The science is in: raspberries and blackberries are potent nutritional allies. Just 1 cup of berries provides about 54 percent of your daily vitamin C, 12 percent of vitamin K, 6 percent of folate, 5 percent of vitamin E and potassium, and 41 percent of manganese, plus trace amounts of beneficial vitamins and minerals like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, zinc, and copper. That cup also contains just 64 calories, 1.5 grams of protein, .8 grams of fat, and 15 grams of carbohydrates (including 8 grams fiber and 5 grams sugar), making it a healthful addition to your favorite winter breakfast.
Raspberries and blackberries also possess a host of naturally occurring compounds that have made them popular among nutritionists and herbalists dating back thousands of years—for example, in the fifth century, healers used the leaves and other parts of the plant in teas and remedies to treat sore throat, morning sickness, digestive problems, and more. Modern studies have shown that the flavonoids in raspberries and blackberries suppress the inflammation that can lead to conditions like cardiovascular disease and age-related mental decline, and their fiber content and metabolic-regulating abilities may be beneficial in weight loss and controlling diabetes. Berries’ ability to inhibit abnormal cell division has also shown promise in preventing a variety of cancers.
Their nutritional kick and wellness-promoting benefits make raspberries and blackberries a great way to start off the day, but not everyone wants to eat a bowl of berries for breakfast. Instead, try some of these suggestions for incorporating berries into your winter breakfast rotation.
The best part? Because blackberries and raspberries are so sweet on their own, you can skip adding refined sugar to most recipes. If you’re short on time in the morning, Wash fresh berries the night before, allow them to dry on a kitchen towel, then store them in the fridge until morning. Or thaw some frozen blackberries and raspberries in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Then:
Blend them into smoothies and acai bowls. The natural sweetness of the berries will perk up the flavor of savory or slightly bitter ingredients like spinach, kale, and acai, without the addition of refined sugars.
Use them to top oatmeal. One reason many people don’t enjoy oatmeal is because it’s bland on its own. Instead of adding sugar or honey to make it more palatable, pile on the blackberries and raspberries!
Give your morning yogurt or cereal a berry boost. As with oatmeal, berries can elevate a plain but mild-tasting yogurt or cereal—without all the added sugar of common commercial brands.
Pour them over pancakes and waffles. Make a simple sauce by heating the berries over medium until they begin to break down and release their juices. Use it as a substitute for maple syrup or other sweeteners.
Incorporate berries into breakfast muffins, breads, and cereal or granola bars. For a grab-and-go meal that’s also healthy, cut the sugar in your favorite recipes by half, and increase the amount of berries called for by half (e.g., if the recipe specifies 1 cup of raspberries, add 1 1/2 cups instead).
Spread them on bagels, English muffins, and toast. Make a no-refined-sugar berry compote (we love this simple 2-ingredient version; be sure to use freshly squeezed orange juice), them use it in place of jelly. You can even freeze some of the compote in ice cube trays, then transfer the cubes to a ziplock freezer bag to save space. Remove a few cubes as needed to enjoy a berry blast throughout the winter!
Serve a heaping bowl of berries alongside hearty savory breakfasts, like fried or scrambled eggs, omelets, or breakfast burritos or sandwiches with sausage or ham.