Lindsay Nelson, RD, LD
Top 5 Healthy Breakfasts to Make on Busy Mornings
Breakfast tends to be the most difficult meal for most people because we’re in a rush to get out the door, get the kids out the door, or if you have young children – trying to make breakfast before the babies wake up and need your full attention. As a result, many people are skipping breakfast or grabbing something quick like a bagel or donut. Skipping breakfast or eating a high sugar breakfast may impair cognition and energy in some people. Eating a balanced breakfast - with enough satiating fat and protein and lower in sugar – may improve mental focus and energy in the morning.
Here are 5 easy breakfast ideas that are quick and will give you the boost you need to tackle the day.
It’s a classic, and oh so easy! Plain oatmeal may be bland, so dress it up with your favorite toppings. Just be sure to watch your sugar with the toppings you choose. Many restaurants will add brown sugar and dried fruits which only adds sugar and not a whole lot of filling substance. Try adding nuts, nut butter, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, Greek yogurt or cocoa powder. My favorite combination that my kids love is unsweetened cocoa powder, natural almond butter and a small amount of honey. Adding healthy fats and protein will increase your satiety.
Health benefits of oatmeal:
-Great source of soluble fiber that leads to satiety, adds bulk to stool, and decreases LDL cholesterol.
-Due to the high fiber content, oatmeal is a healthier carb choice for diabetics.
(2) Chia Pudding
Chia seeds are a nutrition powerhouse. Make them a part of your breakfast by turning them into pudding overnight! Chia seeds turn gelatinous (similar to tapioca) and are better absorbed when soaked. Simply add 3 tablespoons per cup of milk of choice, stir, and let sit overnight. When you wake up, give it a good stir, add toppings like fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and honey and stir again.
Health benefits of chia seeds:
-A one-ounce serving of chia seeds provides 11 grams of fiber; 4 grams of protein; 9 grams of fat; 5 grams of omega-3’s; 18% RDI of calcium, 30% RDI of manganese; 30% RDI of magnesium; and 27% RDI of phosphorus.
-High in antioxidants.
-Helpful for weight loss and blood sugar control due to their high fiber and protein content.
Smoothies are a super easy meal you can make and drink on the go. The sugar content can add up quickly so be sure to choose lower sugar ingredients and avoid adding juice, sweetened milk, etc. A simple template is 1.5 cup milk, 1 cup frozen fruit, 1 cup greens and some sort of a protein (protein powder, almond butter, Greek yogurt, etc.). Smoothies are a great way to add in other “superfoods” too like spirulina and other green powders, ground flax seeds, turmeric, etc. I will even add fish oil to my kids’ smoothies sometimes. If making a smoothie is still too time-intensive, consider making smoothie freezer packets. Simply add all of the ingredients except the liquid to a freezer resealable bag, and make multiple at one time. When ready, pour all ingredients in a blender and add the liquid. Easy peasy!
Health benefits of smoothies:
Depends on what you put in them. Following my recipe template above, you will be getting greens, fruit, protein and healthy fat – a great way to start the day!
(4) Yogurt Parfait
Yogurt parfaits can be another sugar trap – especially when you order them at a restaurant. But when you make them at home you control all of the ingredients. Start with a plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt; layer with berries, nuts/seeds and a drizzle of honey. These can also be made ahead of time and stored in jars with lids. Plus, they look really pretty!
Health benefits of yogurt parfaits:
-Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of protein, plus a great source of probiotics which are essential for gut health.
-Berries are high in fiber and antioxidants.
-Nuts and seeds round out the meal with heart-healthy fats that also help to curb blood sugar.
(5) Avocado Toast
Have you tried this food trend yet? Avocado toast has taken over breakfast menus everywhere. There are so many ways to make it – savory, sweet, spicy, etc. Toast a piece of sprouted grains bread and spread ripe, mashed avocado over the toast. Then comes the toppings! I like strawberries with unsweetened coconut flakes and chia seeds. Other ideas include a fried egg, tomatoes and basil with a balsamic glaze, pomegranates and goat cheese, and the list goes on.
Health benefits of avocado toast:
-Avocados are packed with nutrients: vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. They actually provide more potassium than bananas!
-Avocados are a fantastic source of monounsaturated fats, the same type of heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. One study found that eating one avocado a day reduced LDL cholesterol by 13 points.
-Avocados are a great source of fiber, providing 7 grams per 3.5 ounce serving.