Quick and Healthy Breakfasts
You know that breakfast is important. Scientific studies suggest that eating a healthy breakfast may improve your performance at work and school and reduce your chances of obesity and certain chronic diseases. A 2013 study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, suggests skipping breakfast may increase your risk of heart disease. Just knowing the importance of a healthy breakfast isn’t enough. For most people, the issue on weekdays is finding time to make and eat breakfast after hitting the snooze button on your alarm, spilling coffee on your clothes, getting distracted by cat pictures when doing a quick check of e-mail, or hunting for misplaced car keys. Even if you don’t have time for a cooked breakfast, you don’t need to eat an artery-clogging breakfast pastry or skip breakfast entirely. Below are several quick, healthy, no-fuss, no-mess breakfast options you can eat on the run.
Breakfast traditions vary tremendously. The French have their croissants, the Japanese, rice and miso soup, the Chinese, dumplings or noodle soup, and the British, a cooked breakfast including sausages, bacon, mushrooms, cooked tomatoes, and black pudding. You can eat almost any food you enjoy for breakfast as long as it contains a balance of lean proteins and good carbohydrates such as whole grains or fresh fruits or vegetables. Most adults should aim to consume 350 to 500 calories or approximately 25 to 35 percent of their total daily calories at breakfast, including at least 15 to 20 grams of protein. Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars, as they give a quick energy surge followed by a sharp energy drop just when you need to be alert and attentive at work or school.
The original convenience food, the sandwich, was named after an eighteenth-century nobleman, John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, an avid gambler who would have his servant bring him meat layered between two slices of bread so he could eat dinner without interrupting his card game. Make your own healthy breakfast sandwiches at home with whole grain or multi-grain bread or pita, filled with proteins such as hummus, nut butters, cheese, meat, or eggs. If you grab breakfast sandwiches at a local drive-through, check nutritional information online to find healthy choices.
With 80 calories and 6 grams of protein, eggs are breakfast standards in North America and Britain. For an instant healthy breakfast, prepare hard-boiled eggs at night and just peel and eat two for breakfast along with a piece of fresh fruit. Hard-boiled eggs will last for up to a week in your refrigerator, so you can make a batch on Sunday night and have an instant breakfast ready for busy weekdays.
Smoothies and Shakes
Smoothies and shakes make a perfect no-mess, on-the-go breakfast. Before you go to bed, you can make a traditional smoothie in the blender with fruit, ice cubes, and protein powder and then store it in the refrigerator overnight. Another option is tossing ice cubes, protein powder, soy or skim milk, and perhaps fruit juice into a tumbler or water bottle and shaking for an instant breakfast. Combine your morning caffeine with your breakfast protein in a delicious mocha shake by adding a cup of cold coffee, ice-cubes, two scoops of chocolate- or carob-flavored protein powder, and skim or soy milk to a tumbler and shaking vigorously. For extra fiber and omega-3s, add ground flax seeds to your shake or smoothie.
Fruit, Nuts, and Cheese
Two ounces of cheese will supply 10 grams of protein. Try hard cheeses on apple or pear slices for a refreshing start to your day. If you’re having the sort of morning where even slicing fruit and cheese will make you late, keep around individual packets of string cheese and small sandwich bags filled with grapes or mini-carrots for a grab-and-go meal. Although nuts can be high in calories, in limited quantities they are a healthy quick breakfast or snack, with a half cup of raw almonds containing 10 grams of protein and close to your complete daily requirement of vitamin E and biotin.
The ultimate in convenience food, protein bars can be stashed in your briefcase or glove compartment for a no-mess instant breakfast. Read nutrition information carefully, as many are filled with refined sugar and fat, and are no healthier than a piece of candy. The other problem is that because most meal bars are small and have only minimal amounts of fiber, they may leave you feeling hungry, leaving you susceptible to doughnuts or other unhealthy break room treats. While not a perfect choice, a small stash of protein bars will help you get through the most hectic of mornings.
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