Your metabolism slows overnight to conserve your body’s energy, and for rest and repair. Breakfast is when you break the fast of not eating overnight (yes, that’s really where the name comes from) which is what signals your body to kick start your metabolism again for the day ahead. Without breakfast, your metabolism, and other body systems, will run slower, if at all.
Studies show people who eat breakfast regularly weigh less than those who don’t. Even if weight loss isn’t your goal, breakfast sets the stage for how your body runs the rest of your day: it stabilizes your hormones and blood sugar which controls cravings, allows your brain to focus, and boosts your energy and your mood. Without breakfast, you’ll experience low energy, mood swings and crave carbs uncontrollably all day long even after you consume a healthy meal.
Despite all the benefits, some people struggle to eat breakfast. Some people claim breakfast upsets their stomachs, especially if they’re morning exercisers, they just plain aren’t hungry or they have no time to prepare anything. If you aren’t hungry, that’s a sign your metabolism really isn’t working, so eat anyway. If your stomach gets upset, eat something small and easy on the stomach, like a smoothie or yogurt, to try to train it to love breakfast. After a few days you’ll notice you’ll begin to crave breakfast, which is what you want. You want your metabolism to scream, “Feed me so I can get to work!” instead of “Leave me alone, I’ll wake up when I’m good and ready.”
There’s no excuse not to eat breakfast, especially with these 10 on the go breakfast ideas. They’re so easy and so yummy, you’ll never have to skip the most important meal of the day again.
1. Overnight Oats
It doesn’t get more grab and go than this: The night before, combine 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 cup rolled oats, 1/2 a banana (mashed), 1/4 cup chopped nuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon in a sealed Tupperware container or mason jar. By morning, you’ll have delicious, creamy overnight oats ready to eat! Just dig in, or if you are craving something warm, heat it in the microwave for about a minute.
2. Protein Bar
Protein bars are an easy choice that takes no prep, but be sure to read the label carefully before you buy. Some brands have so much sugar they cross over into the candy bar category and can pack over 400 calories per serving. Look for a varieties with 10 to 15 grams of protein, 5 or more grams of fiber, while containing less than 15 grams of sugar. Larabars and Promax are generally good choices and taste great.
3. Hard Boiled Eggs
At 70 calories per egg and five to six grams of protein, 2 hard boiled eggs with a piece of fruit makes an amazingly nutritious and surprisingly filling breakfast. Don’t throw out the yolk: while egg yolks do have a high cholesterol content, most nutritionists agree that in moderation, whole eggs are a perfectly healthy choice. Make a dozen hardboiled eggs and keep them in your fridge for breakfasts all week. To hard boil your egg perfectly every time, place eggs in a single layer in a pot. Fill the pot with water until the eggs are just submerged. Sprinkle with salt—it will help keep the egg coagulated if there happens to be any cracks. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Just as the water begins to boil, turn off the burner and let the pot sit for 11 minutes. Rinse in an ice bath to stop the cooking and wait for them to cool or store in the fridge. Peel ahead to save even more time and mess.
4. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is nutritionally superior to traditional yogurt, with 12 to 20 grams of protein per container and half the sugar. Choose plain, individual cups (the flavored varieties add loads of sugar) and bring a bag of whatever toppings your heart desires: nuts, granola, berries, flax seed and more.
Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go snack any time of day and a great way to cram in all your daily servings of fruit- and even some spinach! (You won’t taste it, I swear). Invest in a travel mug with a straw for easy on the go sipping and get blending. Try a PB and banana smoothie by blending 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup almond milk, and a few ice cubes together, or if you prefer fruity, blend 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1 cup frozen fruit of choice with 1/2 cup coconut water. Consider adding a scoop of your favorite protein powder to really make it a well-rounded breakfast.
But not any muffin will do! Most muffins are glorified donuts, filled with fat, sugar and quick burning carbs that are loaded with calories but leave you hungry 20 minutes later. Homemade muffins are the way to go to avoid processed ingredients. Try banana, zucchini or carrot muffins made with whole wheat flour and applesauce to cut down on sugar.
7. Breakfast Sandwich
There’s a reason fast food breakfasts come in sammie form—it’s more portable and easier to eat on the go. The options here are endless but for a filling, healthy breakfast sandwich, choose a whole grain bread, waffle or English muffin, and fill it with some protein, fat and veggies, like egg with a slice of nitrate-free turkey and sliced tomatoes; or turkey bacon, avocado and fresh spinach. Cheese is ok, but watch your portions.
8. Instant Oatmeal
If you don’t have time to make overnight oats the night before, opt for pouches that are easy to carry with you; some brands also offer a convenient bowl so you just have to add hot water, stir, and you’ve got a protein and fiber filled breakfast that will fuel you all day. Always buy plain oats, since flavored oats are full of sugar and the sugar-free varieties may be filled with chemicals. For more nutrition, add some fruit, buts or a splash of milk.
9. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
This one will fill you up good and fuel you for a long morning ahead. Throw back to your elementary school days and make a good old fashioned peanut butter and banana sandwich. Use whole grain bread or English muffin and just layer with peanut butter, or any other nut butter and sliced banana. If you don’t want the extra slice of bread, eat it open-face, and save about 120 calories.
10. Breakfast Burritos
Breakfast burritos may seem like a lot of work, but they’re simpler when you’ve got leftovers. Buy whole grain tortillas, toss in some scrambled eggs, and let your fridge dictate the rest. Leftover veggies, potatoes and meat make the perfect fillings and ketchup, salsa, and hot sauce will add a little more flavor. Roll up your burrito and eat it on the go, or wrap it in plastic wrap to reheat when you arrive to the gym or the office.