Almost every new personal training client I see needs to be convinced of the benefits of eating breakfast.
- your body needs energy after a 10-12 hour fast
- eating breakfast reduces mid-morning food cravings
- missing breakfast often leads to over-eating later in the day
- breakfast eaters are more successful at losing weight and maintaining weight loss than non-breakfast eaters
- starting your day with a healthy meal will set the stage for healthy choices the rest of the day
Many complain that they don’t have time to prepare and eat a meal in the morning. Those that do make time for breakfast typically eat toast and jam or cold cereal with milk. Better than nothing, but too much sugar, not enough protein and unlikely to keep them from reaching for coffee cart pastries mid-morning.
Week one’s homework? Eat breakfast every day, incorporating complex carbohydrates (for energy and fiber), lean protein (for muscle building and satiation) and a little, healthy fat (too many benefits to list!).
Here are 5 easy breakfast ideas, listed in order from the least to the most time-consuming. The first two can even be made the night before and eaten while you check your email or during your morning commute. And if you’re really clever, you can do a little of the prep work for 3, 4 and 5 the night before as well.
1. Overnight oats (3 minutes prep, the night before)
Combine 1/3 cup large flake oats, 1/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup water or unsweetened almond milk and 1 Tbsp almond butter in a jar or glass pyrex container. Refrigerate overnight. Microwave 45 s and top with a handful of your favourite fruit, fresh or dried.
2. Fruit and protein smoothie (3 minutes prep, evening or morning)
Place 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 Tbsp ground flax or chia seed and 1 cup water or iced green tea in a blender. Mix. Drink immediately. (Smoothies can also be prepared the night before and refrigerated until morning).
3. Egg and veggie omelette (8 minutes prep)
Chop 1 cup of mixed vegetables (I prefer peppers, mushrooms and onions). Lightly oil a non-stick pan and sauté veggies until soft; about 5 min. Crack two or three eggs into pan and whisk until cooked through. Garnish with fruit of your choice.
**Speed up your morning prep time by cooking veggies the night before. I’ve been known to add leftover roast veggies to my morning omelette.
4. Protein pancakes (8-10 minutes prep)
Combine 1/4 cup commercial pancake mix (I use Coyote Whole Grain), 1 Tbsp each of wheat germ, wheat bran and ground flax seed, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 egg and 1 scoop protein powder. Mix with a fork and add enough water to create a thick, pourable batter. Heat and lightly oil a non-stick pan. Spoon batter into pan (this recipe makes 2 pancakes) and cook until bubbles appear on the surface of cakes. Flip and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Serve with non-fat Greek yogurt and berries. No syrup needed!
**Shave 3-4 minutes off your pancake prep time by making the batter the night before. Make sure to leave it in the fridge overnight.
5. Cooked grains (8-10 minutes prep)
Combine 1/3 cup of your favourite grain (I prefer either large flake/steel cut oats or teff) with 1/3 cup water, non-fat milk or unsweetened almond milk and 2 egg whites. Mix in a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp honey (optional). Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until liquid is almost absorbed. Decorate with your favourite healthy toppings; fresh or dried fruit, nuts, shredded coconut, granola, non-fat yogurt and/or nut butter (but take care; toppings add flavour, but they also add lots of calories!).
**I like to make a big batch of steel cut oats on the weekend and store the leftovers in an air-tight container for quick and easy breakfasts during the week. Just place a 1/2 of cooked oats in a microwave-proof dish, top with a little milk or almond milk, heat and stir. Ready in less than 2 minutes!
Voila! Five easy breakfast ideas, regardless of how busy your morning is!
Now you tell me your favourite quick and easy breakfast recipes? I’d love to add to my morning repertoire!