Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The most important meal of the day

Yes, you've heard it before. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It's just plain good for you.  It's gives you energy and jump starts your metabolism, and has been shown to improve concentration, lower cholesterol, and help in weight loss.  But if you're anything like me, it takes every ounce of energy just to get to work on time in the morning, let alone feed yourself something healthy.  I keep a stash of instant oatmeal at my desk, but here are some other ideas for quick and healthy breakfasts to eat on the go or at your desk.
  • Drink it. No, not just coffee.  I did that for years, and now I'm a 27-year-old with chronic heartburn.  A low-fat yogurt smoothie is a great start to the morning; pick them up for around $1 each at the grocery store or make them the night before and grab it before you leave in the morning (try blending plain or flavored yogurt, frozen fruit, and soy milk).  When shopping, keep an eye on the sugar content--you don't want to crash before lunch.
  • Reheat it. Sure, an Eggo may seem boring, but how about with a smear of peanut butter instead of syrup?  I like to heat up two frozen waffles and make a peanut butter sandwich. I also really like those frozen silver dollar pancakes.  Get something in whole grain to make the meal stick, and avoid anything frosted.
  • Make it (just not in the morning).  Last year, we tried out Lifehacker's make-ahead breakfast burritos.  Let me tell you--they're yum. Put your own twist on them for a quick breakfast that you can heat up in the break room.  Eggs and meat give you some nice protein to start the day.
  • Stay dry.  I don't know about you, but I prefer my cereal milk-free.  A box of Honey Bunches of Oats or Special K with red berries in my food drawer at work goes a long way, and also makes for a crunchy afternoon snack, too.
  • Cooler than cool. Many foods are ready to eat out of the fridge, like yogurt or cottage cheese. If you have a fridge available at work, bring in a tub (usually cheaper than individual serving sizes) and scoop some out each morning.  Sprinkle some dry cereal on top for crunch.
  • A la carte. Can't help but stop by the coffee shop in the morning but don't want to fall prey to those sugary scones? Pick one small item (my favorite is biscotti) as a treat to supplement a healthier breakfast item like oatmeal or eggs. 
  • Fruit fix. If you like a sweet breakfast, keep a stash of bananas on hand. They're available just about year-round for pretty cheap, and are a great power food to start your day.  Eat them alone or add them to your oatmeal or yogurt.
Keep in mind that eating breakfast at work is not like a lunch break. I don't start counting my hours until my computer is booted and I'm at least going through emails.  And your typical etiquette for eating at work applies. 

Do you eat breakfast in the mornings? What do you prepare and how long does it take?


  1. breakfast is one of my favorite topics! mine has to be quick and healthy. should take less than 10 minutes to make and/or be able to be reheated quickly.

    I am a fan of a warm breakfast and i eat a healthy breakfast everyday - i have to or i won't make it through the day.

    i've got a bunch of recipes on my blog: spiced apples, quinoa cereal, crustless quiche, smoothies (fruit and green, homemade lara bars, fruit crisp, greek yogurt + fruit, fruity protein pancakes, homemade granola. damn, that's a lot of recipes!

    i've also made those breakfast burritos - with veggie churizo - delicious!

    i love toasted whole grain english muffins with peanut butter or morningstar "sausage" patties. I keep dried mango and raw cashews + almonds in my desk for a healthy recess snack.

  2. I love to keep almonds in my desk as well. They help to stave off the mid-morning and mid-afternoon trips to the kitchen, where there is sure to be some unsatisfying sugary something lying about.

    In the morning, I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt. The protein content keeps me feeling full, and I can eat it during my commute if necessary.

    Thrifty Threads

  3. great post. I feel inspired to start being more intentional about my breakfast. Thanks.

  4. Oh thank you for the breakfast ideas! I usually get stuck in a rut... plain oatmeal with craisins during cool months, yogurt with high fiber cereal during warm months. It gets boring after awhile! Sometimes I'll treat myself to an omelette from the cafe at work, but I'm curious about the Lifehacker recipe... can you please send me the link? Thanks and happy breakfasting! :)

  5. Breakfast is my favorite meal! I love eggs on the weekends, but my work week strategy is oatmeal in baggies. I buy quick oats and measure out servings into baggies, and then fill them with whatever toppings sound good. I usually pack them all on Sundays so I can just grab them on my way to work throughout the week.

    My favorite oatmeal baggies are a Hungry Girl recipe - pumpkin, cinnamon, sugar-free maple syrup and splenda, and I add a little milled flaxseed. Always holds me over until lunch!

  6. I'm definitely a savory breakfast eater, but my weekday morning breakfasts tend to be pretty simple. Usually it's some combination of: a peanut butter and honey on toast (I'm a huge fan of Food for Life's Genesis 1:29 sprouted grain and seed bread); a hard-boiled egg; plain Greek yogurt, sometimes with honey (Fage has the best nonfat version, in my opinion); and fruit (usually a banana and whatever else I have at home).

    Remember the omelets we used to make? Those were epic.

  7. My favorite breakfast is crustless quiche cups, which I reheat at work. I make up a bunch of them with eggs, veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc), turkey bacon and low-fat cheese, then freeze them.

    What brands of yogurt smoothies do you get?

  8. I always bring my breakfast to work, since I usually don't feel hungry until 9:30 or 10:00. Usually it's an all-bran bar and yogurt, or a hard-boiled egg and yogurt. It just has to be portable, easy to eat at my desk, and nothing that squirts juice (i.e. oranges are not desk-friendly) ;)

  9. @ tami - I'll have to check out your recipes--they sound delish!

    @ jamie - greek yogurt is tasty!

    @ melody - thanks!

    @ nicole - I feel ya--I'm totally in a breakfast rut! Just ran out of oatmeal at my desk today so it's definitely time for a change.

    @ racing to thirty- I love your oatmeal in baggies idea! I usually just get the oatmeal packets, but I get sick of them quickly and only like one flavor (apple/cinnamon). I'm going to try this!

    @ derrick - that sounds delish. and yes, those omelets were good. why didn't we make them when we were home?

    @ moni - oo those sound good! Do you make them in muffin tins or something? I usually get the Eating Right brand from Safeway.

    @ amelia - yes, I've definitely experienced many a squirty orange (that's why I keep lysol disinfecting wipes at my desk, too). A hard-boiled egg is a good one!

  10. Never eat it before leaving the house. Do eat it at work by eating a cereal bar or cheez itz. well I take that back. the past month I haven't eaten it because I haven't been at my desk.

  11. Yes, you make them in muffin tins. This ( is a basic recipe, but you can experiment with whatever veggies, meat, cheese or spices you like. I prefer to saute the veggies first so that they don't make the quiches too soggy. Unfortunately, I don't have a Safeway near me. :( I miss it!

  12. @ colleen - I eat at my desk, too. Just so much easier!

    @ moni - those look delish! I will have to try them soon. Thanks for the link!

  13. wow...beautiful blog site i like it.This looks so delicious and satisfying,but i hope peoples are like it.Thanks .. ration MREs meals ready-to-eat , disaster food aid


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