We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and in many ways, it’s true; breakfast eaters tend to eat more healthfully throughout the day than non-breakfast eaters, and eating a high quality, low sugar, nutritious breakfast can minimize unhealthy glucose spikes throughout the day to give you an even metabolism.
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
The trouble is that “high quality, low sugar, nutritious” part. Breakfast is supposed to provide roughly the same number of calories as any other meal for the best effect, but it’s easier to grab a tube of yogurt or a cereal bar on your way out the door than to make a plate of eggs and whole-grain pancakes.
There is a middle ground between those two options, however. Tonight, try making one of these delicious and healthy breakfasts for tomorrow morning so you can get the right start on your day.
It’s made of high protein eggs, milk, and cheese, it usually includes veggies, and it reheats well. What could possibly be the downside? Cooking Light has plenty of healthy quiche recipes, and some of them even have crusts made from rice or quinoa if gluten is a problem for you.
If you really want to cut the carbs, there are even some crust-free versions, or you could just make a breakfast casserole.
There isn’t much more versatile than a breakfast casserole or egg bake. They can be quite the calorie sink, as the traditional breakfast casserole is loaded with sausage and cheese (witness this amazing-sounding ham and sausage hash brown egg bake from Pinch of Yum for an example). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you really want to make sure that you start your morning full, but if you’d rather err on the side of low-calorie, Taste of Home has a collection of lower calorie alternatives.
Muffins are synonymous with a sugary, high fat, decadent breakfast, but they don’t have to be. Harvard’s School of Public Health rolled out the Great Muffin Makeover.
Their chefs and dietitians reduced the sugar and salt in traditional muffin recipes, used heart-healthy fats in place of butter, and loaded the muffins with flavors ranging from traditional blueberry to daring lemon chickpea (which has the added bonus of bringing in extra protein!). Pick the flavor that sounds best to you and bake a dozen tonight.
Like muffins, breakfast breads – banana, pumpkin, cranberry and all the other variants – tend to have a bad reputation, mostly because of the sugary, fatty versions you can find at grocery stores and cafes.
If you have a favorite banana or pumpkin bread recipe, try replacing half the white flour with whole-wheat, substituting healthy oils like canola for butter or vegetable oil, and replacing half the fat with applesauce or other pureed fruit.
Throw in a few handfuls of nuts to add protein and keep you feeling full throughout the day, and try adding extra fruit; half again the bananas in the recipe, for instance, or a few handfuls of fresh blueberries, to add natural sweetness so you can cut the sugar.
This banana-blueberry buttermilk bread from Eating Well combines these ideas into one yummy breakfast bread.
Refrigerated and reheated pancakes have a reputation for being heavy. The trick is to put a sheet of wax paper between each pancake to prevent them from sticking together and then wrap the whole batch in aluminum foil and freeze it.
Microwave them in the morning for hot and delicious pancakes. Top them with fresh fruit or applesauce instead of maple syrup for a healthier pancake. You can also bake fruit and nuts right into the batter.
There isn’t much better for your breakfast than a loaded bowl of oatmeal. High-fiber, heart-healthy oats, delicious antioxidant-loaded fresh fruit, and protein-packed nuts come together to make a nutritional powerhouse.
It can be difficult to whip a bowl together and eat it before heading out the door, though, so try baking it and eating it as a bar instead. The Mayo Clinic has a basic recipe to get a good flavor and texture without too much extra sugar.
Make it your own by throwing in a cup of sliced bananas, raisins, or fresh fruit, plus a cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.
Also called “summer porridge” or “overnight oats,” refrigerator oatmeal is a refreshing cold treat on a hot day. Like baked oatmeal, it’s packed with fiber, but it’s soaked in milk and optional Greek yogurt for a hefty dollop of calcium and protein.
Best of all, there’s no cooking involved – just mix all the ingredients in a mason jar, shake it up, and refrigerate it overnight. The Yummy Life and Grocery Budget 101 are huge fans of refrigerator oatmeal and have recipe suggestions for all kinds of flavors, from Peach Melba to peanut butter and banana.
If you can’t find something delicious here, you aren’t trying hard enough. For a non-dairy alternative, the Food Network has a recipe for a yogurt-free base.
Smoothies are a tried-and-true make-ahead breakfast – just blend your favorite recipe, freeze it in ice cube trays, and throw the cubes into your cup to thaw in the morning, or put a jar in the fridge to thaw overnight.
If your favorite recipe gets that funky leftover smoothie taste and texture even when you freeze it, try making freezer packs. Pre-slice and measure all solid ingredients for a single smoothie, and then put them in a baggie and freeze them, and pre-measure the milk or yogurt in a container in your fridge.
The next morning, combine them and dump them into your blender. Voila – a smoothie in seconds.
If you like the idea of a morning smoothie but want to dig into something with your spoon, smoothie bowls were invented just for you. Eat This Not That has a collection of smoothie bowls ranging from mean and green to chocolate hazelnut.
Just prepare the blended part as you would a morning smoothie, pre-freezing it or separating the solid and liquid ingredients into little pre-made packets, and make an additional packet for the toppings. The flavor and nutritional combinations are endless.
Chia Seed Pudding
You probably know that chia seeds are a super-food loaded with omega-3s, antioxidants, fiber, calcium, and protein, but you may not have known what a spectacular pudding base they make. They absorb plenty of liquid, so if you soak them in milk (whether from cows, almonds, or coconuts), they swell up to make a delicious, creamy, and healthy pudding base.
I Heart Eating uses them as a base for a sticky bun pudding that has all the nutrition of chia seeds and cashew milk, but has the sugary pecan topping of a sticky bun. If you’d rather start with a simple base and experiment, Choosing Raw has plenty of basic chia pudding recipes to get you started.