You know starting the morning with breakfast sets you up for healthy eating all day long, but when the same packet of microwaved oatmeal just isn't cutting it anymore, it may be time to change up your a.m. routine. Here are eight common breakfast ruts we all fall into from time to time and better options to make your first meal of the day more delicious and energizing.|
8 Breakfast Rut Busters
Boring Breakfast #1: Instant Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal
This "healthy" breakfast does only have 130 calories, but is that really enough to keep you going until lunch? Your bowl of oatmeal only has 3 grams of protein, plus it's packed with 12 grams of sugar.
Better Breakfast: Use a slow cooker to prepare unprocessed rolled oats while you sleep and wake up to a warm, delicious breakfast. Include a peeled, diced apple to add fiber and flavor. Top the finished dish with nuts or flaxseed to boost the protein and healthy fats, which will keep you full longer.
Boring Breakfast #2: Chocolate Instant Breakfast Drink
While this grab-and-go "meal" is probably better than nothing, most of the energy it provides comes in the form of 39 grams of sugar! You'll also score 14 grams of protein but there are better ways to get that.
Better Breakfast: Vanilla Pumpkin Protein Shake
For the same number of calories as the bottled drink above, you can quickly whip up this quick and easy protein shake that provides 31 grams of protein and only 11 grams of sugar. Find even more protein shake recipes.
Boring Breakfast #3: Wheat Toast and Jam
There's nothing wrong with this breakfast classic, but this carb-heavy choice won't keep you feeling full for very long.
Better Breakfast: Whole Wheat English Muffin with Peanut Butter and Honey
Adding a tablespoon or two of peanut butter with a touch of honey to a whole-grain bagel or English muffin will provide protein and healthy fat to help you power through your busy morning.
Boring Breakfast #4: Bran Flakes with Skim Milk
The 5 grams of fiber per serving will help keep you full but the flavor isn't likely to inspire you day after day.
Better Breakfast: You can get nearly as much fiber, plus 7 grams of protein in this easy bowl of Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal. You can also boost the protein power of any healthy breakfast cereal by adding a tablespoon or two of chopped nuts.
Boring Breakfast #5: Egg White Omelet
Egg whites pack a powerful protein punch, but most people don't need to skip the cholesterol-containing yolk, which houses most of the vitamins as well as some of the egg's healthy protein. And if you're eating eggs from chickens fed a special diet to boost the egg's Omega-3 content, you'll only benefit from that healthy fat if you eat the yolk.
Better Breakfast: Start your day full of flavor and fun with these Baked Egg Cups that combine lean ham, reduced-fat cheese and egg for a delicious, simple dish. Or enjoy these make-ahead vegetable frittatas for a boost of healthy vitamins in an easy to grab package that you can enjoy cold or warm. Add a slice of whole wheat toast to either dish for some fiber and you'll have a hearty, complete meal that will leave you satisfied for hours.
Boring Breakfast #6: Coffee Shop Blueberry Muffin
A blueberry muffin sounds innocent enough, but you'll be shocked by all the calories, fat and sugar most bakery and packaged muffins contain. You could be looking at a minimum of 350 calories, 12 grams of fat and 29 grams of sugar, none of which will help you stay full for very long.
Better Breakfast: Better Berry Muffins
To enjoy a truly healthy muffin, you'll need to bake it yourself. Make a batch of these Better Berry Muffins on Sunday night and you'll be ready for the week ahead. You can even double the recipe and freeze the extras for the following week. With less than half the calories of a store-bought muffin, you can easily add a boiled egg or string cheese to this for a more complete meal.
Boring Breakfast #7: Energy Bar
If you don't read the labels carefully, you could end up with either more sugar than you bargained for or an excess of sugar alcohols that can upset your stomach. While protein and energy bars are great in a pinch, these highly processed don't make a wonderful breakfast staple day after day.
Better Breakfast: Breakfast Cookies
These healthy breakfast "cookies" combine ingredients like carrots, raisins, walnuts, dried apricots and rolled oats to form tasty, portable breakfast bites and are easy to grab on the way out the door. They are sweetened with only a small amount of honey and include both eggs and nuts for protein. You can add or subtract ingredients to suit your own tastes.
Boring Breakfast #8: Low-Fat Strawberry Yogurt
A typical serving of flavored yogurt offers 5 grams of protein, but that comes bundled with 17 grams of sugar—or more. You're probably not going to make it to lunch without a few tummy rumbles.
Better Breakfast: Greek Yogurt Parfait
Use Greek yogurt to really pack in the protein and get your sweetness from fresh whole strawberries or blueberries. You can top with a small amount of granola for added fiber (just watch the sugar content). Check out our list of the healthiest yogurts you can buy to find a brand that's low in sugar but still big on taste!