From fighting colds to preventing weight gain to boosting mood, a nutritious breakfast is linked to many health benefits for kids and adults. But how do you find the time to squeeze in a healthy breakfast during the busy morning rush? We asked Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a Cleveland Clinic dietitian and coach of our Go! Foods for You online program, for her favorite fast and easy breakfast ideas. Try these healthy and delicious recipes for a better morning routine.
1. Whole-Grain Breakfast Burrito
Preparation: Cook egg whites, egg substitute or the occasional whole egg with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and low-fat cheese. Warm a whole-grain tortilla on the stovetop or in a microwave and place the egg mixture into the tortilla. Roll up burrito-style and enjoy!
Health Benefits: This meal provides a great source of protein, whole grains (which are great for providing long-lasting energy, reducing belly fat and maintaining steady energy levels), heart-healthy fats (which reduce inflammation in the body) and a serving of vegetables (which provide vitamins A and C, dietary fiber and selenium from the mushrooms).
2. Mini Breakfast Pizzas
Preparation: Cut a 100 percent whole-grain English muffin in half and spread a small amount of low-sugar tomato sauce on each half. Top with a small amount of low-fat mozzarella and your favorite veggies. Cook under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese and toast the English muffin.
Health Benefits: This meal provides whole grains for maintaining stable blood sugar and energy levels, lycopene from the tomato sauce, vitamins and minerals from the veggies, and protein and calcium from the cheese.
3. Whole-Grain French Toast
Preparation: Add 1 tablespoon each of vanilla and cinnamon to egg substitute and mix. Dip slices of 100 percent whole-grain bread into the mixture. Cook on medium heat in a nonstick pan. Serve topped with fresh berries and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Health Benefits: This meal provides B vitamins from the whole-grain bread (which stabilize energy and blood sugar levels) and protein from the egg substitute and Greek yogurt (which also provides calcium). Plus, the cinnamon may help improve blood sugar levels.
4. Nutty Crock-Pot® Quinoa
Try this recipe when you know you just won’t have time to cook in the morning. It’s a great time-saver because you make it the night before.
1 cup quinoa (look for the prewashed variety)
2 cups water
1 apple, cored and sliced into quarters
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon/pinch nutmeg
1 tablespoon agave nectar
½ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries
Preparation: Put the rinsed quinoa, water, apple slices and spices in the Crock-Pot® on low before bed and cook overnight. Serve with additional cinnamon and low-fat milk, almond milk or soy milk.
Health Benefits: The quinoa is a great source of protein, and it’s gluten-free. The spices may improve blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation. The walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids for heart health and improved mood, and cranberries provide a healthy dose of vitamin C and are good for urinary health.
5. Warm Chocolate-Banana Mocha
This is a great grab-and-go breakfast—and one of my favorites!
1 package no-sugar-added chocolate instant breakfast mix
8 ounces unsweetened soy or almond milk, or nonfat milk
8 ounces black coffee
Makes 2 (8-ounce) servings
Preparation: Blend breakfast mix, banana and milk together in a blender. Pour hot coffee into a microwave-safe glass and add blended mixture to the coffee. Microwave on high for one minute or until hot. Pour into your to-go mug or enjoy at home!
Health Benefits: The instant breakfast is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and B vitamins. Banana provides potassium, and the coffee adds warmth and a little jolt of caffeine to get you started. Delicious!
6. Mediterranean Morning Delight
Preparation: Place 1 cup Greek yogurt in a bowl. Add thinly sliced apples, toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey.
Health Benefits: A Mediterranean diet promotes overall health and reduces the risk of several major chronic conditions, including obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt provides protein and calcium, the toasted nuts provide healthy fats, and the apples are a good source of quercetin, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, apples are a good source of dietary fiber, which may help promote cardiovascular health. Switch up the fruits according to what’s in season. To gain the most benefit, take 15 minutes to sit down and savor the taste of the food as you eat.