Whether you are the type of person who wakes up starving or with no appetite, having convenient, quick breakfast ideas are perfect to start your day.
Although cliché, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is essential to stimulate metabolism, balance blood sugar, and improve concentration and focus. Read here about the importance of breakfast. With that being said, a real breakfast should contain at least 300 calories, but closer to 400 calories may be more appropriate.
The following is a list of ways that Leila and myself, two nutrition professionals, tackle breakfast.
Having the right foods on hand is the prep to meal prep. Although it sounds obvious, you have to have the foods from the grocery store in your kitchen to be able to produce a good, nutrient dense meal. This goes from stocking eggs, veggies, proteins, fruit, or anything else you are using to build your breakfast.
During the week, I prep vegetables for multiple meals, which include breakfast. Prepping beforehand saves time during the valuable real estate of the mornings.
I buy and use mostly pre-prepped bagged veggies. For breakfast it’s usually a mix of leafy greens such as spinach, spinach-kale combo, spring mix, or power greens. Additionally, I usually gravitate toward protein powder or eggs as my base for breakfast.
If you are the type of person that is not that hungry in the morning, smoothies are the way to go. Usually it is easier to drink something than to eat.
The proper way to make a smoothie is to include all three macronutrients – carbs, protein, and fat.
An example smoothie formula is approximately 10 ounces of liquid, unlimited veggies, healthy fat, protein powder, fruit (optional), and spices (optional). See the Build Your Own Smoothie list here. Or you can opt for an
Smoothies are my go-to, especially during the week.
My typical smoothie is-
- almond milk,
- mixed greens,
- either chia or flax seeds (sometimes both),
- plant-based protein powder + collagen to equal about 30g of protein
- cocoa powder,
- sometimes strawberries or a handful size piece of banana
This is easy for me because I enjoy starting the day with chocolate, and I know it’s quick and easy to make and drink.
Frittatas, Omelets, or Scrambles
Eggs are the most nutrient dense food that is our typical breakfast cuisine. They can come in the form of scrambles, omelets, or frittatas. Depending on the amount of time you have will depend on how you eat them.
As a breastfeeding mom, I am extra hungry in the morning and sleep-deprived. This combination is challenging to make a balanced breakfast unless breakfast is effortless. One of my most frequented breakfast items is egg frittata.
I like a muffin pan with vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, broccoli, and plant-based cheese. My favorite brand is Miyoko cashew-based mozzarella. Then, I pour whisked country eggs over the mixture to make egg “muffins.” These are easy to heat up in the morning and enjoy for almost a week.
I love fried eggs frittatas for breakfast, especially on the weekends.
In fact, I generally eat this as a leftover from a dinner meal. It’s pretty common for our Thursday night meal to be all of the leftover meat (including chicken, ground beef or pork, and shrimp), sauteed together with onions and any other veggies leftover from the week. This frittata is a hodge podge of the foods we have grown tired of eating, including cauliflower rice, broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, or anything in between. These are sauteed together, mixed with six to eight eggs and baked in a skillet in the oven. We eat it for dinner on Thursdays then for breakfast on the weekends.
Similarly, the grocery stores often have the ready-to-go veggies with some potatoes in a bowl that you just crack an egg or two into to make this a quick option for you. You can find this prepped in the refrigerated section of the store.
Muffins are another typical breakfast food. These are often high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, however that’s not always the case. You have to be particular about how you make them.
I love to make protein muffins, and so do my babies. I add a few scoops of protein powder to any muffin recipe and adjust the liquid accordingly. If I don’t add protein powder to the batter, I usually make a protein shake or add nut or seed butter to the muffin.
Casserole or Hash
A breakfast casserole or hash is a great make-ahead dish, just like frittatas. Casserole is typically held together with eggs, while a hash is a combination of foods that just work well together.
My casserole usually includes potatoes, sausage or bacon, cheese, bell peppers, and onions.
Fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley, sage, or rosemary dramatically elevate the casserole or hash. Rosemary and potatoes are one of my favorite combinations.
Since breastfeeding, I need the healthy carbs of potatoes with their skins for fiber. Potatoes are great for energy because of their higher carb content. A higher carbs breakfast is perfect if you work out in the mornings or have an active job. You may add a whole wheat tortilla and make a burrito if more calories are needed.
If you are not that active in the morning, you may substitute the potatoes for parsnips, turnips, or even cauliflower. Experiment with different vegetables, such as zucchini or summer squash. To make a burrito out of the casserole, try a possible grain-free, egg white or cauliflower wrap.
I do love a breakfast hash. This is the combination of meat ground or chopped, sweet potato or apple to give a hint of sweetness, and a variety of veggies that are on hand. Here’s a go-to recipe that we often enjoy. This is usually made ahead and grabbed to quickly heat up for on the go.
Try yogurt parfait for little to no-make-ahead prep. Layer the Greek or Icelandic yogurt in a cup or bowl. Place fruit, such as berries, on the bottom, yogurt in the middle, and granola, nuts/ seeds on top for a parfait. You may make several at a time for the entire week.
My favorite granola is grain-free from Purely Elizabeth. Chia, flaxseeds, or walnuts add omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein without the added carbohydrates that are usually found in granola.
Store-bought granola is loaded with sugar. Make your own granola with rolled oats or top yogurt with puffed millet cereal, buckwheat flakes, or grape nuts.
This is a staple for my son during the week. The brands that we usually use are Two Good, Chobani Complete, or Oikos Zero. These topped with 1/2 banana sliced or blueberries along with walnuts is typical.
Overnight Oats and Chia Seed Pudding
Overnight oats and chia seed pudding are a great 10-minute or less prep that can be done in the evening before. I add nut or seed butter, chia seeds, and fruit to my oatmeal.
Protein powder may be added to the oatmeal. Some stores carry oatmeal packets that include protein powder which is excellent for travel. Ensure the sugar is 8 grams or less.
I use full-fat coconut milk and shredded unsweetened unsulfured coconut chips for my chia seed pudding. Top with fruit. Enjoy chia seed pudding for breakfast or a snack on the go.
We typically do oatmeal during colder months. It can be prepped the night before, just like overnight oats and warmed up when you are ready.
Lastly, breakfast can be anything, even last night’s leftovers. If you are not a typical breakfast food person, enjoy dinner ideas in the morning. The most important note is that at least 25-30 grams of protein paired with fiber, fat, and carbs are enjoyed together.