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Breakfast Ideas for a Buck

Healthy breakfast choices that are easy on your wallet.
By
WebMD Expert Column

What makes a healthy breakfast? Some carbohydrates (preferably from whole grains, fruit, and vegetables) plus protein and a little smart fat – and maybe a little fiber to help stave off hunger till lunchtime.

The good news is that there's no reason to skip this important meal -- even if you're financially challenged. I've rounded up 10 healthy breakfast ideas that will cost you about $1 each (less, in some cases).

In case a fast food chain is on your way to work, I've included five of the more healthful breakfast options, along with five quick and healthful breakfast options you can make at home.

Fast Food Breakfast Ideas for About a Buck

I found cheap and healthy breakfast ideas at McDonald's, Burger King, and Jack in the Box.

  1. McDonald's Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait: $1 (from dollar menu)
    160 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 gram trans, 4 grams protein, 5 mg cholesterol, 85 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber
  2. McDonald's Sausage Burrito: $1 (from dollar menu)
    300 calories, 16 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, .5 gram trans, 12 grams protein, 130 mg cholesterol, 830 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber
  3. Burger King Ham Omelet Sandwich: $1.08
    290 calories, 13 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans, 13 grams protein, 85 mg cholesterol, 870 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber
  4. Burger King French Toast Sticks, 3 piece: $1.08
    240 calories, 13 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans, 4 grams protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber
  5. Jack in the Box Breakfast Jack: $1.07
    290 calories, 13 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans, 16 g protein, 219 mg sodium, 757 mg sodium, 1 gram fiber

5 Cheap and Healthy Homemade Breakfast Ideas

Here are four easily assembled breakfasts, plus one breakfast recipe, none of which will cost you much more than a buck. 

1. Mixed Berry Satisfying Instant Oatmeal
Start with Quaker Take Heart Blueberry Flavor. It has less sugar and more fiber than other instant oatmeals. Each serving also has 130 mg of heart-healthy plant omega-3 fatty acids, thanks to some added flaxseed. Make the oatmeal in the microwave (follow instructions on box) with 2/3 cup low-fat milk instead of water (this adds protein, calcium, and vitamin D). Sprinkle 1/3 cup chopped strawberries or frozen raspberries over the top and you’ve got breakfast.

Here's the price tally:

1 Box Take Heart Blueberry Instant Oatmeal (8 packets per box at $3): 37 cents

2/3 cup low-fat milk (1/2-gallon at $1.89): 16 cents

1/3 cup chopped fresh or frozen strawberries/raspberries (2.5 cups per 12 oz bag at $3):40 cents

Total: $.93 

2. High-Fiber Breakfast Bagel
Start with a toasted 100% whole-wheat bagel or English muffin. Make an egg patty using a brand of eggs higher in omega-3s, plus 2 tablespoons egg substitute or 1 egg white. Whisk egg and egg substitute or egg whites together while heating a small nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat bottom of pan with canola cooking spray, then pour in the egg mixture. Add a cover to the saucepan (this will cause the egg to puff up and cook on both sides.) Top the bottom bagel with the egg patty. Top the hot egg patty with a slice of reduced fat cheddar cheese (Top with the top half of the bagel and enjoy.

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