You’ve heard it over and over and over again: Breakfast is “the most important meal of the day.” Maybe you’re like me, and you make time to eat breakfast every day … I can’t imagine getting up and out without putting something in my belly. But maybe you’re one of “those people” who doesn’t like to eat in the a.m. If you don’t eat breakfast at all, I urge you to try to eat a little something—you might find these two bits of new research encouraging. In one, UK researchers found that when they gave thirty-two volunteers breakfast, or made them skip breakfast, the ones who ate did better on a memory test. In another, a University of Georgia study found that eating breakfast along with 200 milligrams of caffeine improves cognitive performance and mood. Now, who among us doesn’t want to be smarter and happier?
Here are some quick, easy and healthy ideas for breakfasts—whether at home or on-the-go. You can even eat some of them standing up—at the counter while you caffeinate yourself, sling hash for the kids, unload the dishwasher, write notes for the teacher, write notes for yourself and get lunches ready, perhaps?
- Hard-cooked eggs: If you do several, you’ll have them on hand for the week. Try them sliced on whole wheat toast with a little light butter, or a spot of light mayo and/or mustard, then sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Or go super simple and eat one hard-cooked egg and an apple—very portable.
- Single-serve containers of nonfat Greek yogurt pack a creamy, low-fat protein punch. Sprinkle with cinnamon and take along an apple or some cut fruit to eat alongside. Add a 1/4 cup of granola to give it a little crunch. Drizzled honey, walnuts, and raisins are a sweet treat. Or try a seasonal take—stir in 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin, some pumpkin pie spice and a drizzle of maple syrup.
- Whole-wheat English muffins are a great base for a breakfast sandwich. Toast, spread with your favorite nut butter (try almond for a change), and wrap it to go, if you like. Again, a source of protein, a bit of fiber, and some heart-healthy fat. Or if you have more time, pour some egg whites into a microwave-safe mug, add a little Kosher salt and pepper and “scramble” them by nuking them for thirty-second intervals, stirring in between, ‘til they’re cooked. Toast up your muffin, add a slice of cheese (even Canadian bacon if you really want to go all-out), and feel virtuous and satisfied all morning.
- Remember how I love those funky little Rachel’s cottage cheese cups? Single-serving cartons of low-fat cottage cheese are a good source of protein; stir in berries or fruit to the unflavored version for added fiber. Another favorite of mine: a tablespoon of unsweetened apple butter and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds atop a half-cup of plain cottage cheese is a low-sugar, sweet and crunchy combo.
- Make a waffle sammy: Top whole wheat toaster waffles with a tablespoon of nut butter, fruit preserves, or sliced banana. Add another waffle and wrap it to go. Egg sandwiches are good on these, too.
- Instant oatmeal is easy and portable. Bring a packet of the plain stuff with you to work, make it in a big mug and jazz it up by stirring a tablespoon or two of fruit preserves or chopped dried fruit to add a touch of sweetness. Chopped nuts will add some crunch and a little protein.
- My current favorite, not guaranteed to ward off colds and flu, but at least to make you feel like you’re doing your best: The Green Monster Smoothie. Chop one organic Granny Smith apple (leave that peel on) and put it in your blender. Add 3 good-sized handfuls of organic spinach. I put a scoop of Super Seed in there—has a nice cinnamony flavor and adds 7 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein. Add approximately 3 cups of water and “liquefy.” Stop the blender, add 3 or 4 ice cubes, and blend again. This comes out a vibrant green is slightly sweet, and much less spinachy then you might think. Improvise your own shakes with other high-octane leafies like kale, chard, etc. and/or berries, a piece of banana, raw cacao powder, coconut water, etc. etc.!
- For even more great ideas, including some nice make-ahead options, check out this thread on Chowhound.
Do you eat breakfast? What’re your favorites? Inspire us to try something new!