A nutritionist offers her suggestions for those mornings when you don't even have time for a smoothie.
If you really believed breakfast to be the most important meal of the day, wouldn’t it be easier to resist the snooze button? The morning meal, while crucial certainly, doesn’t always get as much careful thought and attention as a well-planned, balanced dinner. Which means sometimes you just need to grab something—even if that something is a packaged or processed snack you might otherwise try to avoid. Would you probably be better off making oatmeal with fresh fruit or hard-boiling some eggs? Sure. Do mornings always go as planned? No.
“My favorite breakfast ever is smashed avocado on a high-fiber English muffin or bread with a fried egg on top,” says registered dietitian Jennifer Bowers, PhD. Drool-worthy, right? But even if you don't have the time to smash some avo, you can apply the wisdom of the perfect homemade breakfast to your store-bought picks.
Here's how Bowers suggests doing it: Avoid simple sugars where you can, and focus on fiber and protein. "I need my breakfast to sustain me for at least a few hours, possibly up to five, so fiber and protein are the keys," she says. In general, a bang-for-your-buck breakfast should clock in around 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, she says.
Plan ahead for those mornings where you can barely get yourself out the door, let alone get breakfast on a plate by stocking up on some of these smart picks you can easily order on Amazon.
KIND Blueberry Pecan Bar
“Bars that have high sugar content are simply candy bars with better marketing," Bowers says. She likes the KIND brand for its easy-to-read ingredient list and lower-in-sugar formulations. The blueberry pecan flavor meets her fiber goal at 5 grams but falls a little short on protein, for which she has a tasty fix. "I like a schmear of nut butter on top to boost the protein content."
Artisana Organics Raw Cashew Nut Butter
Speaking of nut butter: We love this single-serve packet for its ultra-simple ingredient list. It contains just one: organic raw cashews. With 6 grams of protein and heart-healthy fats, it’s the perfect grab-and-go topper for your KIND bar.
RXBAR Peanut Butter Protein Bar
"I really like RXBARs for their super-transparent ingredient lists," Bowers says. She’s not kidding: Each RXBAR has its ingredients listed in bold font right on the front of the packaging. We’re big fans of the peanut butter flavor for its 12 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and literally just three ingredients: egg whites, peanuts, and dates.
Blue Diamond On-the-Go Almonds
Nutritionists love to recommend nuts as a midday snack—but they make a tasty breakfast option too. They deliver protein, fiber, and filling fats; you just have to be careful not to overdo it if you’re breakfasting mindlessly. These 100-calorie packs are perfectly portioned to complement the oatmeal and fruit options below.
Quaker Raisin Walnut & Honey Heaven Overnight Oats
If you’re into the overnight oats trend but can’t quite seem to find the time to whip up a batch yourself, you’re in luck. This Quaker cup takes a simple morning meal and makes it even easier. All you have to do is remember to add your favorite milk the night before—and to grab it from the fridge as you dash out the door. Top with almonds to meet your protein goal.
That's it. Apple and Blueberry Fruit Bar
If you’re resorting to a packaged breakfast, says Bowers, "it all comes down to ingredients." Stick to eggs, nuts, whole grains, and fruit, she says, "and you’re good to go." That’s why we love the That’s it. brand. Inside the apple and blueberry flavor you’ll find one apple and 20 blueberries, for 4 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. Enjoy with a side of almonds for more protein and some filling fat.