April 17, 2014

Why is it that on weekends, we’ll indulge ourselves with a breakfast that spans two meals, but on the weekdays we skimp, forget, and leave ourselves making up for a missed breakfast all day long? It’s typically weekdays where we need that food: those are the work days, the commute days, the get-the-kids-out-to-door-before-your-9:30-meeting-with-the-boss days.

And yet, as I write this, I realize that I forgot to have breakfast today myself! It’s 10a.m., and I was up at 6 a.m. with two babies. I got them changed and did bottles, breakfast, clothes, playtime, and put them down for a nap. I didn’t forget the coffee (thanks, Keurig machine), but breakfast eluded me.

Here’s why: I have nothing pre-made in my fridge. Toasting a slice of bread takes 5 minutes, which somehow seems like too much time. In truth, it takes about 10 times more time than it takes to open up a container in my fridge, spoon something onto a plate, and eat it.

The best thing to make and leave in the fridge for a filling, simple breakfast is a whole grain salad—something tasty with protein, something pre-made so that you don’t have to think. If you want something warming for winter days, pick an overnight slow cooker oatmeal and have it hot and ready for you. Or try a simple mueslix—again, an overnight recipe. The spoonability factor is key to having breakfast instead of excuses (myself included!).

It’s not that we don’t want to eat; it’s that any extra step between food and plate seems like one step too many during the week. Simple sugars that you’ll find in breakfasts like donuts, waffles, and the like won’t really fill you at all—you’ll be hungry two hours later. Nobody wins with a calorie waster like that.

Whole grains are where it at. We’ve compiled these lists of 10 whole-grain breakfasts and 30 whole-grain salads. Have at it!

As an avid fan of pizza-for-breakfast, I see no reason to avoid savory, even spicy breakfast foods. Cracked Wheat Salad with Netarines, Parsley and Pistachios? Bring it on! Summer Pea, Watermelon and Farro Salad? Don’t mind if I do. What a festive way to start the day, with whole grains, nuts, and brightly colored, flavorful fruits.

Today’s side salad makes a terrific breakfast tomorrow. A little advance planning on the weekend can leave you with delicious whole-grain breakfasts all week long.

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