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When I was a kid, my parents were what you would call “health food nuts.” They had whole-grain sprouted bread with seeds, homemade yogurt, eight-grain buckwheat pancakes – and not a Pop-Tart, can of soda or box of mac-and-cheese in site.

I thought it was torture, especially when my best friend was the youngest of five, and at their house pretty much everything came out of a box or a mix, and there were candy and chips galore. I’ll never forget when my parents gave me carob instead of chocolate, and tried to pawn it off on me as chocolate. I said, “Well, it doesn’t taste like the chocolate at Robin’s house!”

Of course, when I went to college and had unlimited access to unhealthy cafeteria food, I ate everything, and along with many other students, gained the “freshman 15.” To get that weight off, I eventually had to start eating more like my parents and ride my bike an awful lot.

It was much easier to lose weight in our 20s than it is decades later, but every January, the stores market their ads toward our New Year’s resolutions (which usually include weight loss if you’ve had any fun at all over the holidays), and this target marketing works. I see an ad for compression leggings on sale, and I think, “Yes, if I just get a new workout outfit I really like, I’ll get right in there!” However, new workout clothes don’t work in the long run, and neither does joining a gym, or spending a fortune on exercise equipment.

It seems the thing that helps us the most is taking small steps, like getting more water, more sleep, and adding a few more veggies to our diet – if not to lose weight, then to gain a bit more energy.

I am not a nutritionist, but following are some breakfasts I like to make that take very little time, are healthy and will sustain you until lunch, maybe longer. I’ve listed unsweetened cashew milk blend in the recipes, although you may use any milk that you normally drink.

Mango Smoothie

1 1/2 cups frozen mango pieces – about 10 ounces

1 ripe banana – cut into chunks

1 cup packed baby spinach leaves

3/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk blend

Put the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth

Everything Overnight Oats

2/3 C regular oats (not steel cut)

1T chia seeds

1T flax seeds

1 T hemp seeds

1 T goji berries

1 T peanut or almond butter

1 or 2 T berries

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2 tablespoons nuts: walnuts, slivered almonds, hazelnuts, pecans – whatever you like, and a mixture is good

2/3 C cashew milk (I like cashew milk, but any milk that you like will do)

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix slightly. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight. When serving in the morning, mix in the nut butter and berries. Serve cool.

Avocado Toast

1 ripe avocado, mashed

1/8 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)

Juice of half a lemon

Salt & pepper

1 fried egg

2 pieces of toast

Mix the first 4 ingredients together, spread on toast, and top with a fried egg.

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