10 Quick, Morning-Proof Breakfasts
Make a Speedy Egg Sandwich
Think you don't have time for breakfast? Here's why you should make time: Without enough calories in your system, you'll feel (and act!) like a zombie until lunch.
Try our two-minute, hot-and-cheesy egg sandwich. Crack an egg into a bowl, toss the shell, and scramble the egg quickly with a fork. Microwave it for 45-60 seconds. Toast a whole-grain English muffin -- then tuck in the warm egg and a slice of low-fat cheese.
Build a Breakfast Sundae
Sounds like dessert, right? This quick parfait tastes like one, too.
Dish out 1 cup of low-fat, plain yogurt, 1 serving of cereal, and a handful of fresh fruit. You'll get protein, some healthy carbs from the cereal and fruit, and a little fat -- a good mix for lasting energy.
Keep it smart: Choose low-sugar, whole-grain cereal. Check the label and aim for 8 grams of sugar or less per serving. Granola usually has too much sugar, but a pinch on top is fine.
Roll an Instant Burrito
This protein-packed breakfast makes microwave magic. Take a whole-grain flour or corn tortilla, add 2-3 tablespoons shredded low-fat cheese and a half-cup of canned beans. Black beans or pintos are nice, quickly rinsed and drained. Heat your burrito for 30 seconds, then top with salsa or avocado slices. Swap in a scrambled egg for the beans, if you like.
Measure the cheese a few times, and then you'll be able to eyeball the right amount easily.
Stuff a Pita Pocket
Who says you can't eat lunch for breakfast? Here's one you can make the night before and stash in the fridge. Take a whole-wheat pita, then add a slice of low-fat cheese, lean turkey or ham, and crunchy lettuce or shredded carrots. Try some hummus or a few avocado slices, instead of mayo. You'll get great taste without the unhealthy, saturated kind of fat found in mayo.
Raid Last Night's Leftovers
You've probably seen your parents do it and it's not a bad idea. Grab some of last night's dinner and call it breakfast. Maybe it's rotisserie chicken with brown rice or meatloaf with potatoes. Maybe it's spaghetti with meat sauce, warmed in the microwave.
Avoid anything fried or really greasy -- fatty food is tough on an empty stomach and not so great for your health, either.
Grab Some Fruit and Cheese to Go
Running late? Even a super-fast breakfast you eat in the car or on the bus can be healthy. Grab a piece of fruit -- like a banana, apple, or pear -- and a piece of low-fat string cheese. For extra energy, add a serving of nuts. Don't go overboard, though: A serving of nuts should fit in the palm of one hand and be about the size of a golf ball.
Almond Bonus: These nuts have some calcium to help build strong bones.
Get Nutty With Cereal
Cereal with skim milk is quick and nutritious -- so long as it's not loaded with sugar. Super-sweet types can cause a mid-morning energy crash. Then by lunch, you're so hungry you're more likely to gorge on junk food. Check the label and choose a whole-grain cereal with:
- No more than 8 grams of sugar per serving
- At least 3 grams of fiber in a serving
Cereal to go? Take it in a snack bag, with a side of yogurt.
Whip Up Oatmeal With Fruit
Make breakfast for the week on Sunday night: a big batch of steel-cut or rolled oatmeal -- sweetened only with frozen or dried berries. Keep it in the fridge and then warm a bowl in the microwave each morning.
Flavored instant oatmeal can be smart breakfast, too, if you mix half of a flavored packet with half of a regular, no-sugar packet. To boost your dairy and help your bones, make it with milk, rather than water.
Go Old School, With PB&J
Nut butters give you protein for energy and brain power -- and they can keep you fueled for hours. So spread 2 tablespoons of peanut or almond butter instead of margarine or cream cheese on your morning toast to avoid unhealthy fats. Try whole-wheat bread and add banana slices to help you stay full longer.
Pile on a Potato
Baked potatoes can be a quick and healthy breakfast. Really! Microwave one for about five minutes, then top it with 1/4 cup salsa and:
- A big spoonful of low-fat, plain yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese
- Or 1/4 cup of grated, low-fat cheese
Potatoes give you carbs for energy and a little protein. Cheese or yogurt adds more protein and salsa adds fiber. This power combo gives you energy for a morning swim practice or a pop quiz. Skip the butter or sour cream.
Choose a Breakfast Bar Wisely
How can you tell a good granola, cereal, or energy bar from a bad one? Look at the ingredient list: If you see fruit, nuts, oats, or other whole grains listed up top, that's good. If you see any sugar, syrup, or fructose listed up top, that's bad.
- Look for at least 3 grams of fiber.
- Avoid any bar coated with yogurt or chocolate -- that's just a candy bar in disguise.
- Wash it down with a glass of skim, almond, or soy milk.
Hit the Trail With Your Own Mix
Trail mix makes great morning fuel -- just don't overdo it. Make a big batch and then measure it out into snack-size bags. One day's serving should have no more than:
- 1/4 cup of nuts
- 1/4 cup of dried fruit
- One serving of low-sugar cereal
Pair it with a box of 1% or non-fat milk or just 1 cup of calcium-fortified orange juice. Tip: Avoid dried fruits made with added sugar or those fried in oil (banana chips!).