Contrary to the popular vote, breakfast is my favourite meal of the day! I love the quote that “sleep is like a time machine to breakfast.” I literally fall asleep dreaming about what I’m going to have for breakfast, which varies slightly day-to-day but usually involves my fave flavour combo of peanut butter, banana and coconut. Although I’m never happy to hear my alarm go off in the morning, knowing that it’s time for breakfast makes it a little bit easier to get out of bed.
However, I get that many people consider breakfast to be their least favourite meal of the day, and often do not eat it. Whether they aren’t hungry that early, don’t have the time, or don’t like breakfast food, there are many excuses that prevent people from eating what’s arguably the most important meal of the day. Why is this meal so important? As it’s name suggests, it does “break the fast” that occurs over night, kick-starting our metabolism and lessening the load on our liver to feed our cells with glucose. It also provides essential nutrients, stabilizes blood sugar, improves concentration, reduces cravings and prevents overeating at lunch.
So for the mom who spends the morning getting her kids ready for school, the commuter who leaves the house at 6am, the student who would rather sleep in than make food, or anyone else who doesn’t regularly consume breakfast due to lack of time, what’s the solution? Preparing nutritious, well-balanced breakfasts ahead of time that can be eaten on-the-go or easily transported. Here are a few of my favourites!
Overnight oats are becoming a huge craze since it is the perfect meal when you’re short on time in the morning or want to transport your breakfast. The recipe is so versatile- you only need 2 ingredients; the rest can be changed according to your taste preferences, hunger, and nutrient needs. Oats are a great source of soluble fibre, meaning they keep us satiated for longer, help stabilize our blood sugar, bulk up our stool, and lowers cholesterol. With various mix-ins, the fibre, protein, healthy fat, and mineral content can be significantly boosted to create a nutritionally, well-balanced breakfast.
What you need: a container or mason jar, large flake or rolled oats, milk or milk alternative (soy, coconut, rice, nut, hemp milk)
- 1/3 cup oats
- 2/3 cup milk (less if you like it thicker, more if you like it thinner; note: the more you add in, the thicker it will be)
For added fibre: 1 tbsp ground flax seed or psyllium husk, chopped fruit
For added protein: 1 tbsp hemp hearts, handful of nuts or seeds, scoop of protein powder, few tbsp of Greek yogurt
For added healthy fats: 1 tbsp chia seeds, natural nut butter, unsweetened coconut flakes
For added flavour without sugar: cinnamon, vanilla extract, cacao powder, cacao nibs
Combine all ingredients in a container, stir and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, the oats will have soaked up the liquid and are ready to eat!
If you don’t like the consistency of overnight oats, baked oatmeal may be a great alternative. It is like eating a crispy on the outside, moist on the inside oatmeal cookie! Batch cooking this recipe means ready to go breakfasts for the week. The recipe is also very versatile, and you can top the final product with yogurt, fruit or nut butter for additional flavour and nutrition.
What you need: skillet or casserole dish
- 2 cups large flake oats
- 1 ¼ cup milk of choice
- 1/3 pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- ½ cup natural nut butter
- Recommended additions: 1 tbsp chia, flax or hemp seeds; 1 tsp vanilla extract; cinnamon to taste
Check out this chocolate-raspberry-pistachio flavour!
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray dish with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, pour into dish, bake for about 40 minutes or until top of oatmeal is golden and crispy. Once cooled, pre-portion into containers to quickly grab on your way to work in the morning.
Smoothies are definitely life savers for those days that you have to eat while commuting. They are a great way to get all your food groups in, especially if you’re a picky eater and not the biggest fan of fruits and vegetables. It is important to note that smoothies can contain a lot of sugar, causing a quick rise in blood sugar, which is not ideal in the morning. Choosing the right ingredients can prevent this and ensure you are kept full for a few hours.
What you need: blender/Magic Bullet, travel cup, straw
Try to choose at least one ingredient from each category to ensure a well-balanced breakfast:
- Fruit: frozen fruits tend to give a better consistency. Try banana, berries, cherries, mango, pineapple, peaches
- Vegetables: leafy greens (spinach, romaine, kale), zucchini, cauliflower, beets, butternut squash, and sweet potato are a few of my favourites because you either can’t taste them or their flavours complement the other ingredients well
- Fluid: water, milk/milk alternative. Try to avoid juice
- Protein: plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, silken/soft tofu (I swear you don’t taste it!), nut butter, nuts, hemp hearts, protein powder
- Healthy fats: avocado, flax seed, chia seeds, coconut flakes, coconut oil
Suggested combos: peanut butter-banana-oat; ginger-beet-berry; mango-avocado-coconut; green (kale, avocado, green apple, zucchini)
Time-saving tip: put all ingredients (besides fluid) in a freezer bag and store in freezer, so that morning prep just involves blending everything up.
Wraps are a great vessel for holding lots of nutritional goodness. They are easy to throw together and transport well (if tightly wrapped or held together with a toothpick).
What you need: whole wheat or high-fibre wrap (love the La Tortilleria brand)
- Natural nut butter, banana, hemp hearts, coconut
- Ricotta cheese, raspberries, pistachios, cacao nibs
- Greek yogurt, berries, chia seeds
- Hard boiled egg, sliced turkey, cheddar cheese, spinach
- Sweet potato, black beans, avocado, baby tomatoes
- Smoked salmon, cucumber, feta cheese, fresh dill
Note: these may get soggy if prepared the night before. Alternatively, prepare ingredients that need to be cooked, chopped, or washed the night before, and simply wrap in the morning.
A nutritious way to eat dessert for breakfast! Chia seeds are great source of protein, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. They absorb liquid to gelatinize and form a pudding-like consistency. Similar to overnight oats, this recipe is prepared the night before and ready to eat in the morning.
What you need: container or mason jar, 3 tbsp chia seeds, 1 cup milk/milk alternative
Suggested flavourings: vanilla extract, pure maple syrup, honey, natural nut butter, cacao powder, coconut, cacao nibs, dates, sea salt, cinnamon
Combine all ingredients by mixing with a spoon or blending*. Top with fruit in the morning.
*I prefer it blended for a smoother consistency. Must be blended if adding dates.
Veggie Egg Muffins
These are a great way to sneak some veggies in in the morning, which we usually don’t get. Plus, the protein will keep you satiated for a few hours and avoid a large spike in blood sugar. Another very modifiable recipe- put whatever veggies and flavourings you’d like!
What you need: muffin tin, 6 eggs
- Veggies of choice. Recommended: peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, onions, broccoli
- Optional: top with shredded cheese
- Recommended seasoning: chili flakes, pepper, dill, hot sauce
Combine ingredients in a bowl, pour into muffin tin, bake at 350F for 15-20 mins, until eggs are cooked.
Grab 1 or 2 in the morning. Combine with piece of whole grain toast and a fruit for a complete breakfast.
So, next time you’re running out the door without eating and then feel famished by 11am, think about including these on-the-go breakfast ideas into your morning routine, and start your day with optimal nutrition!
Comment below if you have other favourite on-the-go breakfast recipes, I’d love to hear them!