Healthy Living Blog

Eat Breakfast for Less Plaque and a Healthier Heart

Tina Miller, MS RDN Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,





Research indicates that people who eat breakfast (on the healthier side):

  • Are 4.5 times less likely to be obese
  • Have better memory, focus and concentration
  • Make healthier food choices during the day, leading to a healthier diet overall
  • And….are less likely to have cardiovascular disease!

Previous studies have indicated that breakfast skippers have higher cholesterol levels.  A new study from Spain has not made an association between breakfast skipping and arterial plaque build-up (atherosclerotic heart disease).  Breakfast skippers had a 29% greater associated with generalized atherosclerosis, independent of traditional and dietary cardiovascular risk factors.

Breakfast-skippers were also twice as likely, or more, to have plaque build-up in major arteries including the abdominal and carotid arteries. The study authors suggest that the busy-ness of life characterized by overall unhealthy food choices and frequent eating out which contribute to CVD. Men and smokers were more likely to skip breakfast. Breakfast skippers were also more likely to be obese.


Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  Source Reference: Uzhova I, et al “The importance of breakfast in atherosclerosis disease: insights from the PESA study” J Am Coll Cardiol 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.08.027.


Build a Better Breakfast 1, 2, 3:

1.     Pick a Protein 2.     Pick a Healthy Carb 3.     Add a Fruit or Vegetable
1 Egg, Hard cooked eggs are easy to grab and go 1 slice whole grain bread or 1/2 whole wheat/grain bagel Banana, Apple, Pear, or other fresh
1 cup low-fat Milk or 3/4 cup plain or no-added sugar Greek style yogurt (or milk alternative with at least 7g Protein per serving) 1/2 to 3/4 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice 1/2 cup canned fruit, packed in juice or water

1/2 cup frozen fruit, without added sugar

2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup dried fruit

1 1/2 ounces 2% Milk Cheese 1/2 cup Oats, 3/4 cup cooked 3/4 cup 100% Juice


1-2 ounces lean Meat, poultry, or fish (i.e., lean ham or Canadian Bacon) 1 6” whole grain tortilla or wrap 1/2 to 1 cup cherry tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper strips, sugar snap peas; or 1/2 cup leftover veggies from last night’s dinner
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter or Nut Butter 3/4 to 1 1/2 cups ready-to-eat Breakfast cereal (look for 3g or more fiber & 7g or less sugar per serving and a whole grain as the first ingredient) Sautéed vegetables (add to eggs for an omelet – onion, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, other)


Example: 2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter + 1 Slice whole wheat toast + topped with 2 Tbsp. dried blueberries.


Butternut Squash & Tri Color Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Serves 4


3 cups Butternut squash peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 Tbsp True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ tsp Kosher salt

½ tsp Ground black pepper

1 Tbsp True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic 100% Pure Maple Syrup

2 cups Cooked True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Tri Color Quinoa

4 True Goodness® by Meijer® Organic Cage Free Eggs with Omega 3, scrambled or hard-boiled 1 Avocado, diced or sliced

½ cup Chopped cilantro



  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Spray baking sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, toss squash, olive oil, salt, pepper and syrup until evenly coated. Arrange squash in a single layer on baking sheet pan. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and tender.
  3. To make a bowl: add ½ cup cooked quinoa, ¾ cup butternut squash, 1 egg, avocado, and cilantro.

Tip: Pick up pre-cut butternut squash in Meijer produce department.  Enjoy with Milk and apple slices.

Nutritional Info (per serving): 336 calories, 14g fat, 3g saturated fat, 163mg cholesterol, 162mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 9g fiber, 13g protein


Cherry Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars

Makes 15 bars

2 cups True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Old-Fashioned Oats

1 cup ground flaxseed

1 ½ cups True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Creamy Peanut Butter or nut free butter

¾ cup True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Organic Honey

1 cup dried cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line an 8 by 11-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving excess paper on edges.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and spread into dish. Press firmly.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Pull on parchment paper to remove from baking dish and cut into 15 bars while still warm.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 282 calories, 14g fat, 2.2g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 8g protein

Serve with True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Organic Low-fat Milk.

Source:, True Goodness recipes by Meijer Chef and RD Maribel Alchin.