I know, I know. You don’t have time to eat, let alone prepare breakfast, right? So you skip breakfast or just have coffee instead, maybe with a muffin or pastry. Is that such a big deal?
Yes. If you want to be lean and healthy, if you want to make the most of your workouts, and if you want to feel vibrant, energetic and less prone to impulsive eating all day long, eating a balanced, nutritious breakfast is fundamental.
So I’m here to help you get over the obstacle that derails most people in their efforts to have a healthy day.
Below are my three favorite breakfasts, each easier than the one before. The first requires about a half hour prep time but yields about 8-12 breakfasts, depending on your appetite, that you can freeze and spread out over a couple of weeks. So it’s well worth the one-time investment of 30 minutes or so. You can do it on the weekend and avoid the workday morning rush.
1. Oatmeal and Crust-less Mini Quiches
I make the best oatmeal, period. I’m going to divulge my magical secrets and then you can share this delight with your family too. It starts with regular (not quick-cook) Quaker Oatmeal. Make a large batch (serving six or more) in a saucepan per the package instructions with 2% fat milk, rather than water which boosts the protein, calcium and vitamin D content and improves the taste and texture.
Drop in some raisins while it cooks. Add a pinch of salt and a little brown sugar (not too sweet, though), and – here’s the secret – a tiny bit of butter. Finish with a little cinnamon. While this is cooking on the stove, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and scramble eight large eggs with a cup of 2% milk, about ½ a cup of defrosted frozen chopped spinach and ¼ cup diced, oil-packed julienne style sun dried tomatoes. Ladle mixture into a Teflon coated12-unit cupcake tin sprayed lightly with Pam or other butter cooking spray.
Leave about a quarter inch at the top of each compartment to allow room for the egg mixture to rise. Bake for 15-20 minutes till golden with a hint of tan on the quiche surface, adding some finely grated cheese in the last few minutes or just after removing from the oven. When cool, remove the quiches with a large spoon, wrap them in foil or a freezable container. Wash and reuse the cupcake tin, spooning the oatmeal into each individual cupcake compartment, cover with foil and place in the freezer.
Once frozen fairly solid (a couple of hours), these can be put into individual snack-sized sealable baggies and replaced into the freezer. Now you have frozen mini-quiches and frozen oatmeal portions that each take about a minute to heat in the microwave and pair to make a healthy, delicious, filling and super-quick breakfast. They can also be grabbed on the way out the door and heated when you get to the office or return from dropping the kids off at school.
2. A bowl of Kashi Go-Lean cereal topped with half a banana and trail mix
3. A small V8, a hard-boiled egg and a Noah’s blueberry bagel
Each of these options is quick (5 min or less) to prepare in the morning and provides at least 15 grams of protein, is a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Most importantly, any of the three will start your day with the right fuel, stabilize your blood sugar and make it easier to eat healthy all day long.
Dan is a nationally certified personal fitness trainer and former continuing education faculty member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. He is the owner and head trainer at Tri Valley Trainer in Pleasanton, which provides personal training, small group fitness and nutrition guidance. He can be reached at Dan@TriValleyTrainer.com