Ask the R.D.: Healthy and Quick Breakfast Ideas
Do you have questions about the food choices you make? Let me know! I love sharing the tricks and tips that I've picked up along the way. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them in the comments. The below post originally appeared at healthydining.com
Question: What are some good, quick breakfast ideas that I can either buy when I'm on my way to work or are easily transportable if I can't eat breakfast at home? -Miriam, 31, New York, NY
Great question, Miriam! It sounds like you already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, with positives ranging from beneficial energy to get through the day to metabolic effects that can lead to weight loss. While you don’t want to skip breakfast, it can be hard to prepare something healthy and filling in the morning when you are pressed for time.
Here are 3 things to keep in mind:
• Aim to skip the empty calories. These are foods that are high in calories but offer little nutritional value; typically they are low in vitamins, minerals and fiber. This means avoiding foods like donuts, pastries and even breakfast cereals that are high in sugar.
• Look for the protein! Studies have shown that it’s important to get protein at breakfast. Protein is found in lean meats, dairy, soy, legumes and beans. A typical woman following a 1800 calorie per day diet would want to eat about 15 grams of protein at breakfast. For reference, a typical 6 oz Greek yogurt contains about 13-18g protein, and one cup of low fat milk contains 8g of protein.
• Keep it balanced: A little carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat are part of a balanced meal and will keep you feeling satisfied.
Now that you have the tools to create a healthy breakfast, here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Smoothie: Smoothies can be quick and easy – but even easier when you prep the night before. In your blender’s pitcher, mix some veggies (kale, spinach, carrots or cucumber), some fruit (1-1.5 cups) and some protein. Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and protein powder are great protein choices. Adding nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter, is a great way to add some flavor and healthy fats. Toss it in the fridge before you head to bed. Blend up in the morning to take on the go!
2. Oatmeal or Quinoa: Feel like something hot (or cold)? Prepare a batch of oatmeal or quinoa and take it to go. You can prepare it with low-fat milk instead of water for added nutrition and flavor. This can also be made ahead the night before and heated up or served cold. Add fresh fruit on your way out the door.
3. Eggs: Healthy, filling, delicious and relatively inexpensive. An egg sandwich makes a great on the go breakfast. Scramble an egg or two (favoring egg whites with a little yolk or egg substitute), and to get in your veggies, add some spinach, chopped bell pepper or mushrooms – any veggie will do, and you get bonus points for having some veggies at breakfast. Pile your scramble on whole wheat toast, a whole wheat tortilla or whole wheat pita. Add some cheese (low-fat is best) or hummus to give your treat for a little cohesion and portability.
4. Peanut butter on a waffle or toast: Peanut butter contains healthy fat and protein. Pile two small spoonfuls on some toast or a whole grain waffle. Sprinkle on some cinnamon for a touch of sweetness.
Do you have a favorite quick and healthy breakfast recipe? Let me know in the comments below.