- Strive for the 4 / 8 "winning combination":
Today Show dietitian Joy Bauer suggests aiming for the 4 / 8 winning combination: that's 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of filling protein. Protein does not have to mean eggs. It could be Greek yogurt, a serving of nuts, nut butter or even a lean meat like turkey or Canadian bacon!
- Pack your breakfast with ENERGY:
Just the act of eating breakfast alone supplies the body with fuel by replenishing glycogen levels after an evening’s rest. Breakfast can offer an additional increase in energy levels from good carbohydrate sources like whole grains! Spread peanut butter on whole wheat toast, or enjoy steel cut oats. A whole grain, fiber loaded cereal such as Fiber One is a great option as well.
- Don’t forget your fruit:
Make sure to include fruit with every breakfast. Fruits are excellent sources of fiber and essential vitamins, and low in calories! An entire cup of blackberries comes in at around 63 calories, 7.5 grams of fiber, and adds a lot of nutritional value to a meal.
- Vegetables can be for breakfast:
Vegetables are very low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals, so eat up! Add vegetables to an egg white scramble or serve with toast. Not only do vegetables add essential vitamins and minerals to your meal, but fill value as well! Adding a cup of spinach to your egg white scramble only adds 10-15 additional calories but makes your plate of food so much larger. Eat up!
- Quick and On-The-Go does not have to mean unhealthy:
Smoothies can be ready in a matter of minutes! Add protein powder or my favorite, PB2 to your fruit smoothie for added protein. A smoothie combines all the breakfast essentials for a quick and balanced meal. Just watch your portion sizes, because those large smoothies can add on the calories very quickly.
Quick Breakfast Ideas
Looking for some winning breakfast ideas that won't break the bank or your waistline? All of these ideas here meet the 4 / 8 winning combo and weigh in at around 300 calories or less.
- Overnight Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Banana Oatmeal:
In 5 minutes or less, you can prep this quick, healthy and delicious chocolate and cinnamon oatmeal! With the addition of banana, it's almost like you're eating dessert for breakfast. This bowl of oats has 300 calories, 10 grams of protein and 8.5 grams of fiber. It's loaded with all sorts of heart healthy ingredients so eat up! Find the recipe here.
- Open face PB and Fruit Waffles:
Take 2 whole grain waffles (I like Kashi 7 Grain) and spread with 2 tsp sunbutter (or your favorite nut butter). Top each half with fruit. I like to do 1 waffle with 1/2 cup sliced strawberries and 1 with 1/4 of a banana. Sprinkle the top with 1 t of chia seeds. This breakfast comes in at around 285 calories, 8 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
- Egg, Spinach and Cheese Sandwich:
This one is super simple. Scramble up 2 egg whites with cup spinach leaves and melt 1 slice of thin sliced cheddar cheese on top (I like Kraft). While that's working, toast a whole wheat bagel thin (like Thomas) and once the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, combine into a sandwich. Wrap up in a piece of foil and you have breakfast on the go for 185 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber. To up the fiber in this on-the-go breakfast, grab an apple on your way out the door. You'll boost the nutrient value of this meal and consume an additional 60 calories, 3 grams of fiber and .3 grams of protein making this meal the perfect match for the 4 / 8 winning combination.
- Salsa and Veggie Scramble:
Who loves eggs but is short on time for the clean up after? This 2 minute scramble can be made in your coffee mug and be eaten on the go! Take your coffee mug and spray with cooking spray. Then add 2 egg whites, 1 egg and a tablespoon of salsa. If you have leftover veggies from dinner, throw those in as well. I like leftover zucchini and peppers, even broccoli or spinach. Try and add 1/2 cup. Mix well and microwave for 1.5-2 minutes. You have a filling and healthy breakfast made in less than 2 minutes. This breakfast doesn't quite meet our 4 / 8 winning combination, but it's still super good for you. With the vegetables, this meal will weigh in around 130 calories, 1 gram of fiber and 15 grams of protein. To up the fiber, eat with toast or fruit!
Learn to Love Breakfast!
Not everybody is a breakfast eater and that's okay. Here are a few tips to slowly integrate breakfast into your morning routine. Before you know it, you'll be a breakfast fanatic!
I'm going to take a wild guess and assume you, like me drinks coffee. If you aren't a breakfast eater, make sure you're adding milk (non-fat, low-fat, or soy) to your coffee. This will provide you with a small dose of calories and a little bit of protein to help start your day. Once you get used to that, pick a quick and easy item that has protein in it and start snacking on that in the morning. This could be a piece of string cheese or a 1/4 cup of almonds. Once you get used to doing that, grab a piece of fruit and start eating that. Before you know it, you've gotten your body used to eating a balanced and healthful breakfast! From here the options are endless and you can try any of the suggestions I've made above.