3 Steps to a Healthier On-the-go Breakfast
In between getting dressed, packing lunches and keeping the kids on schedule, mornings can feel chaotic.
While a wholesome morning meal sounds like an impossible task, Mon Health Medical Center Dietitian, Robin Redd, takes the brain work out of a healthy breakfast by offering simple tips that even the busiest of families can enjoy.
“A healthy morning breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Redd. “There are three components to a well-balanced breakfast that will help keep us full and energized throughout the day—grains, protein and fruits/veggies.”
3 Steps to a Healthy On-the-Go Breakfast
Redd says to choose one food from each of the following three food groups to create a quick and easy on-the-go breakfast:
1. Start with a whole grain.
Starting the day with fiber-rich whole grains helps manage hunger and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Redd suggests aiming for a minimum of 5 grams of fiber each morning, which can be derived from two slices of whole wheat bread and a cup of berries.
Examples of travel-friendly whole grains include:
- Dry bite size whole grain cereals (Aim for less than 8 g of sugar per serving when choosing a cereal.)
- Instant oatmeal
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole wheat pita bread
2. Add a fruit and/or vegetable.
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy daily diet, and breakfast is the perfect opportunity to incorporate them, says Redd. They contain disease-fighting vitamins and minerals and help to support a strong immune system.
Examples of travel-friendly fruits and veggies include:
- Pre-cut carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers
3. Choose a low-fat protein.
Morning protein helps to control appetite, kick-start metabolism and support muscle growth. Redd suggests avoiding high-fat choices such as sausage or fatty bacon, and opting for leaner proteins to stay within a healthy calorie range. Aim for a minimum of five grams of protein each morning, she says.
Examples of travel-friendly protein sources include:
- Low-fat yogurt
- Low-fat or skim milk
- Low-fat cream cheese
- Low-fat string cheese
- Peanut butter
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Nuts and seeds
- Soy nuts
Meal ideas for on-the-go
Need some help pairing items? Redd says the following ideas are perfect for busy families stuck in a breakfast rut:
- Frozen whole grain waffles topped with applesauce and a side of low-fat yogurt
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter, topped with banana slices
- Scrambled eggs (even better with veggies mixed in!) stuffed into a whole grain mini pita pocket, topped with low-fat cheese, ketchup or salsa, and an orange on the side
- Instant oatmeal packet with dried cranberries and almonds
- Hard-boiled egg with whole-wheat toast and a piece of fruit
For more information on Mon Health nutrition services, visit our nutrition therapy website.
To learn more about healthy meals and nutrition, visit choosemyplate.gov.