Mama always told us to start our day off right with a healthy, satisfying breakfast. To make it until lunch, and hopefully avoid that dreadful ten a.m. slump, you need to eat a meal that includes a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. We all know this, but we often tend to make bad breakfast decisions, or even worse, skip it altogether. Below are five fast, easy, portable breakfasts that will give you an excellent start to your day.
5. Make-Your-Own Yogurt Parfait:The beauty in making your own parfait is that you not only save a ridiculous amount of money, but you can also control the quality and nutrition of the ingredients. As granola can tend to be high in fat and sugar content, I recommend switching to a hearty cereal such as Grape Nuts, or using a low-fat granola (be sure to read the label carefully). Then take a plastic cup (easier for travel) and spoon in alternating layers of fresh fruit (such as berries, peaches, nectarines), cereal and organic yogurt. Aim for about one cup of fruit, one cup of yogurt, and a half cup of cereal per parfait for best results.
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4. Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie: I have recently been reintroduced to the goodness that is a homemade smoothie for breakfast. Combine one cup of nonfat, organic yogurt with one banana, a handful of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries), one scoop of protein powder, a teaspoon of honey, and some ice. Blend until creamy. What is fantastic about making a smoothie at home is that you can customize the ingredients based on your personal preferences for fruit, sugar, size, etc. It is also extremely convenient because you can place all the ingredients in your blender bowl the night before, freeze it, and then just puree the mixture in the morning.
3. Chicken Maxi: Inspired by the Chick-Fil-a's Chick'n Minis, this version doesn't require you to hit a drive-thru. Start with a biscuit (buy them readymade or bake some for dinner the night before and reserve one), heat it in the microwave for 15 seconds, and then simply spread some Smart balance on it and top it with a cooked chicken patty. You can find some delicious chicken and vegetarian-chicken patties in the freezer section at Kroger, HEB and Whole Foods. Read the label to ensure you're choosing a quality product, and then simply microwave it for a minute or two before topping your biscuit. A squeeze of honey on the chicken makes it even better, but a little more sticky.
2. Dressed Up Oatmeal: A packet of instant oatmeal is not particularly appealing, but with a few quick additions, it can be transformed into something much tastier. Start with a packet of original instant oatmeal, but cook it with milk instead of water to increase the creaminess. When it's done, stir in two tablespoons of dried mixed fruit, two tablespoons of chopped walnuts or sliced almonds, one teaspoon ground flax seed, and one teaspoon of agave syrup. I keep a baggie filled with all my dry ingredients next to the oatmeal packet so that I can quickly dump it in without taking too much time.
1. Waffle Sandwich: This sandwich is so filling that I can completely forgo my morning snack. Begin by toasting two whole-grain frozen waffles. Spread one or two tablespoons of peanut butter on one waffle. Top it with a sliced banana. For an extra yummy treat, drizzle the banana with a teaspoon of honey or chocolate sauce before placing the second waffle on top. Satisfying and delicious.