Call me weird, but I’ve always loved the word “breakfast” – a clever term for the meal where we literally break our overnight fast. It is the first and (debatably) the most important meal of the day, yet it is estimated that 50% of people skip it. While they may seem no worse for ware, having a healthy and nourishing breakfast each morning can set you on the path to health. Eating the right foods can help with your energy, hormone balance, digestive health, mood, and anxiety. You can use breakfast to your advantage to help you improve your body composition by losing fat and gaining muscle.
Trust me, I’ve been there, and I know it can be hard to fit this meal in with the rush of the morning. The issue with “convenience” options like bagels, breakfast sandwiches, or commercial cereals is that they are high in carbohydrates and low in protein, fibre and nutrients. This means we’re likely to have an energy crash within an hour or so of eating them, and they’ve given us very little health benefit. I also know what it’s like to have eaten oatmeal every single morning – B O R I N G.
Here are 5 breakfast ideas to have on rotation for each day of the work week. They are simple and quick to prepare, nourishing, and taste great. There are even options to make them fresh each morning, or prep them the night before.
1. Steel Cut Oatmeal
Despite my earlier comment, I do love oats. Warm, gooey and nutritious, if done right! Steel cut oats are less processed than regular oats, which is why I opt for them. Cook the oats according to the directions on the package, and top with any variety of toppings you wish, such as berries or apple for fibre, vitamins and minerals, and a touch maple syrup or honey for sweetness. Make sure to include a source of protein, such as hemp seeds, almonds, pecans, walnuts or almond butter. You can also add a nut/seed milk of your choice to make the whole bowl creamier. Try swapping out steel cut oats for quinoa for an extra protein-packed porridge.
Night Before Prep: If cooking a hot pot of oats in the AM is too much, mix 1/3 cup oats and 1 cup of nut/seed milk of your choice in a mason jar. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, stir well and add your choice of toppings for an awesome instant breakfast that you can take on the go.
2. Eggs any way you like ‘em with toast & avocado
Cooking an egg takes mere minutes. If I’m in a real rush, I’ll go with hard boiled eggs, and start boiling water as soon as I get up. After my shower, I go back to the kitchen and toss one or two eggs in the boiling water, turn on the timer for 7 minutes, which gives me enough time to get dressed and back to the kitchen to run them under cold water. I’ll put a slice of whole grain bread (GF if you wish) into the toaster while I cut an avocado. Toast pops, mash ½ the avocado over the toast, peel my eggs, add a dash of salt and pepper over everything, and done - Quick & Easy.
Night Before Prep: You can boil eggs in batches in advance, and keep them in the fridge in their shell for up to one week. The night before, you can pre-cut and remove the pit from your avocado, keeping the halves in their shell and face down in a sealed container to prevent oxidation (why avocado turns brown after a little while).
This is my favourite way to include veggies with breakfast. I don’t fuss too much about making an omelette perfect, and sometimes it ends up more as an egg and vegetable scramble. Chop up all of your vegetables into small pieces, you can sauté them first in some butter or just leave them raw. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add the eggs into the pan with the sautéed vegetables and let them cook through, fold and serve. I love to use bell peppers, tomatos, mushrooms, olives, onion, and spinach or kale. If you can tolerate dairy, add some cheese if you wish. For an extra treat, add bacon or sausage (chorizo is delicious).
Night Before Prep: You can make mini omelettes, or egg muffins for a few days in advance by using all of the same ingredients above (approximately 1 egg per muffin cup, give or take). Mix everything together in a bowl, grease your muffin tin, and distribute the egg mixture evenly amongst each cup of the tin. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes or until set in the middle.
I’ve wrote previously about how to make a healthy smoothie here, but here is a quick run down:
Night Before Prep: Put all of the ingredients in your blender container the night before and keep it in the fridge, add some ice cubes in the morning and blend. Alternatively, you can blend everything the night before and keep the smoothie in the fridge overnight. Things may separate but just give it a good shake and it will be ready to drink! (Note: for early smoothie prep, omit chia and flax seeds, when they are left to soak overnight they become mucilaginous or gel-like, which solidifies your smoothie).
5. Chia Seed Pudding
Yes, chia - the same seed you use to grow yourself a plant-haired pet. But for this breakfast option, no growth is required. This is probably the simplest recipe of the list, and is super healthy. Chia seeds are full of fibre which helps to keep you full and regulates blood sugar. They are also gluten free, and contain omega-3 fatty acids and lots of minerals. In a bowl, mix 3 tbsp chia seeds with ¾ cup unsweetened nut/seed milk of your choice. You can add cinnamon or nutmeg, honey or maple syrup, or a splash of vanilla. Let sit for 5-15 minutes or until the chia seeds have absorbed enough milk to make the pudding your desired consistency. Top with your choice of fruit and nuts.
Night Before Prep: In a mason jar (or other container with a lid), mix the chia seeds, milk, vanilla, sweetener, and spices of choice, cover and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add fruit, nuts, or seeds on top and you have yourself a quick and healthy, fibre-filled breakfast.
Do you have a go-to breakfast that is quick and healthy? Comment below, I would love to add it to my list!
Photo Credit: Collective Nouns via Flickr