A few weeks ago Dole Foods invited 20 bloggers to a Health and Wellness Blogging Event (The Dole Summit) at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village and California Health and Longevity Institute, in the foothills of Santa Monica. It was a busy time for me to attend, with high school soccer play-offs and Thanksgiving right around the corner, but I’m glad I said yes to this event.

One of the things that inspired me to learn more about Dole Foods was their approach to revolutionizing healthy living by promoting nutrition, fitness and life-balance. When I read what was on the agenda, I did not want to miss out.

What did this mean for me? I was invited to stay 2 nights at this amazing place, learn more about Dole (which is far more than pineapple and bananas), meet some amazing bloggers (list at the bottom of post) and all of the generous Dole staff, tour the Dole Foods headquarters and test kitchens, and use the incredible facilities at the CHLI (along with a personal spa/massage/wellness time). I must say I felt rejuvenated and inspired.

I’m looking forward to sharing future posts on salads and ways to get our 7 servings of vegetables/3 servings of fruit in per day, but today I want to share 2 easy breakfast recipes. After Nutritionist Pauline Lambert gave a lecture on “Breakfast for Performance,” and then cooked a healthy breakfast for us, I realized that a way to get several servings of fruit and vegetables in my diet is to START WITH BREAKFAST!

Research shows that breakfast eaters burn an extra 200-300 calories per day. Those who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese than those who eat a morning meal.

I always eat breakfast after working out with my early-morning exercise partners (thank goodness for faithful partners and the accountability!)

Brainiacs eat breakfast! Research has found superior cognitive performance and memory recall among breakfast eaters compared with those who skipped the morning meal.

Vegetable Scramble
1 tsp. olive oil
2 DOLE green onions, chopped
2 cups DOLE baby spinach
1 small tomato
4-5 DOLE mushrooms
1 whole egg or 3 egg whites
Sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup low fat shredded cheese

Heat olive oil over medium heat in saute’ pan. Add onions, spinach, tomato and mushrooms, sauteing 2-3 minutes until spinach is just wilted. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into the pan over the spinach mixture, scrambling together until lightly golden. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Experts theorize that breakfast may keep people from overeating later on or may even help balance hormones to control appetite.

Here’s another amazing recipe that I want to make soon for my kids. Also delicious and a good way to use up those bananas.

Banana-Pineapple Oatmeal Breakfast Cake
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup canned, DOLE Crushed Pineapple, undrained
2 medium DOLE bananas, diced
2 TBSP powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. In large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk and oil. Mix all dry ingredients together and then fold in wet mixture. Stir until just moistened; do not over mix. Gently fold in pineapple with juice and diced bananas. Pour into baking dish and baked for 25 minutes. Cool until just warm, cut into squares, and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Delicious! This would be a complimentary dish to make if you are serving a brunch over the holidays.

By the end of the summit, I had a whole new approach and view about the Dole brand and their healthy values. My eyes were opened, especially as we listened to a panel of experts, as we were made aware that Dole is committed to helping advance the health and wellness of the world. And what better way to improve people’s lives than by feeding them fruits and veggies.

So thank you to Dole Foods, CHLI, and also to these amazing ladies, whom I got to meet and hang out with. It was a fantastic time!

Shaina Olmanson (Food for My Family) www.foodformyfamily.com
Jennifer Leal (Savoring the Thyme) www.savoringthethyme.com
Brooke McClay (Cheeky Kitchen) www.cheekykitchen.com
Kathy Patalsky (The Lunchbox Bunch) www.lunchboxbunch.com
Anne-Marie Nichols (This Mama Cooks!) www.thismamacooks.com
Katie Goodman (Good Life Eats) www.goodlifeeats.com
Jenny Flake (Picky Palate) www.picky-palate.com
Anne Petraeus (Fannetastic Food) www.fannetasticfood.com
Maria Lichty (Two Peas and Their Pod) www.twopeasandtheirpod.com
Marla Meridith (Family Fresh Cooking) www.familyfreshcooking.com
Gena Hamshaw (Choosing Raw) www.choosingraw.com
Shanna Coady (My Favorite Everything) www.myfavoriteeverything.com
Amanda Bottoms (Kevin and Amanda) www.kevinandamanda.com
Lorin Falcon (A Cowboy’s Wife) www.acowboyswife.com
Amanda Acuna (Mommy Mandy) www.mommymandy.com
Susan Whetzel (She’s Becoming DoughMessTic) www.doughmesstic.com
Rachael Hutchings (La Fuji Mama) www.lafujimama.com
Carrie Vitt (Deliciously Organic) http://deliciouslyorganic.net

Here are a few ways you can keep up on new product information and health & wellness tips:
@dolenutrition – serves as Dole’s corporate handle, incorporating Dole Food Company, Inc., Dole Fresh Fruit and the Dole Nutrition Institute.
@DOLESaladGuide – serves as Dole Fresh Vegetables’ handle.

There are three DOLE Facebook accounts:
www.facebook.com/dole (Dole Food Company, Inc.)
www.facebook.com/DOLESaladGuide (Dole Fresh Vegetables – primarily salads)
www.facebook.com/DOLEBananas (Dole Fresh Fruit – primarily bananas)

Are you a disciplined breakfast eater? What’s your favorite breakfast?

(Dole Foods paid my travel and all expenses for my time in Los Angeles; however, the opinions expressed in this post about their products are entirely my own. And a special thanks to Jenny from Picky Palate, for the use of the pix.)

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