifestyle and we now enjoy great health.  Those beginnings were in learning to eat better.  My kids went from eating boxed cereal nearly every day to eating the foods we are talking about.  We are much happier and healthier now.  I'm not a nutritionist.  I have studied healthy and nutrition for the past 15 years.  Please consult with your doctor before making changes to your diet as it could affect certain medications.
 
Don't forget to sign up for your 10 FREE Keys of Wellness that I spent years learning about, at the top of the page there is a place to get access.
 
Images courtesy of dusky and Grant Chochran / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Healthy Breakfast Ideas Part 2

Part 2 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Today in part 2 of our Healthy Breakfast Series we are going to talk about some basic building blocks of a healthy breakfast and what to keep in your kitchen.  In part 1 we talked about the importance of breakfast.  People are always asking me for recipes.  I have a few recipes that I use and they are like a guideline for making other meals.  I have a stocked kitchen and we make what we are craving or what is available depending on the amount of time we have.  For example, if you already know a great pancake recipe, it is easy to make pumpkin pancakes, apple pancakes, banana pancakes, etc.  If you are missing an ingredient, there is usually a substitute that will work.  Sometimes in my experimenting it has totally bombed.  For example, my son attempted to make homemade tortillas from oat flour using a recipe.  It didn’t work out at all.  Rather than throwing away that dough, the next morning we turned those unflattened tortilla balls into oat pancakes by adding some eggs and milk and applesauce.  They turned out great. 
 
It is unlikely that we all have the same ingredients on hand.  So instead of walking away from a recipe because it calls for honey, substitute it for something else.  
 
Learning to make quick and easy meals from what you have available is the key.   This allows you to harvest your garden, or someone else’s garden, and get what is on sale and be flexible in meal preparation.  Stock your kitchen with the basics and fill in the perishables.
 
In Part 3 of this series, I’m going to give you 20 Breakfast Ideas.  Imagine how many more ideas that could really become when you start getting creative.  Here’s your first creativity test. With each of those 20 ideas you’ll need to use a sweetener which I am not going to list specifically.  You need to use what you have and like to use.
 
Here’s some information on some choices you may have not considered before:
 
Sugar/Sweetener - Choose the best option for you.  If a recipe calls for honey and you put something like stevia in, you may need to add extra liquid.  So keep that in mind. 
  • I use Stevia (all natural, no calories, safe for all, lots of flavor choices, available in liquid or powder). Great for diabetics.  If you are trying to sweeten something that is bitter, the stevia may only make it bitterer (is that a word?).  So you might want to add a little honey and then some stevia.  I do that to cut back on the amount of honey, and the stevia extends the sweetness.  There are many different stevia brands out there.  I grow my own stevia plant and often use that.  I also like the liquid extract stevia from Sweet Leaf.  It tastes the best to me, and they have lots of flavors.  Powdered stevia tends to have more of an aftertaste.
  • I also use a lot of Coconut Sugar (fairly new product, low glycemic index and all natural).  Not as sweet as regular sugar and looks a little like brown sugar.
  • We use Raw Honey for the whole family (many who cannot tolerate sugar can use honey).  It is best to use honey from your local area.  When substituting for sugar, you will not need as much because honey is much sweeter.  When using honey, you may also need to cut back on liquids just a bit.
  • Agave (the jury is still out on this one, but when I do use agave, I choose raw and organic).
  • Maple Syrup (on the expensive side, but a little goes a long way and gives a nice flavor).
  • Raw Sugar (it is still sugar, but it is not as processed).
  • Fruit like Dates make a great sweetener (I use them a lot to sweeten smoothies or desserts).  Bananas are also good.

Milk and Cultured Milk Products
  • If you do use regular cow’s milk, opt for Organic if you can.
  • Nut milks are a wonderful substitution for cow’s milk. You can even make your own nut milk.  Save the pulp for muffins.  We choose unsweetened almond milk.
  • Coconut milk
  • Choose plain yogurt and add your own sweetener and fruit.  Even better if you can make your own yogurt.  Organic yogurts are often not much more than regular yogurt so read the labels.
  • Greek yogurt is an excellent thick product that I sweeten with flavored stevia and it is so yummy!  When everyone else is having ice cream, I have a little Greek Yogurt with Chocolate Raspberry Stevia and fresh raspberries. I win!
  • Kefir is so easy to make at home.  I use organic milk.  It really helps us through the cold and flu season. 

Grains are an important source of iron, B vitamins, fiber, minerals and protein.  Whole grains are best and taste much better than processed grain, which have lost most of their nutritional value.  Here is another great article on cereal verses whole grains and the benefits of grains.
 
There are many grains that do not contain the gluten found in wheat that causes sensitivities.  Popular varieties are:  Amaranth, Buckwheat, Corn, Millet, Oats (if you are extra sensitive look for gluten free oats - they are often processed in the same facilities as wheat – Steel Cut Oats are even safer than Rolled Oats), Quinoa, Rice (all varieties from brown, white and wild), Sorghum or Milo, and Teff.  Here is a great article on gluten free grains and ideas for incorporating them into your diet or breakfast.   
 
Grains that contain the gluten similar to what can be found in wheat are:  Wheat, Barley, Kamut, or Spelt.

Nuts and Seeds should be raw for nutritional value.
  • Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Walnuts, Hazelnut, Macadamia, Pine Nut, Pistachio, and Coconut (unsweetened and not processed).
  • Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds, Sesame seeds, Flax, Hemp, and Chia.
Use to thicken breakfast puddings or syrups.
Keep these items in your kitchen and you’ll be set up for a great variety of meals for breakfast.  Of course, if you don’t use wheat or milk, don’t stock them.   Stock what you use.  Here’s my list of recommendations: 
  • A variety of fresh fruit.  I like to keep bananas and apples. They are easily available and the best value.  You can do so much with them. The fruit will change with the seasons.
  • Frozen fruit like strawberries, blueberries, peaches, mangos, bananas (great way to keep old bananas).
  • Variety of dried fruits like raisins and Craisins.
  • Nut butters
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Greens (either growing in the garden or purchased, can use for salads, stir fry and green smoothies)
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Kefir grains to make your own Kefir
  • Eggs
  • Variety of nuts and seeds
  • Oats
  • Other grains and rice
  • Sweeteners of choice
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, and/or butter
  • Cinnamon and other spices that you enjoy
  • Vanilla
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chocolate Chips or Carob Chips and Cocoa powder or Carob powder
  • Green chili (in the freezer)
  • Onions
  • Bread of choice
Watch for the next post that will have the 20 Breakfast Ideas.  With practice and planning you can provide a variety of quick and easy meals for you and your family that are full of nutrition and WILL SAVE YOU MONEY.  You’ll be feeding them and teaching them to eat healthy.  
 
Have a great breakfast!

Kally

Connect with me on Facebook for great ideas.  I am a happy, healthy mom of 7 that took my family from the sick lifestyle and we now enjoy great health.  Those beginnings were in learning to eat better.  My kids went from eating boxed cereal nearly everyday to eating the foods we are talking about.  We are much happier and healthier now.  I'm not a nutritionist.  I have studied healthy and nutrition for the past 15 years.  Please consult with your doctor before making changes to your diet as it could affect certain medications.
 
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