We’ve all heard that skipping breakfast is never a good idea, but how many of us still do it?
I know I used to be guilty of committing this crime against healthy eating for a long time, too.
It’s easier to hit the snooze button and stay in bed for those extra few minutes instead of making a gigantic mess in the kitchen hurrying to make breakfast before you’re late.
That’s why I set out to find healthy breakfast ideas that don’t take forever to make. This comprehensive list offers you so many healthy options that you’ll never get bored with the same stale cereal or cardboard waffles again.
I’ve tried and tested all of these recipe ideas so I can attest to how easy they are to make.
But before I jump into the good stuff, I want to share some compelling reasons about why you should not skip breakfast if living healthier is your goal.
Benefits of Eating Breakfast
The whole idea behind breakfast is to literally break your fast. Your body has been resting for several hours while you’ve been sleeping and your metabolism needs a jumpstart to wake up and start working.
When you skip breakfast, your body runs on fumes.
This lack of fuel can lead to increased risks of coronary heart disease, higher rates of obesity, decreases in memory functioning, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, just to name a few downsides.
On top of that, if you don’t eat breakfast, you run the risk of becoming “hangry?”
Popularized by the recent Snickers commercials, Urban dictionary describes the term “hangry” as “When you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated, or both.”
Nutritionally speaking, low blood sugar levels and hunger cause us to become easily agitated and cranky – otherwise known as hangry monsters.
Imagine how your co-workers must feel when you walk in to work every day hangry from skipping breakfast.
My guess is it’s not pretty.
Plus, it’s no way to live.
Instead, check out the amazing health benefits that come from eating breakfast every day.
Lower BMI, or body mass index
“Studies have found that although people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have higher body mass index, or BMI,” according to Christy Tangney, Ph.D, professor in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Rush University.
Reduced risk for type 2 diabetes
In a study done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Women who consumed breakfast less than six times per week were at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than women who consumed breakfast daily.”
A study done by Tel Aviv University separated women into two groups; the first group, or “Big Breakfast Group,” consumed as much as 700 calories in the morning, around 500 calories at lunch, and 200 calories at dinner. The second group, “Big Dinner Group,” reversed the calories so that breakfast only consisted of a mere 200 calories.
The results were astonishing.
After 12 weeks, “The women in the big breakfast group lost, on average, 17.8 pounds and 3 inches from their waists,” according to Medical News Today.
And it doesn’t stop there.
Skipping breakfast can also weaken your ability to fight off cravings and temptations for high-fat, high-calorie foods during the rest of the day.
Here’s the rationale behind this one:
“Skipping breakfast makes high calorie food more appealing later in the day because our brain circuits may be primed toward seeking it when fasting,” according to a study completed by Tony Goldstone of Imperial College London.
Next time you decide to skip a meal, remember that your body is going to feel hungrier and will gravitate towards high-calorie foods. Your body will also crave a greater intake of calories to make up for the ones it should have consumed at breakfast.
Skipping breakfast is just a bad idea all around.
But I get it.
Who has time to make breakfast every day?
Once I realized how important breakfast was I decided to find some breakfast hacks to make my life easier.
These are my top breakfast hacks and favorite healthy recipes that will save you time.
If your mornings are chaotic and you find yourself slipping into the old ‘no time for breakfast’ excuse, this next hack is for you.
Prepare a healthy breakfast the night before
By preparing breakfast the night before, you’ll have one less thing to worry about in the morning, leaving you with a perfectly healthy grab-and-go option to start your day off right.
1. Overnight Oats
When it comes to oatmeal, many instant, store-bought packets are loaded with sugars. Sure, the oats were healthy at some point, but by the time all of that sugar is digested, you’ve ruined a perfectly healthy meal.
Instead, opt for old-fashioned oats to pack in the most heart healthy benefits.
I know, I know. I can almost hear the complaints now:
“Oatmeal tastes so bland.”
“Oatmeal never fills me up.”
“Who has time to cook oatmeal in the morning?”
That’s the beauty of overnight oats: you’re using heart healthy, old-fashioned oats, but you’re also saving time by eliminating the cooking process.
That’s right. Making overnight oats involves zero cooking.
All you have to do is mix equal parts of oats and milk in a container and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It’s that easy. If you use mason jars like I do, you can rush out the door and take your overnight oats with you to eat at your desk.
My favorite way to make overnight oats is to use about ½ cup of old-fashioned oats with ½ cup of milk.
Next, I’ll add some healthy toppings to make it more exciting and less bland. My favorite topping of all time is chia seeds. These bad boys are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals in just a small spoonful.
To flavor my oatmeal, I add what I have on hand at the time. Toppings like bananas, berries, almond butter, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, and even protein powder all work great. Be careful with the maple syrup as it has a ton a sugar.
Overnight oats are a wonderful option year round; you can heat them up on chilly winter mornings or have them cold during hot summer months.
The only downside to overnight oats is that you can’t make several batches to keep over the course of the week since they don’t tend to stay well. I usually prepare each batch the night before when I know I have a busy morning the following day.
2. Chia Pudding
Another great way to utilize the nutritional benefits of chia seeds is to create chia pudding the night before. This is the only time you will ever hear me say that eating pudding for breakfast is okay.
Similar to overnight oats, chia pudding can be enjoyed right out of the refrigerator, which is perfect for warm, summer mornings.
You can flavor chia pudding in a variety of different ways so you’ll never have to eat it the same way twice.
The basic recipe combines ¼ cup of chia seeds with a cup of coconut milk and a ½ tablespoon of your favorite sweetener. Healthy sweeteners like honey or agave nectar work best. Then just leave the mixture refrigerated in a jar overnight.
Remember that chia seeds expand in your stomach? During the night, the chia seeds in the mixture actually double in size. The chia seeds and milk combine into a thick gel-like substance similar to the consistency of textured pudding. Chia pudding is both filling and incredibly healthy.
Experiment a little to see which flavor combinations are your favorite.
3. Breakfast Quiche
If eggs are more your thing in the morning, but you don’t have time to cook them, a breakfast quiche is right up your alley.
These breakfast quiches can be made using a pie crust, but those extra calories are totally unnecessary so I prefer skipping them altogether.
Once I finish dinner the night before, I’ll fill a greased pie pan with a mixture of:
- 4 eggs, lightly scrambled
- 2 cups almond milk
- A handful of vegetables
- A sprinkle of low-fat cheese
After you fill your pan, simply bake the quiche at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Making this quiche after dinner not only keeps me busy, but it also prevents late night snacking binges. Plus, I can take care of other things around the house while the quiche cooks.
In the morning, I’ll have a healthy option that takes less than 5 minutes to reheat and packs tons of nutritional benefits.
4. Breakfast Burrito
I can see why breakfast burritos are a popular breakfast choice: they’re portable, filling, and taste pretty darn good.
But store bought varieties tend to be high in sodium, which is never a good way to start your day. That’s why your best bet is making breakfast burritos from scratch at home. Don’t worry, making them is easier than you think.
First, take out all of your ingredients and put them on the counter in front of you. You’ll need eggs, almond milk, low fat cheese, chopped up peppers and onions, whole wheat tortillas, and some salsa. Next, cook up a batch of scrambled eggs by combining the almond milk, eggs, and cheese over low heat.
Once the eggs are done, place them on top of the tortillas and add the peppers, onions, and a little bit of salsa before rolling it up. After I’ve rolled a few of these, I individually wrap them and pop them into a freezer safe Ziploc bag.
You can make a bunch of these at once and have them waiting for you when you’re running out the door every day. Simply heat and enjoy each morning.
5. Yogurt Parfait
Ever stare at the delicious looking yogurt parfaits while you’re waiting in line at Starbucks? I was never really into yogurt, but those Greek yogurt parfaits looked so yummy that I had to investigate further.
Greek yogurt has double the amount of protein as regular yogurt, so it’s a smart breakfast option. However, pre-made parfaits like the ones at Starbucks are swimming in sugars and happen to be fairly expensive.
Save yourself the calories and money by making your own at home. Not only will you cut out the added sugars, but you’ll also save time by not having to wait in a crowded Starbucks line.
My easiest recipe? Layer a cup of Fage’s 0% Greek yogurt with some fresh berries, honey, or granola chunks in a jar. According to Muscle for Life, a cup of this yogurt will run you 120 calories for 23 grams of protein, which is pretty impressive.
There’s a slight caveat to the parfait – go easy on the honey and granola and choose your toppings wisely. Both products can be high in sugar and if you’re not careful you can easily use more than the serving size. Measure out your portions to avoid turning this healthy option into a high-calorie nightmare.
6. Individual Smoothie Packs
Smoothie packs are another great option if you’re too busy in the mornings to make breakfast. I prepare several of these at night by combining fresh fruit and spinach, then I portion out single servings in sandwich size Ziploc baggies.
By morning, all I have to do is add protein powder, ice, yogurt or milk to my blender and then empty the contents of my baggies. I’m good to go in less than five minutes and I have a healthy smoothie to take with me.
My favorite combination has to be my banana almond smoothie. When you’re prepping the smoothie packs at night, chop up a banana, add a spoonful of almond butter, ¾ cup of Greek yogurt, one teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of cinnamon to a Ziploc bag and freeze it. The next day, combine this baggie with 1 ½ cups of almond milk and a spoonful of chia seeds.
Although these are all great options for someone who only has to worry about a single serving of breakfast, I’ve also experimented with family friendly recipes as well. These large batch options come in handy whether you’re feeding multiple mouths or when you want to meal prep on the weekends and avoid the stress of preparing food during the hectic weekday.
All of the following breakfast ideas can be made in large batches.
Use muffin tins as an efficient time saver
I was a little skeptical when I first saw recipes for eggs baked in muffin pans, but after trying it myself, I was hooked.
7. Vegetable Egg Bites
Once your mixture is properly combined, pour a little bit in each of the muffin slots and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. These bite-sized eggs are like having mini omelettes at your fingertips.
You can also freeze the leftovers and reheat them on busy mornings.
8. Ham, Egg, & Avocado Bites
Veggie egg bites are perfect if presentation doesn’t matter, but if you’re throwing a healthy brunch party, choose the ham, egg, and avocado bites instead.
Although they do require a bit of work, the presentation will leave your guests drooling for more.
First, make sure you buy round ham slices that are large enough to fit as your base in the muffin slots. Stuff one slice in each slot to form a cup. Next, add either fresh avocado or guacamole, depending on what you have on hand. Scoop a small spoonful into the center of each of your ham cups. Then crack an egg right into the center of every cup.
After baking these for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, you’ll have a perfectly cooked egg surrounded by a crispy ham slice. Ham is a much better alternative to greasy bacon and it still gives you the sensation of having savory breakfast meat, but with way fewer calories.
As you cut into the “egg muffin,” watch and delight as the creamy avocado surprises your guests. Every time I make this for a party I always kick myself for not making it more often. It’s that good.
If you like your eggs to be more on the hard-boiled side, keep them in the oven just a few minutes longer – 23 minutes tops.
9. Quinoa bites
When your family needs a break from eating eggs, quinoa bites are just the solution.
Although you can mix quinoa with your egg muffin mixtures for a savory breakfast, I prefer a sweeter option similar to oatmeal by mixing apples and bananas.
My favorite recipe from Pumps and Iron needs:
- ½ cup applesauce
- 1 cup mashed bananas
- 1 banana for garnish
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (½ cup dry)
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup of milk
- ¼ cup of honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 apple, peeled and chopped
Nicole over at Pumps and Iron says, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl from the wet ones and then slowly combine the two. Next, add the quinoa mix to the muffin tins and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes.
These quinoa bites are great for vegans and people who prefer to start their day with the sweeter side of breakfast.
Under ten minutes
Look, I get it. These recipes sound great and all, but sometimes you may not even have ten minutes to spare. I’ve been there, too.
So if you’re beyond strapped for time, whip up these three options instead of resorting to a boring slice of toast with a glob of butter.
10. Almond butter toast
For this simply satisfying slice of toast, spread a spoonful of almond butter onto the toast and add a sliced banana on top. Here’s my super healthy trick: add a sprinkle of chia seeds to your almond butter toast so your breakfast fills you up even longer.
The total time to make this is less than five minutes, but it will keep you energized and awake throughout your entire morning.
11. Salmon toast
Another one of my go-to toast options involves smoked salmon. This deviates a bit from the traditional eggs and bacon breakfast, but it’s worth it.
I slice a small piece of smoked salmon and top it off with cucumbers and purple onions. I know that purple onions may not sound appealing to everyone in the morning, but this is easily one of my favorites and I think you’ll agree.
Salmon is loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron, according to the SF Gate.
Just a heads up: this breakfast is on the expensive side thanks to the salmon, but it will definitely be a treat. I know you’ll want to, but don’t eat this for breakfast every day due to the high sodium content in salmon.
If you’re choosing between smoked salmon or bacon, I’d always recommend the salmon, but that doesn’t mean you have a free pass to go overboard. That whole moderation-is-key thing certainly applies here.
12. Avocado and eggs on toast
Lastly, one of my fastest and most-filling breakfasts to make is an avocado, egg, and toast combination. If those breakfasts baked in muffin tins had you interested, but the amount of work involved turned you off, this option is perfect for you.
All you have to do is slice an avocado onto a piece of toast and add a sunny-side up egg on top. This simple recipe is so quick to make and keeps you full for hours. You can even add a slice of ham for a bit more protein.
With all of these breakfast options and my three favorite breakfast hack tips, there’s no excuse to skip what is definitely the most important meal of the day. As you can see, time should not limit you to poor breakfast items like frozen waffles or Pop Tarts.
What are your favorite breakfast meals to cook in a pinch?