Quick and Healthy Breakfasts, Pt 1

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As the old adage tells us, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast does just what the noun entails, it breaks the “fast” we experience during a good night’s sleep. Beyond waking up the digestive tract, breakfast prepares the body for the day ahead and a good breakfast should curb the amount of hunger that could strike later in the morning. Many studies have shown that people who eat breakfast struggle less to maintain a healthy weight because they eat less calories through the day and have more mental agility (perhaps because they’re not hangry).

 

Many of us struggle with meal planning in the first place, opting for a kind bar or a banana with our coffee during the morning commute which will likely be our only sustenance until lunch! Coffee on an empty stomach is a good way to stress out your digestive tract, so I suggest adapting morning rituals that allow you to have a decent breakfast no matter what your time constraints may be.

 

A general rule of thumb that I advise clients is to aim for a breakfast with 20-30g protein within 30-60 minutes of waking up. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, which is why it is “in general”. I also shun most breakfast cereals since they’re usually fairly processed and contain added sugars, plus they rarely contain enough protein even after adding milk. So… how do you go about getting 20-30g of protein at breakfast when you don’t have time to make eggs everyday?

 

oats

Easy. There are three options that I routinely include in my “quick breakfast” regimen, and one of them is overnight oats. “Aren’t oats just like cereal?” You may ask… well, no. They’re minimally processed so still considered a whole grain, are naturally high in fiber and contain no sugar, added or natural. When you make overnight oats, you control what goes in them. So if there’s a day where you want to treat yourself to a sugary, “PB&J” type of breakfast, so be it. But most days, aim for ingredients with no added sugars. You can search Google or Pinterest to find hundreds of ideas for overnight oats!

 

Here is the basic template:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt of choice
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • Pinch salt

 

Experimentation is everything with these oats, some people like their oatmeal thicker, some like it thinner (which means more milk / water is needed). Yogurt and milk add protein here, so it’s important to know the protein content of whatever product you’re using. Here’s a cheat sheet:

 

Nutrition info per 1 cup dairy/alternative

Protein

Fat

Carbs

Calories

Cows milk

8g

8g

12g (0 fiber)

150

Soy milk

7

4

4 (2g fiber)

80

Almond milk

1

2.5

8 (0g fiber)

65

Coconut milk

0

5

7 (0g fiber)

80

Rice milk

1

2.5

23 (0g fiber)

120

You can also increase the protein content of your oats by adding protein powder. A half scoop of most protein powders will be enough, adding about 10-15g, since there’s never any reason to strive for more than 30g of protein in a meal as that is generally the max your body can digest and absorb in one sitting.

 

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For breakfast this week, I made the following concoction (per jar):

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup kefir
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • Small handfull berries and 1/2 banana, sliced, added when ready to eat

 

Nutrition info per jar:

460 calories, 23g protein, 17g fat (2.5g saturated), 58g carbs (18g fiber)

 

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The first jar was pretty thick so I added more soymilk to the others to help thin the consistency. You can also add things like vanilla extract, almond extract, cardamom, nutmeg, etc for more exciting flavors. Overnight oats can be eaten cold, room temperature, or heated in the very vessel you make them in!

 

So if you’re short on time and you like oats, throw some stuff in a jar and set yourself up for a successful day. Stay tuned for more healthy and fast breakfast ideas, plus travel tips as I prepare for my 10-day jaunt to Denver and Las Vegas!

 

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