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Creating a Better Breakfast

The alarm clock goes off.  You press snooze, again. With the next buzz, you hop out of bed, scramble to get ready, and quickly head out the door.  Then you realize: you did not eat breakfast.

If you are like the 37% of young adults who skip breakfast, you are not alone.1 Whether it is a lack of time, a rushed morning, or not feeling hungry, many people skip breakfast daily.  However, breakfast is a key time to obtain the energy you need to power your day – and I’m not talking about the stimulant “energy” you get from your morning java, but the calorie “energy” that comes from the food you eat.  Breakfast helps you literally “break” the overnight “fast,” which helps kick start your metabolism and power you with fuel for the morning.

The pillars of a healthy breakfast can be summed up fairly quickly in four main points: (1) eat enough, but not too much, (2) nutrient-balance with carbohydrate, protein, and fat (and vegetables, if possible), (3) choose the healthy breakfast foods you actually enjoy eating, and (4) try new food combinations to expand your palate and get a variety of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals each day.

But sometimes eating breakfast is easier said than done…and meeting those 4 pillars is even more of a challenge!  So what can you do to build a better breakfast and meet those four pillars easily?  Here are my 4 tips for how you can build a customized breakfast that’s healthy, delicious, and will get you out the door, quick!

1) Plan Ahead.

If you know you will be having a busy week ahead, choose a half hour on one weekday evening or one weekend day to explore the breakfast options you have available.  Look around your pantry and refrigerator and take an inventory of what you have and what you need to purchase.  Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”  Make the time to plan ahead for breakfast so that it is easier to eat breakfast, especially on those busy mornings. 

2) Bake Breakfast in Advance.

Cook breakfast in advance and reheat it in the morning.  Numerous recipes are circulating the Internet for baked egg muffins and for baked oatmeal cups. The simple way to prep: put the ingredients you like in a muffin tin, bake, refrigerate or freeze, then reheat when you want.  Try eggs with spinach, red pepper, tomatoes, and feta cheese or try steel cut oat muffins with pumpkin puree, pecans, and cinnamon.  The options for flavor and texture combinations are virtually limitless so experiment with your favorite nutrient-balanced ingredients.

Try this Green with Envy Egg White Frittata [], but instead of baking it in a cast iron skillet, combine the ingredients and bake the mixture in a muffin tin for single-serve portions of this savory recipe.  You could do the same with these Fiery Baked Eggs with Red Chard [], too.

3) Build Breakfast in 5 Minutes or Less.

Do you only have five minutes (or less) in the morning?  Don’t worry – there are plenty of options for you!  Here’s a foolproof smoothie guide: add your favorite greens (like BroccoLeaf [] or kale []), 1 cup of your favorite frozen fruit, and 1 scoop of organic whey or your favorite plant-based protein powder to a blender with water and ice.  Blend to a smoothie consistency, then sprinkle in some hemp seeds overtop for a little extra texture.

Or make a yogurt bowl by combining 1 cup of organic plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup of a carbohydrate (like fruit or starchy vegetables), and 2 tablespoons of nuts, nut butter, or seeds.  Trial fun combinations in your yogurt like bananas and peanut butter, pumpkin puree and pumpkin seeds, or strawberries with hemp seeds, cacao, and fresh mint.

4) MYO Grab and Go.

Whole grain or gluten-free cereal, popcorn, popped sorghum, or dried fruit – all can create the foundation to a MYO (make your own) trail mix.  Add to the carbohydrate a source of protein and healthy fat, like nuts or seeds, and if you’d like, round it out with a fun flavor like a sprinkle of cinnamon or ginger.  One of my favorite combos for a MYO trail mix is popcorn with dried cherries, pistachios, and hemp seeds.  Another fantastic combination is whole grain cereal with freeze-dried strawberries, cacao nibs, unsweetened coconut shreds, and a dusting of cinnamon.  Create these combos when you have time and store them in a drawer (at home or at work) for grab-and-go eats.

Overall, these ideas allow you to play in the kitchen and make healthy, delicious combinations for getting out the door fast.  What will you crEATe?  Let me know by sharing with me on Facebook @YESNutritionLLC [].


1. Nicklas, TA, Myers, L, Reger, C, Beech, B, Berenson, GS. Impact of Breakfast Consumption on Nutritional Adequacy of the Diets of Young Adults in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 1998:98(12):1432-1438.

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