I’ve been a registered dietitian for a long time. Over the years, I think I’ve heard every excuse in the book for why breakfast gets skipped. Whatever your excuse- no time, not hungry, don’t need it- my response is always the same. Eating breakfast is not negotiable; have something.
Breakfast breaks-the-fast from not eating overnight and provides energy to keep your mind sharp and your muscles fueled throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be a big breakfast, but it should be something, and preferably something balanced. If you’re not currently eating anything in the morning, start small and build a more balanced breakfast as your healthy habit becomes part of your new lifestyle. Try one of the following quick balanced breakfasts to get you started.
Pour a glass of milk. While you might not think of milk as a meal, consider this: one cup of low-fat milk provides a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat as well as 9 other essential vitamins and minerals. If pouring a glass is too much work, portable to-go bottles make it easy and convenient to drink as you are headed out the door or driving to school or work.
Grab a granola bar. While not all bars are created equal, something is better than nothing. My book, Fueling Young Athletes includes a recipe for a balanced breakfast bar that you can make ahead of time, freeze, then grab and go. Or, pick up your favorite one at the store to eat as you head out the door.
Take a container of yogurt. Like milk, yogurt is a balance of carbohydrates and protein plus it provides many of the nutrients to needed to keep your skeletal and muscular system strong.
Top toast with protein. A hard-boiled egg is a high-quality protein option and makes a great toast topper when eating on the go. Boil 4-5 eggs in advance and store them in the refrigerator, shell-on, so that you have one ready to grab when you’re in a rush. Brush your toast with olive oil, hummus or a soft cheese to add flavor and keep the egg from falling to the floor as you eat it. I like to add a sprinkle of season salt, paprika and red pepper for added flavor.
Pair any protein with a piece of fruit. Keep portable protein options, such as cheese slices, hard-boiled eggs, beef jerky or rolled turkey breast, prepared and ready to grab and go. Pair that with a piece of fresh fruit and you have created a balanced breakfast. Fruits such as bananas, apples and oranges stay fresh for days and are easy to grab and go.