Your mama wasn’t lying when she told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does starting your day with proper nutrition help you stay focused, but data shows that breakfast eaters tend to consume more important nutrients than breakfast skippers.
However, due to many factors — including our busy lifestyles — many of us are foregoing breakfast. While we love our morning lattes, leaning on our good old cup of coffee to get us through the morning isn’t going to cut it! Thankfully, there are many breakfast options that require little preparation in the AM for those of you who “just don’t have the time.” And, including them in your diet may help you kickstart the morning in a healthy way!
What to Look For in a Healthy Instant Breakfast?
Let’s face it, mornings can be hectic. Many of us don’t have minutes to spare to cook a homemade veggie omelet or a hand-crafted souffle. Because of the time crunch, some people turn to instant breakfast options (that aren’t always the healthiest) to fill their bellies before their day starts. And while the occasional donut or pastry won’t completely derail your health goals, there are some better-for-you options that you can lean on when you want a quick brekfast that is nourishing and satisfying.
Generally speaking, when you are on the hunt for a healthy instant breakfast, your meal choice should:
- Be free of excessive amounts of added sugar
- Contain whole grains versus refined options (if it is a carbohydrate source)
- Contain limited amounts of saturated fat and sodium
- Contain dietary fiber
- Provide vitamins and minerals
- Be made with whole food ingredients
5 Healthy Instant Breakfast Options
If you are ready to start including healthy instant breakfasts in your routine, know that there are many options for you to grab and go on busy mornings.
Here are four satisfying, tasty, healthy, and convenient breakfasts to enjoy when you don’t have time to cook a full meal.
Low-Sugar Instant Oat & Banana Bread Mug Muffin
Despite the bad rap that instant oatmeal has gotten over the years, this type of oatmeal can be a healthy breakfast option. Since instant oatmeal is simply oats that are partially cooked and dehydrated for fast-prep, the main ingredient is incredibly nutrient-dense.
That said, not all instant oats are created equal. The health concerns come into play once manufacturers start adding sugar, artificial flavors, and other unsavory ingredients to the oats. But if you are sticking to a plain instant oatmeal and you are adding your own flavoring ingredients like cinnamon, fresh berries, and nut butter, you will be able to enjoy a cozy bowl of oats in under 2 minutes!
Another instant oat breakfast option that’s healthy and satisfying? This easy-prep microwave banana bread mug muffin. It tastes like a traditional chocolate chip banana bread muffin, except it’s made with oats instead of flour, and sweetened naturally with banana and pure maple syrup!
- 1 egg white
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tsp pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup mashed overripe banana
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup oats
- ½ tbsp ground flax
- 2-3 tbsp dairy-free chocolate chips, optional
- 1 tbsp chopped walnuts, optional
- ⅓ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice
- oil or cooking spray, to coat
Step #1: Grease a large mug or ramekin with oil or cooking spray. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, mash the ripe banana into a paste. Add the non-dairy milk, egg white, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir well to combine.
Step #2: Next, stir in the oats and flaxseed. Then, add the chocolate chips and optional walnuts. Mix well, then add the mixture to your greased mug.
Step #2: Place in the microwave and cook on high for 2 minutes. Continue cooking in 30-second increments until fluffy and fully baked. Serve warm and enjoy!
For the ultimate grab-and-go breakfast, whipping up some egg muffins can allow you to have a protein-packed breakfast in seconds. You can even prep them ahead of time to save you time and stress! Just scramble some eggs, mix in some veggies, and pour the mixture into mini muffin tins. How simple? Then, bake them until they are done, and once they are cool, store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy them. At breakfast time, simply pop them in the microwave until they are warm for a satisfying and protein-packed dish.
Try this yummy veggie egg muffin recipe to get you started, and modify as desired with your favorite ingredients or healthy swaps.
- 12 large eggs
- 3-4 cups baby spinach, loosely chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ cup shredded cheese or dairy-free alternative (optional)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 garlic clove, minced (optional)
- ½ tsp dried basil
- sea salt & black pepper, to taste
Step #1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or lightly grease with oil. Set aside
Step #2: Chop your veggies of choice, then set aside. Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, and spices of choice. Add the chopped veggies to the egg mixture and mix until well combined. Option to stir in cheese if desired.
Step #3: Pour the egg and veggie mixture into the greased muffin tins until ⅔ way full. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Raspberry Protein Chia Pudding
One of the easiest and most nutrient-dense breakfasts out there is chia pudding. And good news, it’s as easy as combining chia seeds with your milk of choice and letting it set in your refrigerator overnight! The result? A delicious breakfast that is ready to be devoured in the morning when your tummy is grumbling, and you have no time to cook.
Try this yummy recipe featuring protein-packed yogurt and antioxidant-rich berries. Not only is it packed with extra protein, but the addition of Greek yogurt makes it extra creamy and satiating! Option to stir in cacao, chocolate chips, or your favorite nut butter — the options are endless.
- ½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, unsweetened
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond or oat milk
- 3 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ cup raspberries, mashed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tbsp almond or cashew butter (optional)
- ½ tbsp cacao powder (optional)
Step #1: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, chia seeds, non–dairy milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and optional cacao and/or nut butter. Mix until well combined and set aside for 5 minutes.
Step #2: In a separate bowl, mash together the raspberries. Add the mashed raspberries to a mason jar or glass. Add the chia pudding mixture, and stir until well combined.
Step #3: Cover and place in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours or more. Once set, enjoy with berries, nuts, fresh fruit, or your other favorite toppings.
Peanut Butter and Banana Toast
Sometimes, the classics are the best choices. Topping a slice of whole grain bread with natural nut butter and sliced bananas makes for a balanced breakfast that has all of the macros that you need to fuel your morning.
Not a banana fan? Swap the fruit topping with berries, kiwis, or any fruit that you like! Or try these 15 other Breakfast Toast Ideas for fast & nutritious morning energy.
And if you want to spice it up with a healthy toast swap, try trading traditional bread for a sweet potato base! Here’s how to make it.
- 1 small sweet potato or yam, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 tbsp creamy nut butter of choice (such as almond or peanut)
- ½ ripe banana, mashed or sliced
- Cinnamon, to sprinkle
- Optional toppings, such as Greek yogurt or fresh berries
Step #1: Slice the sweet potato or yam lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices. Option to peel the potato or leave the peel on.
Step #2: Next, toast the sweet potato slices in the toaster on the highest setting (this may require cooking through for several cycles). Alternatively, bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes.
Step #3: Once cooked through, let the sweet potato cool slightly. Then, spread with almond or peanut butter, and top with banana, cinnamon, and any optional toppings of choice, such as Greek yogurt or berries.
Simple Berry & Green Smoothie
What’s faster (or yummier) than a loaded smoothie or smoothie bowl? This instant breakfast option is not only tasty, but it’s easy to customize and delicious to enjoy. While you can customize this recipe to your liking, here’s a simple healthy recipe that will leave you feeling satisfied every time.
- 1 cup unsweetened almond or non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 cup spinach (fresh or frozen)
- ½ tbsp almond butter
- 1 cup mixed frozen berries
- 1 small frozen banana (or ½ frozen avocado)
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 tbsp chia, flax, or hemp seeds
Step #1: Add all liquid base to a high-speed blender. Then, add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, adjusting any ingredients as needed.
Quick Breakfasts For a Healthy Morning
Skipping breakfast can leave you feeling sluggish mid-morning. But sneaking breakfast into your morning can be hard for people who don’t have enough time to think about putting a meal together. Having some go-to healthy instant breakfast ideas on-hand can be the perfect solution for those too busy to cook mornings.