Many people try to excuse away their poor eating habits by saying that in the mornings, they haven’t the time or inclination to eat healthy, and it’s just “easier” to shove an instant pastry in their faces before trudging onwards with their day. It doesn’t take much effort to make these simple, healthy breakfasts, and enjoying some of these instead of grease-laden fast food takeout items will do wonders for your health, energy level, and overall well-being.
1. Granola/Muesli Parfait
This only takes a minute or so to prepare, and can be eaten either at home, or at the office. To make a portable version, just use a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid instead of a mug or glass. Keep a healthy store-bought muesli or granola like Kashi Go-Lean on hand, or make your own with a mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut flakes, toasted oats, etc. Pour a layer of this cereal into your jar/glass, then a layer of low-fat yoghurt, and a layer of fresh fruit (sliced strawberries, peaches, whole blueberries, etc.) Add layers like this until the glass is full, grab a spoon, and dig in.
2. Breakfast Wrap
This is one of the most versatile meals out there: just take a whole wheat wrap and fill it with what you have on hand. One great-tasting, high-protein filling is scrambled eggs with fried onions and peppers, but you could just as easily fill yours with tofu and veggies, or low-fat/vegan cream cheese and sliced fruit.
3. Pita Pocket
Whether you prefer a sweet or salty breakfast, you can make this work for you. Just take a whole wheat pita and slice it in half so that you have two happy little pockets. If your morning preferences lie on the sweeter side, spread the insides of the pockets with almond butter (or other healthier PB alternative) and add in some sliced fruit such as bananas, apples, and pears. For a savoury version, slap some hummus into the pockets and add in tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, sprouts, lettuce, and grilled tempeh.
You have a few different options for this one, depending on which way your personal preferences lie:
- Steel-cut oats prepared in a crock pot overnight
- Grain porridge made with a mixture of oats and barley
- Macrobiotic porridge made with any whole grain (brown rice, oat, barley, or millet), with vegetables like radish, celery, broccoli, and seaweed, and garnished with sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Serve with a bowl of miso soup
If you’re the type of person who likes to have breakfast in liquid form, skip the coffee and aim for a smoothie instead. These combinations of fruit, vegetables, juices and/or non-dairy milks aren’t just super-simple breakfast options—they’re powerhouses of nutrition and energy that also keep you hydrated. Toss in some leafy greens like spinach into a banana-blueberry smoothie, or brighten your morning with a drink made with frozen strawberries, orange juice, and grapefruit wedges.
6. Breakfast Bars and Cookies
No, these aren’t the fat-laden, sugar-coated, empty-calorie bars and cookies you can get from the supermarket, but rather healthy, protein-packed energy bars and “cookie-shaped-mini-meals” that you make ahead and keep on hand for breakfasts and mid-afternoon snacks. Skip the sugar and add in plenty of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, and you’ll have a fibre-rich snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about.
7. Egg White Tostadas
Toast a small corn tortilla, top it with scrambled egg whites, sliced avocado, maybe some salsa and chopped cilantro, and dig in. You can crumble in a bit of queso fresco or feta, or use tofo and peppers instead if you’re aiming for a vegan version, but either way, these tostadas come together quickly and are as delicious as they are good for you.
8. Quinoa Bowl
This amazingly tasty pseudo-grain is also one of the healthiest, and most versatile. Many people use it in lunch and supper recipes, but you can also use quinoa in both savoury and sweet breakfast dishes. Mix it with fruit, cinnamon, non-dairy milk, a drizzle of honey and some toasted nuts for a hearty sweet breakfast, or add in tofu or tempeh, chick peas, tomatoes, sunflower sprouts, sliced cucumber, toasted seeds, and a bit of tahini for a savoury version.
A rice-based porridge, congee (also known as “jook”) can be made overnight in a crock pot or rice cooker, and is fantastic comfort food. It’s usually eaten with savoury additives, such as shredded meat, chopped green onions, soy sauce, and peanuts, but you can also have it with soy milk and fruit if you so desire.
This halfway-point between an omelette and a quiche pairs sauteed vegetables with beaten eggs and spices for a light, protein-packed, and low-fat breakfast. Try combinations like caramelized onion and Swiss chard, mushroom and spinach, tomato-zucchini, red pepper and goat cheese, or countless other pairings.
11. Fruit Salad
Create a salad of your favourite fruits and store it in the fridge to keep it nice and cool. Douse the fruit with a bit of orange or lemon juice to stop it from turning brown, and enjoy a full rainbow-like serving for breakfast. Feel free to top it with wheat germ or oat bran for extra fibre, and depending on the type of fruit that you used, a bit of low-fat yoghurt or cottage cheese would work with it for a protein boost.
12. Low-Fat Huevos Rancheros
Believe it or not, this scrumptious breakfast can actually be healthy. Toast a whole wheat or corn tortilla, and instead of a fried egg, top it with scrambled egg whites. Skip the shredded cheese, add plenty of pico de gallo (or other salsa of choice), some refried or mashed beans on the side, and a dollop of fat-free Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream, and you’ll begin your day with a well-rounded, delicious meal that will fuel you for hours.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and with these tasty, healthy ideas at hand, you have no reason to skip it anymore.
Here are three great ways to prepare eggs in 5 minutes or less: 7 Reasons You Should Eat Eggs for BreakfastFeatured photo credit: Croissant and a cup of coffee on a kitchen counter via Shutterstock