I’m not a morning person at all. When my alarm goes off, I hit the snooze button at least three times; I have a set getting-ready-for-work routine that I can’t deviate from; and most of my friends know not to try to engage me in conversation before, say, 11 a.m. at the earliest. As part of my morning routine, however (shower, brush teeth, blow dry hair, etc), I always make sure to grab something for breakfast. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times—nutritionists and experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m usually not hungry in the morning, but I’ll force myself to eat something small at work to keep me going until lunchtime.
I know it’s tough trying to squeeze in breakfast every day, so I’ve come up with five tips to help make sure you get something in your stomach (besides coffee) each morning.
1. Think outside the cereal box. Breakfast doesn’t always have to mean scrambled eggs or a bowl of cereal. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a handful of trail mix, a healthy smoothie, even last night’s leftovers (pasta salad, chicken and vegetables) can make a decent start to your morning. You’ve eaten breakfast for dinner before, so why not dinner for breakfast?
2. Prepare for the week ahead on Sundays. When possible, try to prep your breakfast ahead of time, whether it’s making a big batch of smoothies, whipping up extra brunch waffles and freezing them, or portioning out trail mix into individual baggies for you or the kids to take with you. I do this with my lunch, too—I’ll pack up whatever I’ve made into individual containers at night and stack them in the fridge, so each morning I just have to grab one as I’m headed out the door.
3. Pack breakfast in your work bag/kid’s backpack the night before. If you’re bringing something non-perishable like a muffin or a banana, go ahead and put in your bag before you go to bed. (This applies to anything else you might need to take with you the next day, like an umbrella, gym clothes, or work papers. The less you have to think about in the morning, the better.) If it is something perishable that needs to be refrigerated, leave a reminder note on the front door so you’ll be sure to remember before you leave the house.
4. Leave something at work. These days, I bring in an apple from home, then keep a stash of almonds (which is also great for afternoon snacks) in my desk at work so I can have a little protein with my fruit. A jar of peanut butter also works well; leave some crackers in your desk too, and you’ll always have a quick breakfast on hand. Or you could bring in several yogurt containers and keep them in your office fridge (just remember to label them with your name to ward off thieves—there’s one in every office!).
5. Remember, the microwave is your friend. Besides zapping a bowl of oatmeal in minutes, it can also cook eggs and bacon. For scrambled eggs, crack a couple eggs in a microwave-safe bowl, add a bit of salt and whatever seasonings you like, then whisk. Microwave on high for about a minute. For bacon, lay a few slices on a paper-towel-lined plate (both the paper and the plate should be microwave-safe, obviously), then cover with another paper towel. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes. In both cases, you’ll have to play around a bit with the times to adjust to your specific microwave.
Here are nine more fast, healthy breakfast ideas you can eat while on the go. What are your tricks for making sure you or your kids eat breakfast in the morning?
(image: Tom Grill/Iconica/Getty Images)