8 Great On-The-Go Breakfasts For Hectic Mornings

by | September 24, 2013 at 10:11 AM | Food

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By Marijke Vroomen Durning, Forbes.com Contributor

For many of us, sitting down to breakfast is something you only do while on vacation. In fact a 2011 survey by the NPD Group found that 31 million Americans, skip breakfast entirely. A full sit-down meal every morning might not always be practical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat a healthy breakfast–even if it is while you’re heading out to start yet another day.

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Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian nutritionist offers eight delicious on-the-go breakfast options that can help you start your day in a healthy (and mobile) way. Unlike convenience store donuts or Danishes at the local coffee shop, these options can help keep you feeling satisfied longer.

1. Breakfast burritos
Crandall’s favorite on-the-go breakfast is the breakfast burrito. “I usually recommend doing a whole wheat tortilla with either egg whites or whole eggs and then you can add a lot of vegetables in there.” The beauty to the burrito is you can add whatever vegetables you prefer and whatever is in season. Crandall’s favorite add-ins are hatched green chilis, which add a lot of flavor but not many calories. Other foods you can add include bell peppers, spinach, or tomatoes. If you want some cheese in your creation, Crandall advises that you stick with the low or no fat options.

No time in the morning to prepare the burrito? No problem! “The nice thing about burritos is you can wrap them in foil and have them prepared for the week,” Crandall says.

2. Smoothies
Smoothies are gaining in popularity because there are so many ways you can make them. Blenders are more than adequate to whip up your breakfast smoothie, so don’t feel you need to go buy yet another kitchen gadget just for these.

“Smoothies are a great option that are portable and are good for specialized diets because you can use milk alternatives,” says Crandall. Smoothies are often made with milk, but for people who are allergic or intolerant to dairy products, milk can be replaced by a dairy substitute, such as soy or almond milk.

Add at least one serving each of fruit and vegetables, and then a protein base such as nuts for the fiber and healthy fat.

3. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt came to the attention of diet conscious North Americans over the past few years. Unlike traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt is strained, which makes it a good protein source. Regular protein sources generally have only 5 grams of protein, Crandall explains, but Greek yogurt has 10 grams on average.

Dress up your yogurt with nuts and berries, and you have a good, healthy, portable breakfast option.

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4. Trail mix
Not just a snack, trail mix is also a great on-the-go breakfast, but Crandall advises that you make your own rather than buying the premade products. “They usually have chocolate chips and those types of things in them,” she says. “I’m not an encourager of that for breakfast because of the added sugar.”

Instead, make your own mix using a whole grain cereal and freeze dried fruit. Crandall suggests adding some dry roasted edamame for more flavor.

5. Thin breakfast sandwiches
Sandwiches have come a long way from the school lunch box. Thin breakfast sandwiches are a great way to eat a filling and nutritious meal. Fillings can range from peanut butter and banana to hard boiled egg and tomato slices, and just about anything you like.

6. Muffin-sized quiche
Planning ahead can provide you with some very tasty breakfast options like crustless quiche made in muffin tins. Mix some chopped vegetables into an egg substitute or egg whites and pour this into muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 or 30 minutes and you have your ready-to-go breakfast.

7. Muffins
As with the quiche, you can make muffins ahead of time and have them ready as you go out the door. It may be tempting to buy the ready-made muffins at your local coffee shop or corner store, but while that can be ok to do once in a while, Crandall advises against making that a regular habit. “At home you can control the nutrition you’re putting in your baking mix,” she says. “So you can use smart swaps or replacements.” If your recipe calls for oil or butter, you can switch this for applesauce, for example. “Smart substitutions lower calorie count and boosts up nutrition,” Crandall adds.

Other suggestions: add more vegetables or fruit, depending on the type of muffin, and use whole wheat flour instead of white flour.

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8. Oatmeal
It might be hard to consider oatmeal as an on-the-go meal, but if you prepare the oats ahead of time, it’s a contender. Many people now use their slow cookers to make the oatmeal so it’s ready when they wake. “Overnight oats is something that is very popular,” Crandall says. “This time of year it’s great to add either some pumpkin seasoning to it or fresh pumpkin. You can also add sliced apples with cinnamon and nutmeg, some chia seeds or almonds on top of it to bring in some rich flavors without the extra calories.”

The ideal breakfast would allow for sitting down and enjoying your food, but this just isn’t possible for so many of us. At least with these on-the-go options, you can still get your nutritional requirements while getting on with the business of starting your day.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.