The lazy days of summer have bid us farewell, the school year is officially underway and families are busier than ever. Let the morning chaos begin! With all the craziness of trying to get out of the house on time what’s most likely to be MIA is not your phone, your keys or a library book. Most likely to be missing is a healthy breakfast.
The saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day has been with us for a long time and for good reason, a decent breakfast is critical to our minds and bodies functioning well. We’ve gone the night without nourishment and if we wait until lunch to eat we could easily be going eighteen hours without food. Now chances are that somewhere along the line the rumbling in your tummy or the aching in your head is going to propel you to eat something. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to grab a donut, or perhaps you’ll have thought just a bit ahead and thrown a granola bar into your bag. Something is better than nothing, but better than nothing is not a standard we should be accepting. We deserve more.
What’s that? You say you don’t have time to fix breakfast. I would argue that you do. I would argue that everyone can find five minutes to fix a mobile meal. I would argue that everyone could find 20 minutes to sit down and enjoy breakfast (let’s talk about why you spend every morning searching for lost items, stressing like a caged animal screaming let’s go, let’s go! and I will find you twenty minutes – guaranteed. Maybe even thirty).
For now, let’s agree you and your family members can mange five minutes each to grab a nutritionally sound breakfast. I am sure you’ve heard of the usual suspects, and they’re all with merit. Fruit and yogurt, peanut butter and sliced banana on toast, the ubiquitous smoothie. And there are plenty of single serving options on the market, many quite healthy but all pricey. But I want you to think about these delicious, nutritious, highly portable and economical alternatives. No cooking is involved, at most you’ll have a knife to wash and you won’t even have to tote a container. Remember there is no rule that says we have to eat only “breakfast foods” for breakfast; eggs, toast, and bacon are not the only option.
We can wrap it up! Take a whole wheat tortilla, spread with refried beans, add some salsa or a couple of tomato wedges and maybe a thin slice of cheese or a few slices of avocado; fold to hold and you’re ready to walk and eat. Really any protein source and veggie or fruit combo can be wrapped up in a tortilla; add your favorite low fat condiment for additional flavor and you’re good to go. The only limitation is your imagination. Personally I love a sweet salty combo, ham and pineapples, turkey and apples. I also enjoy a nice smear of hummus and a handful of grated carrot. Yummy and satisfying!
I’m a tortilla fan because they hold up better than bread on the run and keep fillings from spilling. Whole wheat tortillas or whole grain wraps are great sources of fiber and they come in a variety of sizes so you can control portion size easily. Whole grain pita pockets are also good choice but a little more challenging to eat.
Who says you have to eat cereal out of a bowl? Fill a baggie with a high fiber, low sugar cereal; toss in some sliced almonds or any nut of your choice, add a small portion of dried fruit and call it morning trail mix. So easy to eat on the go and even better if you have some low fat milk to wash it down.
Some cereals are more cracker like, think shredded wheat mini-bites (not the frosted kind, choose the real deal 100% whole wheat, no sugar added). They lend themselves well to being paired with diced cheese. Toss the cheese cubes and cereal into a baggie and you are ready to eat on the go. Add an apple or some grapes to complete the meal.
Whether you prefer to start your day with something sweet or savory, you can make these ideas work for you and your family. Neither require you to carry utensils and both are super easy to eat on the run. And they are healthy and economical. Bon appetite!