How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Countless studies have shown that adults don't perform as well at work when they're not properly fueled and the same goes for kids who go to school hungry. Yet, the excuses people make for not eating this first meal of the day are endless, one of the most common being not having enough time. To help you whip up breakfast in a flash, while also assuring you get the biggest nutritional boost for your efforts, here’s some sage advice from nutrition experts on how they start their day when they’re pressed for time. These five-minute meals prove that adding a nourishing breakfast to your daily routine doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming — no more excuses!
Think Outside the Breakfast Box
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler, author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes, relies on leftovers for breakfast. By not stereotyping certain foods into breakfast, lunch, and dinner categories, she is able to keep the morning meal interesting, while also saving time on meal prep. When you’re preparing dinner, put a little extra aside for the next morning: Add some cottage cheese or tuna to a salad or top a noodle and veggie stir-fry with an egg. She also makes sure to have things she can grab and go on hand for when she’s really short on time — like a Chia Pod. “I like the fiber content (6 grams), plus the little bit of protein (4 grams),” says Stoler.
Indulge in Chocolate and Peanut Butter
If you’re looking for a quick combo of sweet, creamy, and satisfying, Elisa Zied, RDN, author of Younger Next Week, has your new go-to. Her “easy, breezy breakfast consists of a banana with two teaspoons of peanut butter accompanied by 8 ounces of organic, low-fat chocolate milk.” What makes the dish so potent, says Zied, is that “it hits three important nutrients: protein (from the milk and the peanut butter), fiber (from the banana and the peanut butter), and calcium (from the milk)”. Most importantly, the recipe couldn’t be any simpler: “All it takes is peeling the banana, spreading on the peanut butter, and sticking the straw into the box of chocolate milk!” says Zied.
Pack in the Protein
Protein at breakfast helps fill you up and keeps you feeling alert throughout the morning. That’s why Patricia Bannan, RDN and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, turns to eggs for her morning meal. Her on-the-go breakfast consists of a sliced hard-boiled egg with some mashed avocado on a toasted whole-wheat English muffin. “This super quick and tasty breakfast offers protein from the egg and fiber from the English muffin for staying power,” says Bannan, while the avocado supplies antioxidants and healthy fats that keep you feeling fuller, longer.
Apply a Better Butter
Almond butter has a creamy, decadent texture and taste, and when Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet has no time in the morning, it’s her go-to ingredient. "In five minutes flat I can spread almond butter on a lightly toasted 100% whole-wheat sandwich thin for a breakfast that's packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fat." If you're looking to add a touch of sweetness and you have an extra minute, you can slice a banana atop the almond butter. If you're really feeling the pressure to get out the door, grab a banana and take it to go for added potassium and fiber.
Get Creative with Avocado
Avocado is a hot item amongst nutrition experts and there are many ways to turn this fruit into a gratifying spread. Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, author of The Flexatarian Diet, starts out by spreading mashed avocado on whole-grain toast and then adds sweet or savory touches. For a sweet start to your day, Blatner suggests adding walnuts, raw honey, and cinnamon. To kick start your morning with a more savory combo, she recommends adding an egg, crushed red pepper flakes, and sea salt.
Give Fruit a Boost
Whether it's pineapple, blueberries, or a mandarin orange, Tara Gidus, RDN, co-author of Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies, pairs whatever fruit she has on hand with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt for a protein-packed breakfast that provides lasting energy. The vitamin, mineral, fiber, and phytonutrient content makes fresh fruit a smart morning pick, while yogurt or cottage cheese adds 12 to 15 grams of filling protein per serving. To make the breakfast even easier, Gidus recommends "avoiding peeling and assembling the day of by putting together three to four of these containers every few nights and having them ready to grab and go."
Back to the Basics
My dependable comfort-in-a-bowl breakfast has been served in my home since childhood. Whether it’s old fashioned or steel cut, oatmeal provides warmth to carry you through your morning, along with the benefits of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and whole grains. I add a swirl of almond butter and chia seeds to hike up the protein, along with dried fruit and a touch of cinnamon to enhance flavor. There’s no need to cook oatmeal everyday — you can find good quality instant types in the supermarket or you can cook up a big batch, refrigerate it, and then heat in the microwave when needed. Have you ever given overnight oats a try?
What Nutritionists Eat For Breakfast When They Have No Time was originally published on Everyday Health.
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