I hope that’s true because I’m counting on a good breakfast to get me through the GRE this morning. If you aren’t familiar what this is, it’s like the SAT or ACT on steroids. It’s a long, standardized test that you have to take if you want to get into grad school.
Breakfast is an important part of every day. I know you’ve heard that from commercials for Cheerios or Wheaties, but for me, breakfast is really a time to get geared up for the day and prepare my mind and body for what I’m planning on doing. When I used to run competitively, I’d have my race-day oatmeal breakfast down to a science; there was something about that brown sugar oatmeal with a huge glass of water on the side that would lead me to believe I was going to be successful.
My breakfast routine has changed a little bit over the years; I went through a phase of sampling a new brand of cereal every time that I went to the store, a passion for all things oatmeal, and a routine of making homemade shakes for myself each morning. No matter what my routine may be during the time, I always try to aim for a healthy, well-rounded breakfast full of protein, fiber, and nutrients to get me through my day.
I figured since I am putting so much emphasis on getting a great breakfast in me before my test this morning, I’d share a few of my breakfast ideas with you!
Greek Yogurt Parfait: Love dessert? How about a breakfast that looks (and tastes) like one? Here’s how to do it: grab some plain Greek Yogurt (or vanilla if you can’t take the plain flavor in the morning) and a bowl, jar, or glass. I like to make it in a clear serving dish so I can see the parfait layers. Scoop a layer of yogurt into the bowl, then a layer of a fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, and bananas work well), then a layer of yogurt, and then sprinkle cereal or granola on top. Some topping/layer suggestions: cheerios, a drizzle of honey, nuts of some kind, granola, fresh fruit, a dollop of jam or jelly, a tablespoon of nut butter (heated slightly or mixed with almond milk to make it a little runny), or anything else! It’s fun to come up with new combinations!
Banana Cake: This might not look or taste like breakfast, but it’s a filling, healthy option! Basically all you’ll need is a banana, some baking powder, a little water, and either chocolate or cinnamon and vanilla. Here’s the recipe!
Overnight Oats: If you’re a lover of all-things-blogging you’re probably already well-accustomed to overnight oats. I LOVE overnight oats, especially in situations when I want to wake up and immediately be greeted by a prepared, wholesome meal. Here’s how to do it: the night before, pour 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup oats into a small bowl/tupperware/jar or other vessel. Add as much of any milk of your choice as you added oats (ex. add 1/2 cup of milk for 1/2 cup oats etc.). Again, this is just your base, so go wild with toppings or add-ins! Some add-in suggestions: nut butter, a little brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, agave, a tiny bit of cocoa powder, fresh fruit, any type of nuts, or a crushed up lara bar or granola bar.
Donuts: Looking for a healthy alternative to packaged or store-bought donuts? I’m here to help you out! I’ve come up with a few donut recipes that are easy, delicious, and are easy to grab on your way out the door if you make them the night before. Here are some flavors I’ve come up with and the links to the recipes: pumpkin donuts, apple pie donuts, and king cake donuts. All recipes are vegan!
Chia Seed Pudding: I recently read an article in Reader’s Digest that stated that chia seeds contain Omega 3’s, fiber, and protein, all making them part of a rounded breakfast or snack! If you’ve never used chia seeds before, you’re in for a treat: these small, black seeds suck up the moisture around them and become the texture of pudding after sitting in the fridge for a few hours. I recommend making chia seed pudding the night before you eat it so that the chia seeds can reach their full potential. When I make the pudding I love to add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of sugar. I also use vanilla almond milk so the pudding obtains a really classic, great flavor.
Banana Pancakes: I used chia seed pudding as layers between the banana pancakes I made. These aren’t just any banana pancakes; rather than being chock-full of flour, the bananas are the star players in this breakfast. I’ve made two flavors: chocolate banana, and vanilla-cinnamon pancakes. Check out this post for the recipe!
Toast: I know you might be saying toast? Really? But I really do love toast for breakfast. Just think of the toasted bread as a vessel; you can really shake up your taste buds by adding an incredible array of toppings to make toast into more than just a dried out piece of bread. Here are some ways to add spunk to a healthy, whole-grain piece of toast: Savory: fry up two egg whites on a skillet and split them between two pieces of toast (add cheese or salsa if desired), or scramble up some tofu with an array of great spices to amp up the protein and keep to a veg-diet. Sweet: spread any nut butter onto a piece of toast then sprinkle with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey or agave, spread a thick layer of Greek Yogurt onto toast and then top with a little bit of fruit preserves (or fresh fruit to make it even healthier), pull an Elvis in the morning and top a piece of toast with bananas, honey, and peanut butter, spread a thin layer of butter on toast and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, or spread a thin layer of cream cheese on toast and then add a layer of jam if that strikes your fancy. The possibilities are endless!
Carrot Cake Muffins: Problem: you really, really want to eat that slice of cake that’s eyeing you from the top shelf in the fridge, but you’re worried about your waistline or the sugar-crash that will come as a result. Solution: my recipe for carrot cake muffins. Decadently topped with a Greek Yogurt “frosting”, it’s the perfect way to treat yourself to breakfast. Protein filled, full of fiber, and packed with fruits and veggies, these muffins will get you off to a great start.
Shake Things Up!: Now that summer is approaching, you might be looking for an alternative from your boring ole oatmeal routine. Here’s a simple recipe for a nutritious shake that will start your day off right! I drank these all summer when I got back from runs and they were awesome for recovery, cooling down, and providing my body with nutrients to get through the day. How to make one: combine 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons nut butter, and 2 teaspoons honey or agave in a blender. Blend until smooth. Drink up the refreshment!
I hope these breakfast ideas get your day off to a great start! Here are some additional recipes from my blog that would be perfect for a healthy breakfast: Frocomochana shakes, Sinless Cinnabons, Pumpkin Cereal Bars, Peanut Butter Pumpkin Parfait, or Cornmeal Porridge. Dig into something new today for breakfast!!
AND, breakfast wouldn’t be complete without a little something to read…check back tomorrow for a list of my favorite blogs that accompany my morning routine!