Healthy Grab & Go Breakfast Ideas: School will be starting soon, here are some great ideas to speed up your morning routine. Bob & Caroline Scott of the Louisville Athletic Club have shared some great information about some of these on their Motivation for the Monday Fitness. I will add links to those posts as well. You can also find some great recipe ideas on my recipe blog.
Breakfast Idea #1: Muffins and quick bread
Surprised to see muffins on a list of healthy breakfasts? Homemade muffins are a much better choice than the prepackaged variety. If you make them yourself, you control what goes in them which means you can load them up with healthy fruits, protein-packed nuts, and whole-grain flours that will help you feel satisfied till lunch.There are hundreds of quick bread and muffin recipes out there, from apple-cinnamon to peanut-butter-and-jelly. Not a fan of sweet food in the morning? Look for savory recipes, like spinach-pesto muffins, cornbread with jalapeños, or bacon and cheddar muffins. Both muffins and slices of quick bread freeze and reheat beautifully: While they're still fresh (but cooled), store them in a zip-lock bag or a Tupperware container in the freezer. On a busy morning, pull out as many as you need, pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds or a minute, and enjoy. Check out these Muffin & Bread Recipes.
Breakfast Idea #2: Smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to sneak in more servings of fruit and vegetables. Protein powder can also be added to add even more health benefits. At their core, smoothies are just blended fresh or frozen fruit, but that doesn't mean you have to stop there. Try adding Greek yogurt for extra creaminess and a protein boost, soy or almond milk for nondairy smoothness, or even a big spoonful of peanut butter (my fav). It's easy to get out the blender on a weekend, blend up a big batch, and pour the smoothies into individual cups. Then stick them in the fridge or freezer and pull them out on busy mornings. After a quick stir or shake, they'll be ready to enjoy. Or invest in an immersion blender, most models come with a plastic cup to blend in, which makes it easy to make a couple of smoothies without getting out a big appliance. Tip: Add a big handful of washed spinach to your smoothie. I know it sounds gross at first. It did to me too, but I tried it in a blueberry smoothie and you couldn't even taste it was in there. You can still see the greens a bit though so if you are using this idea to get more greens in your kiddos diets, use a opaque travel cup and they may never pick up on your secret ingredient. Check this link for more great tips: Healthy Smoothies, More Smoothie Recipes
Breakfast Idea #3: Quiches and Frittatas
This is one of my favorite foods, but to keep it healthy use Skim or 1% milk instead of cream and low fat cheese. These recipes are great for when you want eggs for breakfast but don't have the time. Plus, quiches can be frozen. Bake a quiche or frittata (the Italian, crustless version of a quiche) on the weekend and eat slices for breakfast all week, or wrap very well and freeze them for up to a month. Baked eggs reheat just fine, and they're also great cold if you're out running errands and don't have easy access to a microwave. Although I've never really been a fan of cold eggs. There are plenty of recipes out there, but you may not even need one. For an easy frittata, just preheat the oven to 350 degrees and heat some oil or butter in an oven-safe skillet. Then crack eggs into a large bowl and add any mix-ins you'd like (chopped bell pepper, green onions, spinach, cooked sausage, salt and pepper, goat cheese, etc.). You can even cook bacon or sauté onions in the skillet before adding the eggs for an extra burst of flavor. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, cook on the stove until the bottom is starting to set, and transfer to the oven until it's cooked all the way through. Then let cool, cut into individual serving sizes, and store in the fridge until you're ready to eat. Tip: Like the idea of muffins but want the protein of eggs? Instead of cooking the eggs in a skillet, pour the egg mixture into muffin tins and bake until cooked through. Then let cool and pop the mini-frittatas out for great individually sized breakfast dishes. Check out these links for more tips: All about Eggs, Motivation for Monday Fitness: Eggs
Breakfast Idea #4: Oatmeal
I've talked about Oatmeal before, because I love it so much. Oatmeal is creamy, warm, delicious, packed with fiber to keep you full, but it can be way too slow for really busy mornings. Rather than turning to the instant variety (or skipping breakfast altogether), make a big batch of old-fashioned or steel-cut oats on the weekends to eat throughout the week. You can even store the oatmeal in small microwave-safe containers that you can heat and eat without getting a bowl dirty. You may need to add a splash of milk or water. It can get thick after it sits. Another option that I do, is I will measure out Old Fashion Oats in a microwave container, walnuts, brown sugar, fresh fruit, cinnamon, a bit of vanilla, and then seal it. I've set the container in the fridge overnight. The next morning all I have to do is add the water or milk and pop the container in the microwave for less than a minute. This method avoids the left over feel and I saved time chopping fruit and measuring everything out. If normal oatmeal sounds too boring, try cooking quinoa or brown rice with milk and water and heating up the leftovers as hot cereal in the morning. Baked oatmeal is also a super tasty way to make a healthy breakfast ahead of time. Tip: If you have a rice cooker or slow cooker with a timer, you can set up your oatmeal before bed, turn on the timer, and wake up to fresh, delicious oatmeal in the morning. Check out this link for more great tips: Oatmeal
Breakfast Idea #5: Yogurt Parfaits
Parfaits are easier, healthier, and way cheaper to make at home. Simply buy some yogurt (Greek yogurt is a great choice, since it has plenty of protein. The consistency varies some are very thick; find a brand that you enjoy), some granola, and whatever fruit is in season. Then, in individual cups or bowls, layer the fruit and yogurt, plus some honey or other sweetener if your yogurt is unsweetened. You can layer the granola in with the fruit and yogurt if you don't mind it getting soft, or leave some room at the top to pour in the granola later. I usually put the granola in a ziplock bag. Tip: If you have a favorite fruit that's not in season, buy the frozen variety at the grocery store. I actually love frozen berries and they have just as many health benefits if not more since they were picked and frozen when they were perfectly rippened.
Breakfast Idea # 6: Homemade Granola Bars
If you're a fan of wrapped cereal bars for their convenience but not their nutrition, try whipping up a batch of homemade granola bars. Just as with muffins, making granola bars at home means you control what goes in them. They don't have to be packed with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. There are tons of granola bar recipes out there. Many of them don't require baking. Once the granola bars are ready, cut them into slices, put them in plastic bags or food storage containers, and stash in the fridge or freezer. Then pull a few out on your way out the door. Unlike some other breakfast options, most granola bars keep just fine at room temperature. Although if you'll be keeping them for days or weeks, they'll taste better if they stay cool. Tip: Granola bars make great gifts, especially if you get creative with wrapping them. Try this recipe for the Almond Grab & Go Power Bar
Breakfast Idea # 7: Breakfast Sandwiches or Burritos
You don't have to limit sandwiches and burritos to lunchtime. Egg sandwiches and wraps are really good and often very quickly prepared. Especially when you can just reheat frozen ones. Take an hour or two on a weekend to scramble or fry a bunch of eggs and add them to tortillas, English muffins, or bagels. Top with other delicious ingredients (cooked bacon or sausage, cheese, salsa, etc.), wrap tightly in saran wrap or aluminum foil, and freeze. Then just pull one out in the morning, take off the wrapper, and microwave for a minute or two for a hearty, protein-packed breakfast. Tip: If you find that your burritos get a little dry when reheated, try wrapping them in a damp paper towel before microwaving them, or plan to eat with extra salsa.
Breakfast Idea #8: Hard-Boiled Eggs
Simple hard-boiled eggs are a great breakfast option. As Bob and Caroline have mentioned before on their Motivation for Monday Fitness, they're portable, nutritious, and full of protein, and they come naturally individually wrapped. Celebrity chef Alton Brown suggests cooking hard-boiled eggs in an electric kettle. Just put the eggs in the bottom, fill with water, and turn on. When the kettle boils and turns itself off, set a timer for 12 minutes. Then pull the eggs out, cool in a bowl of ice water, and transfer to the fridge. Easy, fast, and no extra pot to wash.
Breakfast Ideas #9: Banana Wraps
Do the kids like PB& J? Try spreading some peanut or almond butter on a brown rice tortilla, add a peeled banana, and roll up. It's an instant, portable, and nutritious breakfast that is ready in about a minute. Tip: For a touch of sweetness, add a drizzle of honey.