Q: When I just don’t have the time (or motivation) to eat a balanced breakfast at home, what are some healthy options that I can and take to go?
A: Breakfast is an extremely important meal. It sets the stage nutritionally for the day, and eating protein at breakfast has a bigger satiating effect than protein at any other time of day. Here are four easy morning meals that you can make in a flash or the night before, so you can easily grab one and go on your way.
1. Eggs on the Go
Scramble 2 eggs in a large coffee cup, microwave for 45 seconds, stir, and microwave for another 45 seconds. Top with a dollop of salsa and sprinkle with low-fat shredded cheddar cheese. Pair with an apple or a toasted whole grain English muffin.
Why this meal: Eating eggs doesn’t always mean that you have to make a mess in the kitchen. This method eliminates the dirty pans and dishes usually involved in making scrambled eggs since all you need is one coffee cup. Salsa and cheese are my favorite additions to any egg dish, and they provide nutrients like calcium, protein, and beta-carotene.
2. Caffeinated Protein Shake
In a blender, combine 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (add more if you would like a thinner shake), 1 packet of Starbucks Via instant coffee (about 130mg caffeine), 1 1/2 scoops of JavoPro protein powder (80mg caffeine), 3 tablespoons crushed walnuts, and 1/4 cup cottage cheese with live cultures. Blend until smooth.
Why this meal: Smoothies are convenient meals to eat on the go, but who can juggle a cup of coffee and a smoothie at the same time? This combines your coffee and your breakfast in one, providing the coffee flavor and caffeine kick you crave, plus the protein and nutrients your body need since JavaPro contains added vitamins and mineral. Pair this shake with your favorite piece of fruit and you have a great meal on the go.
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3. Breakfast Cereal 2.0
Mix 1 cup 2 percent plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1/2 cup sprouted grain cereal, and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries in a bowl, or place Pyrex container, toss it in your bag, and eat it at work.
Why this meal: Cereal is a convenient option for a fast meal, but its low protein content won’t keep you full. Combining Greek yogurt with a little vanilla protein powder will give you the "magic" 30 grams of protein needed to keep you satiated while also supporting your efforts in the gym. Sprouted grain cereal packs a great crunch without added sugar, and the sprouting process also unlocks greater nutrient uptake from the grains. Bonus: Frozen blueberries will keep this meal cool while you travel to work, while also providing fiber and powerful antioxidants.
4. Almond-Apple Muffins
2 cups almond meal
5 scoops vanilla protein powder
4 whole eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 stick butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon all spice
1 tsp cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in microwave, about 30 seconds on low heat. Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use cup cake liners. Pour mix into muffin tins, making sure not to over-fill, which should make 12 muffins. Bake for 12 minutes, taking care not to overcook as the muffins will become too dry. Makes 6 servings.
Why this meal: Taking a Sunday or Monday night to bake these muffins is time well spent, since you can indulge in these hearty muffins, intensely flavored with apples, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, throughout the week. They are a satisfying, high protein, fiber, and fat alternative to traditional, nutrient-void breakfast muffins, and have a comfort food taste without the calories. Round out this meal with a glass of plain low-fat kefir.