If you’re like many Americans, you wake up every day and hit the ground running. Mornings are busy. Between trying to get ready for work, get the kids ready for school, squeeze in a workout, and get out the door on time, who has time for a healthy breakfast? You do when you plan ahead.
To Eat or Not to Eat
There’s been a lot of controversy around breakfast in the past few years. If you are of a certain generation, you were taught that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Today, that school of thought has taken, if not a backseat, at least a sidecar to intermittent fasting. So which one is right? Maybe both. By definition, the word breakfast means to break a fast. Whether you do that first thing in the morning or wait a few more hours, we are still talking about the first nutrients you put into your body for the day.
That first meal is important because it will set the tone for how you feel. A sugary coffee drink or donut from the break room will only leave you crashing and longing for more. A protein-rich breakfast with a healthy balance of carbs and a little good fat will help keep your blood sugar stable, give you more physical and mental energy, and help you stay satisfied until your next meal. If you are trying to watch your weight, studies show that adults who skip breakfast are at a greater risk for obesity and weight gain than those that don’t. Why? Because when you get “hangry,” it’s easier to make poor food choices or start snacking.
It’s A Matter of Time
Intentionally skipping an early breakfast as part of intermittent fasting is one thing. Skipping it because you simply don’t have time is another. If a hectic morning has you hitting the drive-through, a little planning can help. You don’t have to devote an entire Sunday to meal prepping unless, of course, you enjoy that. But spending a few minutes once or twice a week to prepare some quick grab-and-go breakfasts can save you time, money, and unwanted calories in the long run.
Egg muffins are a great option because you can customize them with your favorite vegetables and seasonings. They also keep well in the fridge or freezer, so you can make a big batch and store them until you’re ready to eat. We love these Spinach, Bacon, and Cheese Egg Muffins that boast only 129 calories, 10 grams of protein and fat, and just one carb per serving. Pair it with a handful of berries for a delicious and nutritious start to your day. Need more ideas? Here are a few of our favorite make-ahead breakfasts that are heavy on protein and come in at under 500 calories.
Oats contain a large amount of the soluble fiber beta-glucans, which can aid in healthy digestive systems, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar balance. Plus, high-fiber foods keep you feeling full. Like egg muffins, overnight oats can be customized with your favorite flavors. The following recipe is for vanilla, but feel free to play around with flavors and toppings. Add in fruits, peanut butter (or peanut butter powder for less fat), nuts, and even a few chocolate chips won’t hurt. It’s almost impossible to mess this up.
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (pump up the protein in this recipe with a high-protein yogurt like Two Good or mix in your favorite flavored protein powder).
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2/3 cup milk of choice
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1-2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (if you like it sweeter)
- Dash of salt
Whisk all ingredients together and scoop into a mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Chill overnight.
177 calories, 6 grams of fat, 26 carbs, and 9 grams of protein per serving.
Easy Sweet Potato Pancakes
Super simple and satisfying, sweet potato pancakes can be made ahead, reheated in the toaster or microwave, and topped with Greek yogurt or almond butter for even more of a protein punch.
- 1 med (about 8 oz) sweet potato baked and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of batter to a heated non-stick pan and cook for approximately 3 minutes per side. Makes four pancakes per serving.
254 calories, 9 grams of fat, 26 carbs, and 14 grams of protein.
The easiest grab-and-go breakfast is a high-protein smoothie. And while technically, you can’t make it ahead of time, you can precut and portion all your ingredients into individual baggies ahead of time, so you have everything in one place. In the morning, add your liquid to your blender, toss in the bagged ingredients, hit blend, and two minutes later, you are out the door. Like our other suggestions, smoothies are easily customized, but one of our favorite combinations is this chocolate, peanut butter, and blueberry blend.
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1 serving of your favorite chocolate protein powder
- 1 serving powdered peanut butter
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Blend and serve.
Nutrients vary depending on ingredients and brands.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to fuel your body properly in the morning so that it runs smoothly all day. Try it for a week and notice the difference in your moods, your energy, your hunger, and maybe even your scale.
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