And here’s another tip: Prepare your breakfast the night before.
Obviously don’t mix up a protein shake, but assemble all the items and get them ready along with your shaker cup or blender. Or have your oatmeal packet ready and apple washed. Breakfast cookies packed in a baggie and ready to go. A few minutes of nighttime preparation saves so much time and aggravation in the morning!
Here are your 8 breakfast options:
- Protein Shake
- Overnight Oats
- Hard Boiled Eggs & Fruit
- Breakfast Cookies
- Quest Bar (or other protein bar)
- Yogurt Parfait
- Protein Pancakes.
- Bonus: Cereal – Hot & Cold
My favorite superfood protein shake is Shakeology, and I drink it daily, but usually not for breakfast. But for many people, a protein shake is a great option. It is fast, portable and healthy. It’s perfect for those people who aren’t hungry in the mornings but want to jump start their metabolism.
Basic recipe: 1 scoop protein powder to 8 oz water or milk or juice (check your package of protein powder for the recommended amount of liquid). Shake or stir.
Easy Variation 1: Personally, I could never drink a “naked” protein shake. At a minimum, I combine a scoop of protein powder (or in my case Shakeology) with milk and ice and blend it in my Ninja blender for a thick icy shake.
Easy Variation 2: I generally add ingredients according to my mood. One of my personal favorites is the peanut butter cup shake. This is just taking Variation 1 and adding 2 tablespoons of PB2 (powdered peanut butter – otherwise substitute a tablespoon or two of real peanut butter). I like a chocolate protein powder base, but vanilla works just as well. This is a simple favorite and I could drink it like this every day. The end.
Easy Variation 3: Add fruit. This works best with vanilla protein powder unless you’re talking a chocolate banana combination. You can add any fresh, canned or frozen fruit of your choice. I like to keep a few bags of frozen berries, mango and cherries in my freezer. They make my shake cold and thick and DELICIOUS! If using frozen fruit, skip the ice.
Other add-ins and quick recipes:
- 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract plus 1 square dark chocolate = mint chocolate chip!
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract, chocolate protein powder
- 1/4-1/3 cup pumpkin, 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, sweetener if desired
- 1/4-1/3 cup applesauce, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon for apple pie a la mode (obviously vanilla flavor here)
Use your imagination! There are infinite combinations. Find a few you enjoy and rotate. Need more ideas? Check out this page for tons of protein shake recipes!
2. Overnight Oats
I first saw this recipe on Facebook and tweaked it just a little. The original called for Greek yogurt and was a little fussy on measurements. I am a “wing it” kind of gal because being relaxed with my recipes saves time, energy, and my sanity. Here is the basic recipe.
Basic recipe: Combine a 6-8oz container of yogurt (plain, Greek, flavored – your choice) with 1/3 cup dry oats and 1/4-1/3 cup sliced or chopped fruit. The only ingredient I measure is the oats, but if you’re good at eyeballing then just toss in a handful of oats. Put the ingredients in a small glass jar with a lid and pop in the fridge. Make a few jars at once – they will keep 3 days in the fridge.
Easy Variation 1: Change up the flavor of yogurt and the type of fruit. Don’t be scared to try bananas. My initial fear was that they would discolor in the jar overnight, but it is air that causes cut bananas to discolor. When they are mixed with the yogurt and oats the bananas remain fresh and awesome.
Easy Variations 2: Experiment with other ingredients, in addition to the fruit, or in place of it. Ideas? Gelatin powder (for those of us with arthritis – grrr), chia seeds, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds (otherwise known as pepitas; obviously without the outer shell), dark chocolate chips, dried fruit. You can also use vanilla or unflavored yogurt and stir in maple syrup, peanut or almond butter, jelly, etc. Really, the sky’s the limit.
3. Hard boiled eggs and fruit.
This requires just a tiny bit of preparation unless you are blessed to have a grocery store that sells already hard-boiled eggs. If time is an issue, then I don’t have any problem paying a little extra for convenience. You need to decide if it is worth it for you.
Basic recipe: Hard-boil several eggs at a time. I’ll eat two at a sitting, so if I’m planning for 4 breakfasts then obviously I’ll cook 8 eggs. Or just cook an entire dozen at a time and share with the family or make egg salad for a quick lunch. Timesaving Tip: peel the eggs all at once and place 2 eggs in a small ziplock bags. Wash some apples and have the egg baggies and apples ready to pull from the fridge in the morning.
Easy Variation 1: Use any fruit you like! Apples and bananas are super easy and portable, but be my guest if you prefer a more exotic choice. Don’t forget about canned fruit.
Easy Variation 2: Out of fruit? Substitute a piece of toast or yogurt. Or even a small packet of instant oatmeal. If you want to go low carb then skip the fruit and add a few slices of bacon (cook a batch at once and keep in the fridge) or 1-2 pieces of string cheese.
Yes, sandwich. Sometimes you need to think outside of the box. PB&J immediately came to mind as a breakfast option, but what about a turkey sandwich? You have a healthy combination of carbs and protein with either one. A decent sandwich will fill you up until lunch. Give it a try.
Basic Recipe: Slap some peanut butter and jelly on bread and throw it in a ziplock baggie. Done! It can be prepared the night before and kept in the fridge.
Easy PB&J Variations: Try peanut butter & banana. Use almond or sunflower butter instead of peanut butter. Try different varieties of bread, like sourdough, raisin or pumpernickel. Maybe use a bun, wrap, English Muffin or bagel. (Watch those big bagels because they pack a lot of calories!) If you’re really feeling domestic, bake a batch of banana or pumpkin bread and use the homemade bread to make your sandwich. Then invite me over to have breakfast because it will be amazing!
Experiment with different flavors of jams or jellies. PB sandwiches are very filling. Don’t skimp, but don’t go totally crazy with the peanut butter. One tablespoon (which is a very small portion in my eyes) is about 100 calories. If you pack on the nut butters you could have a highly caloric breakfast.
Other Variations: The sky’s the limit. Try various meats, cheeses, spreads, veggies. You know what you like. If you need help thinking of new sandwich options, try a google search. It’s amazing the combinations that are out there!
5. Breakfast Cookies
I love breakfast cookies! There are lots of recipes out there, some healthier than others, but the recipe I use is simple, uses few ingredients, and is healthy and gluten free. It is not super sweet like a chocolate chip cookie, but “real” cookies often awake my inner Cookie Monster and I’d rather keep her asleep.
Try making a batch of breakfast cookies and keep them in the freezer. When you choose to use them, pop a few in a Ziploc baggie and bring them to work. Microwaving for just a few seconds (if you like) will warm the cookies and make them soft and delicious!
Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
Easy Variations: Leave out the chocolate chips; substitute mashed pumpkin for the banana and use raisins or craisins instead.
There are tons of protein bars on the market, so be cautious. Many are glorified candy bars, even if they have some protein in them. If you choose to purchase a protein bar, make sure it has at least 15 grams of protein. Watch out for sugar alcohols as they upset sensitive tummies. My favorite protein bar of all time are Quest Nutrition Protein Bars. The Quest Bars (white chocolate raspberry is my fave) are low in calories (around 170) and have 20 grams of protein. They have no sugar alcohols and are gluten free. Everything I look for in a bar.
If you do decide to purchase Quest bars, the cheapest way is directly from Quest Nutrition. You can find them HERE. Our local grocery store sells the individual bars for (gulp) $3.99 a piece!
7. Yogurt Parfait
Basic Recipe: Layer your favorite yogurt with fruit and/or granola, nuts or other goodies in a bowl or glass. Enjoy!
Easy Variations: To make this portable, pack your container of yogurt with separate ziplock baggies or plastic containers full of your “layering ingredients.” That way the fillings (unless we’re talking fruit) won’t get soggy. Good combinations are vanilla yogurt with blueberries and granola; strawberry yogurt with sliced bananas and chopped walnuts; pineapple yogurt with coconut and Craisins. Use your imagination!
8. Protein Pancakes
I will admit I am a big fan of protein pancakes, but even though they are quick to prepare, they’re probably best left for the weekend if you are in a real time crunch. Or, prepare at night and reheat the next morning at the office.
A few notes on the basic recipe. I use bananas, but you can substitute applesauce, Greek yogurt, pumpkin or mashed sweet potatoes. The key is to have one of these “squishy” ingredients otherwise your pancakes will be dry. I’ve tried several recipes that skipped the “squishy” ingredients (sorry – I’m not a chef – not sure what the proper term is, lol) and the pancakes came out dry. No thanks. It’s worth the few extra calories to have a great-tasting pancake with nice texture.
1/2 to 1 banana, mashed
2 eggs, beaten with a fork
1 scoop protein powder (Note: I use Shakeology for my protein drinks, but not for pancakes. Shakeology should not be heated since it contains probiotics which would be destroyed with heat. I use Syntha-6 brand for pancakes.)
1/4 tsp. (or wing it) baking soda
few shakes of salt
Optional: sweetener of your choice if your protein powder is unsweetened
Mix banana and eggs together. Add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until bubbly on top, then flip. (Note: I spray my pan with Pam cooking spray; butter works well too.)
Serve pancakes with butter, maple syrup, peanut butter or almond butter, sliced bananas or other fresh fruit, jelly, coconut butter. Anything you like
More Easy Variations: Just like with the other recipes, experiment with different flavors and add-ins. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t like the result. Then don’t try that particular combination again. Use the ingredients you have on hand to make your recipe simple and inexpensive.
9. Cereal – Hot & Cold
You’ve made it to the bonus round! If you are still looking for ideas, cereal is an always an option. At first I thought cereal was an obvious choice, but I’ll add it just in case.
We discussed overnight oats but even though oats are an ingredient, I don’t consider overnight oats to be oatmeal. I do consider oatmeal to be cereal, so I’ve included traditional oatmeal in this category. Confused yet? Sorry – it’s just how my brain works.
Basic recipe: Pour dry cereal in a baggie and bring to work. (Interesting – or not – fact: for YEARS I ate a large baggie of Corn Chex for breakfast along with a Diet Coke. I don’t do that any longer and certainly don’t advocate that combination! Live and learn.) Serve your cereal with a piece of fruit, or better, a yogurt. A cereal is almost pure carbs and I like to combine with a little protein for more staying power. I will admit — I am weird. I have never eaten cereal with milk. I have never been a milk drinker so dry cereal is the only way to go for me. If you’re a fan of cereal and milk, then I’ll let you figure out how to either pour milk in your bowl at home or pack it in a little container to bring with you to the office. Ewww!
Easy Variation 1: For hot cereals (which I LOVE) you have several options. Think oatmeal, cream of rice, cream of wheat, grits, Coco Wheats, etc. First let’s talk oatmeal. Again, this is just my preference, but I despise instant oatmeal. It’s powdery and nasty and way too sweet. Sorry, but that’s just me. I can take 1/2 cup dry oats (regular oats, not instant or quick) and pop them in a bowl with a little liquid (water or milk) and throw them in the microwave for 2 minutes. Voila! Instant oatmeal without the ick factor. If you like instant oatmeal packets, then go for it.
I’m tired and hungry just reading over all the breakfast choices! I hope those of you new to the breakfast habit find these recipes EASY and HELPFUL. If you’re not naturally a breakfast eater, work to build that habit. You will have fuel and nutrients to start your day with energy! Breakfast doesn’t have to be messy, time-consuming or stressful. A few minutes of preparation at night will save tons of time in the morning.
What do you eat for breakfast? Please comment and share!