Think back to your usual morning. After getting up and finishing your hygiene procedures, you still have plenty of things to do: scroll your Facebook feed, check your inbox… Okay, no kidding this time! One of the essential morning routines is having a meal. Though, it's really tough to find time and prepare a healthy breakfast when you need to rush to a meeting or morning catch-up with your team.
That's why almost every fourth person skips breakfast regularly. Still, your morning rituals, including having a meal, determines how energized, productive, and focused you can be throughout the day. So what can you do if you’re too low on time to prepare a decent breakfast? Dive in to discover healthy and delicious alternatives to breakfast!
Your body and brain rely on glucose, which comes to us with carbs: it's literally your fuel that allows you to move and perform cognitive tasks. Your body also stores glycogen — a storage form of glucose present in muscles and the liver. In the morning, your body lacks glycogen, and if you don’t give it some carbs, it will start burning down fatty acids, which will make you sluggish and exhausted. However, when you don't eat for a long time (for example, when sleeping), the body starts breaking down glycogen as a backup energy source and turns it into glucose.
Fasting right after getting up can increase your risk of getting heart disease, decrease your memory effectiveness, and make you less productive. In turn, eating in the morning can help you stand out among your colleagues. Dietitians claim that by getting your early meal, you boost your concentration, alertness, and memory.
In addition, did you ever notice that when you're hungry, your mood drastically decreases, making you easily irritable? When you're low on glucose, your body produces more cortisol and adrenaline to raise your blood sugar levels. These hormones can make you more aggressive and lower your self-control. Thus, by getting your carbs in the morning, you can elevate your mood and ensure that your mood wouldn't disrupt your productivity.
Since your morning meal defines the quality of your energy, you should pay attention to the foods and nutrients you're getting. Processed foods, simple carbs, and saturated fats can make you sleepy and tired even before the workday starts. Your body digests these kinds of food too quickly, causing intense hunger before lunch. What's more, if you tend to eat sugary foods in the morning, remember that they cause blood sugar spikes, decreasing your energy and brain productivity.
Protein is essential for your body to have sustainable, long-lasting energy throughout the day. At the same time, fiber-rich carbs will keep you full without causing blood sugar spikes. This kind of carbs also supports your effective digestion and provides you with helpful micronutrients.
Healthy fats, in turn, will help you avoid metabolic syndrome and increase your mood for the day ahead. So to keep your energy high and stay on top of your performance, reach for proteins, fiber-rich carbs, and healthy fats when having a morning meal or snack.
Still, what if you don't have time to prepare meals or measure how many healthy nutrients your meal includes? Then we have an outstanding solution to fuel you in the morning and save your time for more essential things: grab a quick snack to rocket your productivity and energy. Take a look at the selection of healthy and filling snacks that you can serve in just a few minutes.
1. Guacamole and veggie chips
If you're looking for a filling snack recipe that contains all three must-have nutrients, then try guacamole and veggie chips. Guacamole, due to the avocado content, is rich in healthy fats and micronutrients. You can add some chia seeds to your guac to infuse it with a plant-based protein — a handful of these seeds has 4,1 grams of it.
Organic veggies chips, in turn, are a great source of fiber and complex carbs to keep your hunger pangs in check. Prefer pressed chips option from such veggies as kale, carrot, or beet to make your snack even healthier.
2. Dark chocolate and banana
You can get this morning snack in minutes. Still, it packs a big punch! Banana is a well-known source of vitamins and minerals like potassium and vitamin C. It’s also a filling fruit, rich in carbs and containing fiber. In turn, dark chocolate has a powerful antioxidant effect on your body, stronger than green tea.
Plus, it contains flavonoids — chemicals that promote heart health, lower your risks of getting cancer, and reduce inflammation. In addition, dark chocolate is a great mood booster, so if you get up on the wrong side of the bed, it may enlighten your day.
3. No-bake oatmeal energy balls
Here's another fantastic breakfast alternative that will supply you with long-term energy and all necessary nutrients. Oatmeals serve as the main ingredients for these energy balls, containing much fiber and micronutrients. Mix them with shredded coconut, peanut butter, honey, and ground flaxseed, put in the fridge for a few hours, and then roll this mix into small balls.
Coconut and flaxseed will make this snack even more fiber- and protein-rich, while peanut butter supplies you with healthy fats. Pre-make these energy balls in the evening and store them for a week in your fridge, getting some to-go every morning.
4. Nori wraps with brown rice
This delicious and quick snacking option is fantastic for powering up your body in the morning. Just make sure you've pre-made some brown rice in advance. It's way healthier than white rice, containing more fiber and helping you reduce high cholesterol levels.
Put a few teaspoons of rice on a one square-shaped nori sheet; then, you can use cucumber, avocado, and tuna as healthy toppings. Avocado and tuna will deliver healthy fats, while cucumber will make this snack juicier. Plus, you can use avocado mayo as a spread and toss in some chia or sesame seeds for more micronutrients.
5. Overnight chia pudding with honey
There's one perfectly balanced snack rich in three essential nutrients that don’t need long preparations. Meet overnight chia pudding, probably, most convenient snack option to have a quick meal in the morning! Chia seeds are extremely rich in fiber and contain plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids, healthy for your heart and blood vessels.
Mix them with dairy-free milk — you can choose almond or coconut milk to infuse this snack with a higher dose of protein. The perfect ratio will be half a cup of milk for two tbsp of chia seeds. Leave this mix in the fridge for the night for it to turn into a creamy pudding texture. In addition, use honey to sweeten your pudding and toss in a few berries to decorate it.
6. Nuts and seeds mix
Protein and healthy fat-rich, delicious filling: it's all about nuts nixes! It’s a pretty convenient snack choice when you’re on the go and want to fuel your brain and body. You can easily carry them in your bag and have a quick snacking minute whenever you are.
Squash seeds, peanuts, pistachios, and almonds contain the highest doses of protein, giving you high-quality energy. At the same time, nuts have healthy fats that lower your bad cholesterol level and strengthen your heart. Plus, both nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, assisting your digestion. Still, be careful and don't eat too much of them because nuts are high in calories.
7. Whole-grain crackers with hummus
If you're out of time in the morning, this morning snack will help you stay energized until lunch. Just grab a pack of whole-grain crackers, available in any local store, or cook some on a lazy Sunday evening if you're in the mood for baking. Such crackers are a good source of fiber and complex carbs that keep hunger at bay.
At the same time, hummus is rich in protein and healthy plant-based fats — you can also buy it at any store, preferring the most protein-rich options. Put them in your bag and eat on the go if you're extremely busy. Still, we recommend you to spend a few minutes eating this snack in your kitchen or dining room to enjoy the moment of delish.
8. Mini wraps with boiled chicken and veggies
Another incredible morning snack option you can prepare in a few minutes is mini wraps. Reach for a whole-grain tortilla to get more fiber, and choose a greek yogurt as a protein-rich dip. Meanwhile, boiled chicken, that's the best protein food ever, will help you stay full and don't think about unhealthy snacks before lunch.
You can also add some chopped avocados to get healthy fats and greens to infuse these wraps with micronutrients. Safely keep them in a freezer for up to a month, and reheat them in a microwave when you don't have time for cooking.
9. Broccoli with greek yogurt
Even if you're not so fond of broccoli, we've learned a great way to cook it and make it highly delicious! This curly vegetable is bursting with fiber - one cup of raw broccoli has 5 grams of fiber.
Just put raw broccoli in a micro oven, add some olive oil for healthy fats, and heat for a few minutes. Then use low-fat Greek yogurt as a topping to get your morning protein dose. If you want to discover more protein-rich foods, then check our top-5 list and how to get more protein with your diet.
10. No-bake granola bars
Look no more for a quick and healthy snack option because it's here — no-bake granola bars are what you need. Perfect for grabbing anytime, easy to cook, convenient to store: granola bars will give you sustainable energy and boost your health. You can make them from oats (for the praised fiber) and select nuts to get more plant-based fats.
Add some chia, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds to receive tons of micronutrients. Finally, honey or maple syrup will help stick all the ingredients together and add sweetness to your quick snack. Then you can always carry a filling and healthy bite in your bag!
11. Whole-wheat toast with avocado spread
Get your toast fixed with a healthy twist. Avocado is an extremely nutritious food with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Using whole-wheat bread, you can cut the fat content in half and keep your toast under 200 calories! With this healthy whole-wheat toast topped with avocado spread, you'll have enough energy to make it through the day.
12. Cherry tomatoes & mozzarella bites
Tomatoes and mozzarella are a match made in heaven, but why stop there? These bite-sized portions of cherry tomatoes and mozzarella are the perfect quick morning snack. They are always a hit, and now you have a healthy option that is easy to serve! They are great because they are bite-sized, so they will never go to waste. Thread a halved tomato, a basil leaf, a cheese ball, and another halved tomato onto the toothpick. See - easy as pie!
13. Apples & peanut butter
There's nothing quite like the taste of fresh-picked apples, and the same goes for fresh-made peanut butter. When you combine these two simple ingredients, it's a match that will make your tastebuds begging for more. This quick and easy recipe pairs apple slices with chunky peanut butter for a winning combo. Heap on the honey or throw in some cinnamon for a sweet twist.
14. Quinoa berry salad
This is your go-to recipe when you need a quick, healthy morning snack that's also filling. It's as easy as tossing together berries and mango, adding some protein with a scoop of quinoa, and stirring up a tangy dressing. Save this one for days when you're not in the mood for anything too sweet or heavy on the greens. The pops of sweetness and tartness from the honey, lime, and basil can balance out the natural sweetness of the fruit for a satisfying meal.
15. Microwave omelet snack
Looking for a quick & delicious breakfast snack to make in your microwave? The microwave mug omelet is a one-of-a-kind cooking convenience that's perfect for when you need to eat quickly and leave the house. With just 4 minutes of microwaving, you'll have an easy-to-make, light, and fluffy meal. You can add it to your toasts or eat it with veggies - any pair would be fitting.
- Researchers Explore: Can Skipping Breakfast Harm Your Health? (2020)
- Glycogen Metabolism (2002)
- Healthy Buffs: Ask The Expert—Eating Breakfast To Energize Your Mind (2016)
- Banana Nutrition Facts & Health Benefits (2017)
- Is Being ‘Hangry’ Really A Thing ― Or Just An Excuse? (2021)
- 16 Nuts And Seeds High In Protein (2020)
- Nuts And Your Heart: Eating Nuts For Heart Health (2019)
- Top 10 High-Fiber Foods (2019)