photo by Dan Counsell via Unsplash

Ready? Set? Breakfast!

September 7, 2021

by tiffany ricci, RDN

Whether you’re getting yourself and your kiddos ready and out the door or have a longer commute to work or have a slight affinity for the snooze button (no judgement) - we face a morning dilemma: Get to work/school on time or enjoy a hearty breakfast. The decision often seems one or the other, but not both.

Let me assure you that it IS possible to be on time in the morning and have a delicious, nutritious breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for both kiddos and adults. With breakfast, we can focus and concentrate better - great for learning and those grueling work projects. Breakfast helps us make healthier choices throughout the day, which is helpful for health goals and general wellness. And, a good breakfast can help prevent afternoon energy crashes - which may decrease the 3:00pm trips to the vending machine or coffee kiosk. In a way, breakfast can help with better sleep since afternoon caffeine can interfere with getting good quality sleep.  

Let’s discuss two ways to make sure you have a solid breakfast ready to grab and go to win the day: Make Ahead and Stock Your Pantry with grab-and-go-able (I think that’s a phrase…) staples.

Make Ahead Options: 

Getting a solid hearty breakfast in the morning starts way before you silence your alarm. Making your breakfast ahead of time takes the work associated with preparing breakfast out of the morning equation, giving you precious moments to enjoy the snooze button or get ready at a more relaxed pace. Prep your breakfast the night before or set aside time on the weekend to create breakfast meals. 

Before we had kids and I worked outside the home, I made my oatmeal bowls (along with my lunches) for the week on Saturdays so I could take them with me to work. For the oatmeal bowls, I lined up five glass bowls on the counter and filled each one with my dry oatmeal concoction. At work, I would add liquid and microwave my breakfast. It was a healthier and tastier version of the instant oatmeal packets. I was energized and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Oatmeal is not the only make-ahead option. Try making Breakfast Cookies, Overnight Oats, or a Veggie Frittata. Create Smoothie Packs similar to my oatmeal bowls so the only morning prep needed is blending the ingredients. Easy peasy.

The Stockable Grab-and-Goes

Some weeks there just isn’t time for the Make Ahead option. When that’s the case, it’s best to stock the pantry with solid choices for a sustaining breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and one that should not be slighted. A robust breakfast actually helps with weight management and breakfast eaters tend to have lower risks of chronic disease. The morning meal is an opportunity to get in vital nutrients, complex carbs, satiating protein, and sustaining fats. With this in mind, a small protein bar or meal replacement shake isn’t going to cut it. 

Pairing staples together can create a great meal. Back to that protein bar - pair it with a banana and peanut butter or yogurt parfait. That shake? Add in some oats, almond butter, berries, and a handful of greens. Stock up on frozen veggie burritos such as those made by Amy’s and pair them with avocado, salsa, and a cup of berries. The cereal aisle contains several to-go oatmeal cups that serve as a good base to add more nutrition such as nut butter, fruit, and yogurt. 

Breakfast does not need to be breakfast-y. Pre-made salads and sandwiches will do, especially when paired with fruit and whole-grain crackers. Those same crackers can also be the base of a filling breakfast when topped with sharp cheddar cheese and served with raw veggies and hummus.

Breakfast truly deserves a spot on your to-do list. When life gets busy, breakfast can be an afterthought. But I encourage you to give it its due. Your day will be much better with a strong morning start!

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