We’ve all heard that breakfast is “the most important meal of the day”, but it often gets abandoned to our busy schedules. But there is good reason to spare time for a morning meal, think about this—a breakfast with high nutritional quality revs morning metabolism, boosts mood and energy, and increases productivity by improving attention, memory, and reaction time. Furthermore, eating breakfast may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Still too busy for breakfast? Perhaps you will be converted by these delicious on-the-go solutions:
Oatmeal to-go. Making a quick coffee pit-stop? Grab a to-go bowl of fiber-rich, heart-healthy oatmeal. Restaurants such as McDonald’s, Starbuck’s and Jamba Juice all carry oatmeal these days. A good rule of thumb is to ask for it without sugar, sticking with fruit or nut toppings instead to avoid empty calories.
Cold Cereal. The key to healthy cereal selection is to read the nutrition label and go with the 5 and 4 rule: 5 or fewer grams of sugar and 4 or more grams of fiber. Then make sure the first ingredient is a whole grain. I love Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon, Barbara’s Shredded Spoonfuls Multigrain, and Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus Flakes. If you've got a favorite cereal that doesn't pass the label test, try mixing half of your favorite with half Fiber One or another high fiber cereal. Try your favorite cold cereal topped with berries or sliced fruit with soy/almond/dairy milk or parfait-style with low-fat yogurt.
Egg Sandwich. Whether home-made or deli-purchased, an egg is a great start to your morning. Try ordering one egg on whole wheat toast with a slice of tomato and low-fat cream cheese. This combo will give you the fiber and protein to fill you up until lunchtime, without all the saturated fat and calories of a standard bacon, egg and cheese.
Smoothie. Unlike juices which are nearly fiber-free, smoothies contain some filling fiber on the go. But not all smoothies are created equal, your typical giant cup from a smoothie shop can be full of sugary juice and add up to more than 500 calories. Opt for the small or try making your own with yogurt, fruit, veggies, and coconut water.
Green Morning Smoothie
2 cups coconut water
1 cup nonfat plain/vanilla/honey Greek Yogurt
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 cups baby spinach
¼ avocado (optional)
Directions: Blend all ingredients in blender for ~3 minutes, until smooth.
Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD
Suzanne practices as a Clinical Dietitian in Los Angeles, where in her free time she enjoys running, hiking, cooking and exploring Southern California (including frequent attempts at the stuffed animal claw machine). Recipes packed with seasonal flavors, conversation-sparking surprises, and easy prep work are her saving graces year-round. Check out her musings on delicious food and healthy living at