“We don’t even drink coffee,” says Andrea, trying to explain the foreign concept that is breakfast to her and her husband, Mike. “The only thing I put in my mouth in the morning is toothpaste and maybe some gum,” she says with a laugh. Andrea is a snacker who prefers several small “meals” later in the day. “Once I start eating, I tend to keep eating,” she says. She and Mike have three children (15, 13, and 9) with whom they share a healthy meal at day’s end (kids’ sport activities permitting). But the morning is tough. Andrea is a mighty mouse with chores and getting the kids going, but is not inclined or all that interested in harnessing that morning energy in the kitchen. And while she does like typical breakfast food—pancakes, cereal, bagels—she says the carbs make her feel tired. Mike has been trying to incorporate a third meal in his day over the last six months because he’s “heard it’s healthier,” but he’ll get on a kick with one thing for a few weeks—oatmeal, egg burrito— then burn out, only to return to the land of non-eating.
Way to go for eating as a family at dinner! Start a new tradition by enjoying a healthy breakfast together whenever possible (if weekdays are too hectic, try weekends). For busy weekdays, look to make-ahead options that’ll suit all tastes.
- Make breakfast casseroles and stratas. Assemble the night before, and pop in the fridge. The next morning, let it cook while you get ready for work—a no-fuss, hot meal. To prevent Mike from burning out, you can try a different casserole each week (pecan French toast one week, artichoke and goat cheese the next). Get started with our Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Casserole.
- Snack-like meals appeal to Andrea, so she should try quick and easy, low-calorie options: fresh fruit (cut up ahead of time) with yogurt or an ounce of cheese, granola with milk or yogurt, or an apple with cheddar cheese.
- Boil a batch of eggs. Make hard-cooked eggs by the dozen, and keep them in the fridge unpeeled up to a week for an on-the-go, low-carb protein punch.
- Prep the night before for breakfast on the run. A blended smoothie may separate if stored overnight. But you can place cut fruit and milk or soymilk in the blender, refrigerate overnight, add a few ice cubes in the morning, and blend for a quick smoothie in about 30 seconds. Or make pre-portioned to-go bags of dry cereal to sprinkle into a carton of yogurt, or nuts and cheese breakfast “snacks.”
- Go for high fiber. Many breakfast foods contain lots of sugar, and may trigger you to keep eating. More fiber means more filling, more satiating meals. A handful of nuts, a mini whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter or hummus, whole fruit, or oatmeal can keep you satisfied without weighing you down.