This article is part of the “Meal-Prep Series,” which comprises of 3 articles. Read part 1 and part 2 for more information.

You may be familiar with the saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. While studies show that a large portion of Americans would rather hit snooze than have a meal before heading to work, research suggests that we do otherwise for our health. There is a plethora of benefits to starting the day with a balanced meal, and it actually isn’t that hard. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the major benefits of eating a healthy breakfast before moving onto some of my favorite easy breakfast recipes.

Why breakfast may in fact be the most important meal of the day

Starting your day with breakfast can help with weight management

Perhaps the most appealing benefit of breakfast is that it jumpstarts your metabolism and may help you burn more calories throughout the day. Some studies show that weight loss and weight management are more feasible for individuals who do not skip their morning meal. For example, it was found that those who skip breakfast have a tendency to consume more fat throughout the day and have lower calcium, fiber, fruit and vegetable intake. Additionally, studies have found that people who skip breakfast tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI). BMI is the ratio of a person’s weight to height and is often used as a marker for health.

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Starting your day with breakfast can help with memory and attention in school-aged children

In the morning, our blood sugar is low, and we need to replenish it to help power our brain and muscles. Breakfast for growing children and adolescents is especially important because their metabolic needs are greater than those of adults. Research suggests that children who eat breakfast are better learners and have better concentration, more problem-solving skills and better hand-eye coordination.

Child Eating Breakfast

What makes a healthy breakfast?

Now that we know that breakfast is important, we should acknowledge that not just any breakfast would do. For example, a breakfast built around processed carbohydrates and refined sugar can do more harm than good by providing a burst of energy followed by a subsequent crash. Worse yet, this could lead to increased cravings for more sugary snacks (quick energy) throughout the day.

A balanced breakfast should focus on protein and fiber. First off, protein adds staying power to a meal, which helps keep energy levels steady. Then fiber aids with diet regularity and fullness. By being creative in coming up with different protein and fiber combinations, you can definitely come up with some easy breakfast recipes that are satisfying, nutritious and perfect for those busy mornings. Of course, I’ve included some of my favorite ones below to get you started.

Protein sources include: eggs, low-fat dairy like plain or Greek yogurt

Fiber sources include: whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, oatmeal, low-sugar and whole-grain breakfast cereal

My favorite easy breakfast recipes for busy mornings:

1. Craving Sweet: 5-Ingredient Banana Oat Pancakes

Pancakes get a reputation for being unhealthy. However, it’s actually pretty easy to put a healthy twist on them with the right flour and sweeteners. Instead of using refined white flour, this easy breakfast recipe calls for pancakes made with 100% whole grain oats. Whole grains are a great source of fiber and B vitamins, which help convert food into energy. Refined white flour on the other hand is stripped of its fiber, vitamins and minerals, unless it is fortified. Also, in place of using refined white sugar, whole fresh fruit, which also provides fiber and naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, is used to sweeten this recipe.

Banana Oat Pancakes

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Banana Oat Pancakes

  • Serves: 1
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray

Directions:

  1. First, add all ingredients to a blender and blend until mixture is smooth and uniform.
  2. Then spray nonstick cooking oil spray onto a large skillet and place over medium-high heat.
  3. Pour one-fourth cup of pancake batter at a time to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes or until set. Then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until set.
  4. Repeat with remaining batter.

2. Craving Savory: Loaded Single-Serve Breakfast Skillet

Start your day on a “veggielicious” note with this loaded single-serve breakfast skillet. The best part is that only one pan is required. This means very little clean up, and you don’t even have to share!

Loaded Single-Serve Breakfast Skillet

Recipe: Loaded Single-Serve Breakfast Skillet

  • Serves: 1
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup asparagus, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushroom, diced
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium russet potato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. First, warm oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Then add vegetables with spices and cook until golden brown and cooked.
  2. Move the veggies around with a spatula to make space for two eggs in the skillet. Carefully crack both eggs into the gaps. Finally, place a lid over the pan and turn heat to low. Cook until eggs reach desired doneness.

3. Breakfast for when you hit snooze too long: Fruit, Vegetable and Protein Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to help meet your fruit and vegetables needs for the day. And contrary to belief, they can make a satisfying meal. The key to a nutritious smoothie is using whole fruit and veggies. These allow you to get filling fiber along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Next, the second component you want to add is a protein source. If you choose, this can come completely from whole vegetables, but you can also try a protein powder or your choice of beverage. Dairy milk is a good source of high-quality, complete protein. It’s an easy way to add calcium, potassium and staying power to your on-the-go liquid breakfast.

Fruit, Vegetable and Protein Smoothie

Recipe: Fruit, Vegetable and Protein Smoothie

  • Serves: 1
  • Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula etc.)
  • 2 cups frozen fruit (mango, strawberries, blueberries etc.)
  • 1 cup milk (low-fat dairy milk or non-dairy alternative)
  • Optional: 1 scoop of protein powder

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

4. A make ahead breakfast for grab and go mornings: Customizable Veggie Egg Muffins

This protein-packed, super easy breakfast recipe is sure to help you start you day off on an energized note. You can even hit snooze one extra time with no guilt! Make this recipe at the beginning of the week and enjoy for breakfast three days in a row. The best part is that you can customize it to whatever veggies are currently in season, which is also a great way to save on your grocery bill.

Customizable Vegetable Egg Muffins

Recipe: Customizable Veggie Egg Muffins

  • Serves: 3
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced veggies (bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes etc.)
  • 1 cup chopped leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula etc.)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar etc.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs together with salt and pepper. Then stir in cheese, diced vegetables and chopped leafy greens.
  3. Add egg mixture to muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

5. A recipe that makes itself: Overnight Oats in a Jar

Is there anything better than waking up in the morning with breakfast made and ready to eat? Enter: overnight oats! This breakfast makes itself and requires only five minutes of hands on time. The great part is that it is customizable with endless flavor combinations depending on whatever is in season.

Overnight Oats

Recipe: Overnight Oats

  • Serves: 1
  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Total time: 8 hours and 5 minutes (overnight)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup low-fat dairy milk or non-dairy milk alternative
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup fruit of choice: berries, diced apple etc.

Directions:

  1. First, add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.
  2. Then transfer mixture to a mason jar and place in the fridge overnight.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many possible easy breakfast recipes that are perfect for those busy mornings! With a little bit of creativity and effort, you can be on your way to a healthier you! Whether your focus is weight management or helping the kids stay sharp for a long day at school, these recipes (or healthy ones like them) can make a big, positive impact. Let us know your thoughts or any other suggestions in the comment section below!

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Read more from our “Meal-Prep Series”: