If you’re anything like me, mornings can get a bit hectic and no amount of time seems like enough. Unfortunately, this means that showering and getting ready for the day often takes priority over a good, hearty breakfast. And while you might show up on time, you’re more than likely not showing up at your full capacity. Low energy, brain fog, and lack of efficiency throughout your tasks are a direct result. A good breakfast fuels you for a productive day, providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best!
A good, substantial breakfast (or any meal) in my book will contain 3 things: protein, healthy fat and fiber. These three components are ideal for keeping you full for longer to get you by until your next meal. Most people with busy mornings, however, tend to skimp out on getting adequate protein - resorting to a bowl of cereal, muffin, bagel or fruit to go. Protein is a crucial macronutrient and should not be overlooked at any meal, but especially at breakfast. I’ve compiled a list of quick and easy protein-packed breakfast options that will help fill that gap in your morning and allow you to show up at your best!
PB & Chocolate-Dipped Apple Slices
This one is for all the people with a morning sweet tooth - mix a few tablespoons of natural peanut butter (the liquid-y kind works best!) with a scoop of chocolate protein powder for a protein-packed, chocolatey dip. Slice some apples, and you’re good to go!
Egg “muffins” or hard-boiled eggs
Overnight Oats - mix in a scoop of your favorite protein powder for a boost of protein!
Chia Seed Pudding
Chia Pudding – Overnight Oats Hybrid
- ½ cup dried, plain oats
- 2-3 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 cup liquid (Personally, I think oats made with milk tastes better and depending on the milk, you’ll get some added protein!)
- Sweeteners (I prefer a dash of syrup/honey or mashed banana!)
- Add-ins & toppings (This is personal preference! Think: cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, cacao powder, nuts/seeds, nut butters, berries, banana, fruit puree, etc.)
Greek Yogurt w/ toppings
- Buy a tub of yogurt and separate into mason jars in fridge.
- Chop fruit and store in fridge.
- In the morning, add nut/seed-based granola or loose nuts/seeds on yogurt. Then add some fruit.
Morning Coffee Protein Shake – drink it on-the-go!
- 1 scoop of protein powder (I like vanilla!)
- ½-1 frozen banana
- 1-2 Tbsp. almond butter (or any nut butter)
- 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
- 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
- Dash of cinnamon
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾-1 cup coffee & milk (ratio and type of milk is up to you – add in as much/little liquid as you prefer!)
- ¾ cup ice
Store-Bought, Grab-N-Go - keep these in your car or in your office at work!
- Protein Bars: RX Bars, Perfect Bars, Aloha bars
- Pre-Made Protein Shakes
- Single-Serve Protein Oatmeal Cups (I like this Bob’s Red Mill one)
- Protein Toaster Waffles (Birch Benders has great ingredients!)
- Single-Serve Greek Yogurt (my go-to is Siggi’s!)
Eat This, Not That!
When it comes to meals, I am always trying to find ways to make my life easier. Sometimes I’m way too busy to cook/prepare a meal, and other times I simply don’t feel like it! Convenience foods are my go-to in these times. This does not mean that I am not making a conscious effort to fuel my body with the nutrients that I know it needs. Instead, I like to think of it as giving convenience foods a boost, nutrition-wise.
My goal is always to find convenience foods/meals that are, at the very least, slightly more nutritious than some of the typical convenience foods like chips, crackers, cereal, deli meats and other highly processed foods on the market. A few of the things I try to look for in products are good ingredients, fiber and protein content. I also try to minimize saturated fats, sodium and added sugar where I can. All of that being said, not every product will be perfect! It’s all about making adjustments where you can – small swaps here and there add up! Here are a few of the swaps I recommend when it comes to convenience foods:
Pick one of these swaps and see how you can incorporate it into your busy routine! Personally, I keep nut butters and oats in my office at work and crackers or trail mix in my car. This way, I’m good to go if I don’t even have time for a protein waffle when I’m rushing out the door!
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Written by: Isabel Debnam, a Registered Dietitian supporting the nutritional needs at Synergy Health Club Petaluma and Napa.