You know the story.
It’s 7:49 a.m. and you should have been out the door four minutes ago. You couldn’t find your favorite sweater, and then you couldn’t find your keys and now you finally have everything you need but you can pretty much forget about eating breakfast.
Then, one of the following most definitely happens:
- You are hungry and cranky until lunch. You snap unnecessarily at your officemate and, dizzy from hunger, accidentally make four times the photocopies you actually needed.
- Someone brought donuts to work. Starving, you scarf one down, briefly feeling that familiar sugar high, followed by an inevitable sugar low, and then proceed to fall asleep at your desk.
- You grab a greasy fast food breakfast sandwich, which you regret all morning as it churns in your stomach, every uncomfortable belch reminding you to get it together and start eating breakfast at home already.
But making a healthy breakfast in the morning can take more time than most people I know care to spend when they first wake up. Solution: Prep healthy breakfast stuff in advance and eat it on your way out the door in the morning.
These breakfasts require a tiny bit of forethought, but the payoff is that every morning you are set up for breakfast success, which, in my opinion, gives you total license to feel smug about what good decisions you're making.
My favorite grab-n-go breakfasts:
Mason Jar Yogurt Parfaits
I like to make the base of several of these at once.
1. Fill a 6-ounce mason jar with 2 tablespoons blueberries, raspberries, or any other fruit, chopped if necessary (this goes on the bottom), and ½ cup yogurt (I usually use Greek yogurt).
2. Just before leaving in the morning, put a tablespoon or two of granola, nuts, seeds or your favorite cereal on top. Grab a spoon, get out the door and eat on your way to work.
Kale and Tomato Frittata Cups
1. Preheat your oven to 375 and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together 8 eggs, 1 cup milk (any fat percentage is fine), 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes (leave them whole), 2 cups chopped kale (spinach or chard will also work), and 2 cloves of garlic, chopped.
3. Divide the egg mixture between the muffin cups (if you have extra egg mixture, scramble it or make a second batch of frittata cups).
4. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the frittata cups puff up and are cooked through.
5. Store in the fridge and eat throughout the week.
Homemade Breakfast Burritos
It seems weird to freeze scrambled eggs, but I promise you, it works!
1. On Sunday night, beat together a dozen eggs (or use 8 oz crumbled firm tofu) and scramble in a little olive oil or butter until fluffy. Let cool completely.
2. Set up an assembly line of 5 8-inch tortillas (regular, whole wheat, gluten-free, etc), 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, or pepperjack would be my picks -- feel free to skip the cheese if you don’t do dairy), then cooked, cooled eggs (or tofu), 1 can drained black or pinto beans, and the salsa or hot sauce of your choice .
3. To make each burrito, layer the cheese (if using) on the tortilla and top with the eggs (or tofu), beans and salsa. Roll up tightly, tucking in the ends, so you have a tight cylinder.
4. Wrap each rolled burrito in a paper towel and then wrap tightly in foil. Freeze until ready to use.
5. In the morning, take the burrito out of the foil (keep the foil nearby -- you’ll be using it again momentarily) and microwave the burrito in the paper towel, for 2-2 ½ minutes, until cooked through. Wrap it in the foil and eat on your way to work.
* Note: If you don’t have a microwave, skip the paper towel when wrapping up the burritos. When it’s time to cook your burrito, place the foil-only-wrapped burrito in the oven at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes (while you shower, get dressed, etc.). It’ll be hot when you take it out of the oven, so wrap it in a paper towel to protect your hands as you eat it on your way out the door.
Overnight oats is one of the most brilliant breakfasts ever, and requires only that you remember to throw it together the night before. Simply by sitting overnight in the fridge, rolled oats absorb the liquid of your choice (regular or non-dairy milk, yogurt or even water), resulting in a delicious cereal that’s good hot or cold.
1. Combine equal parts rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking oats) and milk, water or yogurt. I like to do this in a mason jar or other to-go, airtight container so I can just grab it on my way out the door the next morning.
2. Stir well in the jar or container, and top with nuts or fruit.
3. Seal the jar and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, the oats can be heated in the microwave, but they’re delicious cold too. Grab a spoon and eat on the way out the door.
Who doesn’t love the idea of a popsicle for breakfast? Even better when they’re healthy, fiber-packed smoothie popsicles!
1. Simply make a large batch of your favorite smoothie (my favorite is this green one: 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, 2 cups regular, soy, almond or coconut milk, 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1 cup frozen mango and 2 bananas. Puree in the blender until smooth).
2. Pour the smoothie into ice pop molds, or regular cups with popsicle sticks or spoons stuck into them.
3. Freeze overnight, until solid.
4. Grab a smoothie pop and a napkin and walk out the door, nourished and smug about how yours is the best and most fun breakfast on the subway.
Do you eat breakfast on the run? What are your favorites?