If you’re not used to eating in the morning, relax: Breakfast is easier to prepare than any other meal. There’s no need to dig out the mixing bowl, griddle, and skillet for pancakes, waffles, or bacon. In fact, the simpler you keep breakfast, the more likely you’ll be to eat the best kinds of foods, such as raw fruit and whole grain cereals. How do you start?
Put eating first. Try to have breakfast shortly after getting out of bed. That way, you’ll eat before you remember that you have to take out the trash, walk the dog, pay bills, or do any other distracting tasks that can gobble up your time.
Carve out moments to munch. You may be rushing out the door without grabbing a bite more out of a frantic need to beat the clock than from a misguided desire to avoid calories. The best bet for making sure you have time to eat? Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, then be sure to go to bed at least 15 minutes earlier at night. If possible, try to get up before the rest of the family: It’s easier to make sure you feed yourself when you don’t have to deal with kids who drag their feet, live-in parents who need care, spouses, or others who may demand your time and attention.
Pack it in. If you find it’s impossible to work in a sit-down breakfast before you barrel out the door, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of foods that are perfect for stuffing in a bag or briefcase.
Redefine breakfast. Some people say they just don’t like breakfast. In many cases, what they really mean is that they don’t like traditional breakfast foods — but who says breakfast has to be eggs, toast, or cereal? As long as your body gets a mix of protein and carbohydrate, it doesn’t matter what you eat. Here are examples of unconventional breakfasts that are just as nutritious, balanced, and low in calories as cereal and milk.
- A grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich — a favorite of Elvis (but make the bread whole grain)
- Reheated cheese, vegetable, or mushroom pizza — perfect Monday or Tuesday morning fare for sports fans who indulged during a weekend game
- A turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce
- An egg salad sandwich on a whole grain English muffin — like fast food but with healthier carbs and less fat
Prepare in the P.M. Mornings are a mad rush? Understood. That’s still no reason to totally skip breakfast, though. The trick is to start preparing early — even the night before. To help yourself out, try any of these evening approaches.
- If you have a coffeemaker with a timer, remember to fill it and set it for the desired time. Otherwise, just fill the machine in the evening so all you have to do in the morning is turn it on.
- Hard-boil eggs and put them in the refrigerator.
- Set out plates, bowls, flatware, and nonperishable foods such as cereal and muffins so they’re ready when you are.
- Do chores that you normally save until morning, such as putting out the trash, making bag lunches, or emptying the dishwasher. (This may have the added advantage of keeping you from snacking at night.)
- Cut up fruit that you can spoon into a bowl with your cereal for an instant breakfast.
- Slice bagels in half and store them in an airtight plastic bag.