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Fuel your day with a balanced breakfast

(NC) It is widely agreed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It kicks starts your metabolism, provides energy and sets the tone for all your activities. To get the most out of your morning meal try to include whole-grains, protein, fruit, fibre and calcium. If busy mornings mean you usually skip breakfast, try a healthy baked recipe that is easy to eat on the go.

“If you're looking for an extra boost of flavour in the morning try adding 100 per cent fruit juice to your meal,” says Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian at the University of Florida. “Orange juice adds flavour to recipes and drinking a 250 ml glass is an excellent source of vitamin C.”

As a flavour agent and source of essential nutrients, citrus can bring some extra sunshine to your morning. These chocolate muffins offer fibre and the fresh taste 100 per cent orange juice.

Orange Cocoa Nib Date Muffins

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) Florida orange juice

1 cup (250 ml) chopped pitted Medjool dates

1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour with added bran

1/2 cup (125 ml) natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup (125 ml) wheat bran

1 tsp (5 mL) each baking powder and baking soda

1/4 cup (60 ml) cocoa nibs

1/4 cup (60 ml) canola oil

2 eggs

1/4 cup (60 ml) packed light brown sugar

2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine Florida orange juice and dates over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for two minutes or until softened. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, bran, baking powder and baking soda and cocoa nibs; set aside.

Whisk, canola oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla into date mixture and pour over flour mixture until well moistened.

Line or lightly grease muffin tin and scoop batter into 10 muffin cups. Bake in centre of 375 F (190 C) oven for about 15 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Makes 10 muffins.

Word count: 349

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