Making time for breakfast on a busy morning can be a challenge, especially during the holiday season when we all have even more on our to-do lists than usual. But did you know that eating regular meals – especially breakfast – can help you avoid holiday weight gain? It’s true! And preparing it doesn’t have to take much time – as long as you plan ahead a little.
Below are the ideas of my friends Willow and Stephanie from C&J Nutrition. Their make-ahead breakfast ideas will keep you satisfied all morning long, so you’re less tempted by all the cookies and candies in the break room!
This version of oatmeal eliminates the cooking aspect, since soaking the oats overnight in liquid has the same softening effect. There are many different combinations and fun delicious additions that you can use, so feel free to experiment with your favorite ingredients. Here are the basics:
- Combine 1/2 cup rolled oats (or steel cut oats) with 1/2 cup low-fat milk (almond or soy milk also work well).
- Stir-in 1/2 cup plain yogurt or use a lower sugar flavored yogurt, such as 0% Greek yogurt in your favorite flavor.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons chia seeds. Chia seeds give the final product a more pudding-like consistency and also add protein and healthy omega 3 fats.
- Add 2 tablespoons dried fruit, 1/2 of a sliced banana, or 1/2 cup berries (this can be added before refrigerating overnight or in the morning if you prefer your fruit not mixed in with the oats.)
- Stir all ingredients together and store covered overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, simply grab and eat!
Other delicious additions for flavor include cinnamon, cocoa powder, and pumpkin pie spice. You can also add coconut flakes, nut butter, and seeds, but be sure to keep your portion size of those additions to about 1 – 2 tablespoons.
These require a tiny bit of prep beforehand, but freeze really well and are such an easy way to get quality protein in the morning when you’re short on time. You can really get creative with your muffin flavors, as the veggie ingredients and seasonings in this recipe are completely flexible. Grab an egg muffin and a piece of fruit for a satisfying, filling breakfast.
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, combine 8 eggs with 7 egg whites. Add 3/4 cup chopped onion, 3/4 cup chopped peppers, 3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Whisk all ingredients together until eggs are well beaten (about 2 minutes). Pour egg mixture evenly into muffin tins sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Expect this recipe to make 12 egg muffins — a few more if using a smaller tin, less if using jumbo muffin tins.
Hard Boiled Egg + Crackers + Fruit
This is a great grab-and-go breakfast that’s easy to eat anywhere. Pair a hard cooked egg with 1 ounce of whole grain crackers or a whole grain pita, and a piece of portable fruit like an orange, banana, or apple.
DIY Trail Mix Bags
Combine 1 cup whole grain cereal with two tablespoons dried fruit (raisins, chopped apricots, chopped prunes, or cherries) and two tablespoons of nuts or seeds (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, etc.). Store the mix in sealed bags (one serving per bag) and use as a quick, no utensils needed, breakfast! To inject some calcium into your morning, grab a nonfat latte to sip along with your mix.
Yogurt + Nuts + Berries
[I added this one, as it’s my go-to on busy mornings]. Add a sprinkling of your favorite nuts and a small handful of berries (fresh or frozen) to a 6 oz container of plain yogurt (Greek or regular) for a a nutrient-packed breakfast on-the-go that never gets old. As long as I occasionally vary the fruit, nuts, and type of yogurt, I could eat this every morning forever!
Speaking of yogurt…
Congratulations to Jeffrey, randomly selected winner of the $50 Whole Foods gift card and Stonyfield yogurt coupons. Thank you, Stonyfield, and enjoy, Jeffrey!