You can’t Top Toppings: How to Top Off Every Meal

I recently came to a realization that sometimes, the meals I eat (especially dessert and breakfast) are really all about the toppings I’m putting ON or IN the dish than the dish itself. A plain waffle? Pass. A plain bowl of oatmeal? No thanks. A burger without sauce? Eh…So I thought I’d make an entire post about how I spice up healthy dishes without too many additional calories. OR in the case I want additional calories, I can at least control the quality of them. No pancake syrups, barbecue sauces, or jams made out of high fructose corn syrup. No fake chocolate, or artificially sweetened whipped cream. No high sodium salsa’s, or unnatural peanut butter. All real stuff, all delicious, and all healthy.

You Can't Top Toppings You Can't Top Toppings

I’d say the worst thing on any of these lists is the dried fruit, then the chocolate chips. I believe that to be true because the dried fruit will have the most added sugar (not naturally sweetened). The chocolate chips have less and are used more sparingly.

So go nuts with toppings like I do! (pun intended). A whole shelf in one of our cabinets is pretty much dedicated to topping items – granola, nuts, seeds, and chocolate stuff. Anytime I need toppings I just open that pantry and use my imagination.

Breakfast/Dessert:

Best for Smoothie Bowls

Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie Bowls

  • Coconut Flakes
  • Seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp)
  • Nuts (cashews, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, almonds…)
  • Cocoa Nibs
  • Chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips)
  • Craisins or other dried fruit (HIGH SUGAR ALERT)
  •  Granola, Museli…etc
  • Fruit: berries, banana slices, kiwi slices, peach slices – all depends on your smoothie flavor!
  • Dates (chopped)
  • Whole grain cereal (cheerios, bran flakes…etc)

Best for Pancakes/Waffles/French Toast

Vegan Brownie Sundae Protein Waffle

Best for Toast:

Paleo Almond Flour English Muffins

  • Peanut butter + honey and banana slices (classic!)
  • Blueberries, cinnamon, and peanut butter
  • date syrup + peanut butter
  • Almond butter + strawberries
  • Avocado + fried egg + tomato
  • Avocado + feta + corriander
  • Chocolate almond butter and homemade jam

Best for Ice Cream, Pudding, and Mousse (the healthy versions…)

Chocolate Coconut Avocado Pudding
Chocolate Coconut Avocado Pudding
  • Chocolate chips
  • Toasted coconut
  • Granola
  • Fruit – berries and banana slices are my fave
  • Protein brownie or cookie pieces
  • On Ice cream: melted peanut butter or dark chocolate

Best for Oatmeal

Apple Pie Protein Oatmeal
Apple Pie Protein Oatmeal

Lunch/Dinner:

Best for Asian Dishes:

Cashew Chicken
Cashew Chicken
  • Sesame seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Green onions
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Sriracha

Best for Burgers or Sandwiches:

Jalapeno Cheddarjack Burgers
Jalapeno Cheddarjack Burgers

Best for Indian Dishes:

Chicken Sweet Potato and Mushroom Curry
Chicken Sweet Potato and Mushroom Curry

Best for Fish dishes:

Red Snapper with Yogurt Dill Zucchini Noodles
Red Snapper with Yogurt Dill Zucchini Noodles
  • Lemon juice or lemon wedges
  • Fresh dill

Best for Tacos:

Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa and Cilantro-Avocado Cream
Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa and Cilantro-Avocado Cream

Best for Mediterranean Dishes:

Mediterranean Turkey Meal Prep Bowls
Mediterranean Turkey Meal Prep Bowls

Best for Salads:

Blueberry Pineapple and Goat Cheese Salad
Blueberry Pineapple and Goat Cheese Salad

NOTE: Basic salad dressings are easy. I use a base of olive oil and vinegar (white or apple cider if I want something sweeter). Then I add in desired spices/seasonings. Maybe some lemon/lime juice, soy sauce, and/or honey. It all depends on the salad, but you can get creative. Invest in a good cruet and you’ll be using  your own healthy homemade salad dressings all the time!

Best for Boring Chicken Breast:

Baked Chicken with Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa
Baked Chicken with Strawberry Jalapeno Salsa

There you have it. My list of toppings. I think it’s probably more extensive than this but this should get you started off right and spicing up your boring healthy meals in no time. Watch out for added sugars, portion sizes, and adding too many different toppings – a little of each thing might add up to a lot of extra calories. If you’re like me and trying to eat enough to feed a family of 6, this is not as much of a concern for you. Toppings are actually a great way to get additional calories in your meals when you need them to gain muscle!



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