Cold cereal: Pouring some dry breakfast cereal into a bowl and adding some milk is about as easy as breakfast gets. Most breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which is a good thing, but most of them are also made from refined flour and contain large amounts of added sugar. Choose cereals that are higher in fiber and lower in added sugars. Aim for less than five grams of sugar per serving.
One serving is only about three-forths of a cup, along with one-half cup of milk (preferably low- or non-fat milk). If that's not enough to fill you up, you can round out your breakfast with a slice or two of whole grain toast with peanut butter and a small glass of 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice. The toast and peanut butter will add some fiber, healthy monounsaturated fat, and protein that will keep you feeling full through the morning. The juice adds vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Smoothies: Your blender might become your favorite breakfast kitchen appliance if you like thick and flavorful fruit smoothies. The key to making a breakfast smoothie is using fresh and frozen fruits plus milk, water or juice. Follow these smoothie tips to make a basic fruit smoothie, then experiment with any type of fruit that you'd like. If you want a little extra sweetness, you can add a little honey, a sprinkling of sugar (not too much, though), or a packet of artificial sweetener.
You can boost the nutritional power of your smoothie by adding a bit of flax oil or milled flax seeds and some plain yogurt or peanut butter. The healthy fats and proteins combined with the fiber in the fruit will help keep you feeling full longer. Avoid commercial fruit smoothie mixes that are mostly sugar and artificial flavorings, and resist the temptation to add a couple of scoops of ice cream, which will turn your healthy breakfast smoothie into a high calorie splurge.
Breakfast sandwiches: These are easy to make from scratch and only take a few minutes. Scramble or fry an egg and serve it on 100-percent whole grain toast for a basic sandwich. You can add interest and flavor (and calcium) with a slice of cheese, or add mushrooms, peppers and onions to your scrambled egg (chop them up the night before and keep them in the refrigerator to save time). If you don't like eggs, make a grown-up peanut butter and jelly sandwich with nut butter, 100-percent fruit spread and whole grain bread. Or for something different, try a peanut butter and fruit wrap.
There's really no official rule that requires you to eat only foods with eggs, sugar or cereal for breakfast. A lean turkey sandwich with sprouts and mustard on whole grain bread is a good choice any time of day. Whatever type of sandwich you choose, be sure to use whole grain bread, bagels, wraps or English muffins for extra fiber.
You can also buy ready-made breakfast sandwiches in the freezer section of your grocery store for a quick heat-and-eat breakfast. Some are better for you than others - read the labels to find the sandwiches that are lowest in fat, sodium and calories.
Hot cereal: Just thinking about a bowl of warm oatmeal with cinnamon and your favorite fruit might make you feel all warm and cozy. Oatmeal is easy to make either on the stove or in the microwave oven. You can also use a slow cooker. Flavored oatmeal mixes are also available in grocery stores, but you might not want the added sugars and artificial flavors that come with them.
If you're not a fan of oatmeal, you can eat hot wheat cereal or try quinoa, a delicious and healthy seed that can be served like oatmeal. Whatever hot cereal you choose, boost the nutrition by adding blueberries, strawberries, or cut fruits, along with some chopped nuts like pecans, walnuts or almonds. Serve with milk or 100-percent fruit juice.
Leftovers: So many foods are associated with breakfast, like sweet cereals, eggs, bacon, pancakes, waffles and French toast with gobs of maple syrup. But there's nothing wrong with eating non-breakfast foods instead, like the leftovers you have from dinner the night before. As with any healthy breakfast, be sure to include protein and plenty of fiber to help keep you full until lunch. Heat up a piece of leftover chicken with lots of green beans or other vegetables on the side. Add a slice of whole grain bread and a healthy beverage like water, low-fat milk or 100-percent juice.
Have some simple foods ready for those super-busy mornings when you think you don't have time for breakfast. Grab a couple of your favorites and breakfast is ready in less than one minute.