Breakfast may be known as the most important meal of the day, but it’s also one that millions of Americans do without. The biggest culprit? Time -- or the lack thereof. Our lives get more hectic by the day, and it’s just so easy to bolt out the door without eating.
But when you do that, you risk worse cravings, sagging energy levels, and trouble thinking clearly. You might even up your chances of getting heart disease. Plus, you’ll miss a chance to load up on more of the nutrients you need for good health.
Clearly convenience and the need for speed is the key for many people when it comes to eating their morning meal. So here’s a workweek's worth of portable food pairings that make it easy to rise and dine, at home or away.
Dynamic Duo: Whole-grain Frozen Waffle + Peanut Butter
Waffles aren’t just for maple syrup. You can slather nut butter on toaster-ready frozen waffles to help fuel your commute.
“Whole grains provide fiber, which slows down digestion and prevents large swings in blood sugar to keep your energy levels steady throughout the morning,” says Alissa Rumsey, RD.
Adding whole grains to your breakfast routine can help net you extra birthdays by lowering the risk of death from disease. “Just be sure the waffles you buy list a whole grain like whole wheat flour as the first ingredient,” Rumsey says.
The unsaturated fats in peanut butter do more than make it a heart-healthy spread. They may also earn this breakfast the title of being waistline-friendly by improving blood sugar control and lowering your post-meal appetite.
Power It Up: Turn it into a portable sandwich by topping the nut butter with raspberries and another waffle. To make the meal even more filling, bring along a hard-boiled egg. That added dose of protein can help you feel fuller longer.
Dynamic Duo: Rye Toast + Smoked Salmon
Research shows that eating rye bread for breakfast can curb hunger before and after lunch. Why? It’s rich in super-filling fiber, which keeps you feeling full and eating less. Look for loaves with an ingredient list that starts with whole rye flour or rye meal for even more fiber.
Smoked salmon adds a savory note to breakfast along with hunger-beating protein and mega-healthy omega-3 fats. Getting more of them may also hold off depression.
Power It Up: For added nutrients, mash some avocado onto the rye toast and then top with the salmon. Or slather on some reduced-fat cream cheese.
Dynamic Duo: Kefir + Frozen Cherries
Like yogurt, tangy kefir is made by adding bacteria cultures to milk. That makes it a great source of probiotics, a type of bacteria that can boost your digestive health, Rumsey says. It’s thinner than yogurt, so it makes it a great base for a morning smoothie.
Kefir’s rich in calcium and vitamin D (some brands have added D). As a breakfast food it may also help you burn fat during the day and eat fewer calories overall. Choose plain kefir over flavored, more-sugary options. Toss cherries on top for a sweet kick that pairs hunger-fighting fiber with immune-boosting vitamin A.
Power It Up: Turn this pairing into well-balanced, tasty smoothie by blending with 2 teaspoons of nut butter, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Dynamic Duo: Greek Yogurt + Muesli
Protein like that found in Greek-style yogurt should be a priority nutrient for breakfast. It will keep you feeling fuller longer, hold your blood sugar stable, and may help you eat fewer calories later in the day.
A protein-rich breakfast can boost levels of a brain chemical that blunts cravings for sugary, high-fat foods later on. “Choose one with no more than 15 grams of sugar," Rumsey says.
Kicking off your day with a whole-grain cereal like muesli can help lower your chances of getting high blood pressure. Muesli is a no-cooking-required mixture of oats and other items like nuts. It’s often lower in calories and sugar than its cousin, granola. And the mix of protein and carbs that yogurt and muesli delivers can dull hunger pangs and cravings. Rumsey says a quarter cup is a good serving size.
Power It Up: For a make-and-take power meal, stir Greek yogurt and muesli together with blueberries in a travel-friendly container.
Dynamic Duo: Whole-Grain Tortilla + Hummus
Rev your metabolism with this quick but delicious pairing. Skip the toast and get your grains from whole wheat tortillas. That’ll keep your blood sugar in line. Look for wraps with no more than 150 calories per serving.
Hummus is made from chickpeas. It has both the fiber and plant-based protein to give your portable breakfast staying power. A diet rich in high-fiber beans will keep you satisfied and help you lose weight.
Power It Up: Slather 1/4 cup of hummus on a whole-grain tortilla. Top with 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds and baby spinach for extra nutrient firepower. Roll it up and take it with you as you bolt out the door.