5 Quick Ways to Spice Up Your Breakfasts
Confession: I know that it’s the most important meal of the day, but I am a chronic breakfast-skipper. Part of the problem is that it’s easy to get into a rut of your standard vegan breakfast foods when you’re crunched for time: oatmeal, toast, smoothies, etc. When things start feeling monotonous, it’s hard to make time for breakfast when you’ve got a busy schedule, isn’t it?
They don’t call breakfast “the most important meal of the day” for nothin’! A healthy breakfast powers you through your morning, jump-starts your metabolism, and puts you ahead on nutrients from protein and fiber to vitamin C. In kids, skipping breakfast can actually lead to behavior problems.
If you’re trying to lose weight, skipping breakfast might feel like an easy way to cut back on calories, but research shows that the impacts on your metabolism could negate those calorie savings. Skipping breakfast is actually linked to obesity!
Ready to get your breakfast on? Check out our tips for making those quick breakfast staples a little bit more fun!
1. Mix Up Your Grains
Oatmeal and grits are you standard breakfast grains, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep it that way! Try using other tasty grains like quinoa, amaranth, cous cous, or steel-cut oats for your breakfast instead. These grains can take longer to cook, so don’t save that task for the morning! When you have some time over the weekend or on a weekday evening, cook up a pot of that week’s grain of choice, so you’ll have it ready to heat up quickly in the morning.
Once you have your grains in the fridge, you can heat them in the morning on the stove or in the microwave with all the fun mix-ins you associate with oatmeal:
- soy, almond, or cashew milk
- chopped nuts or seeds
- dried fruit
- fresh fruit
- flax meal or chia seeds
- spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
Need a little more inspiration? Check out Manifest Vegan’s super amazing breakfast cereal made from kasha - not to be confused with Kashi!
Next: Get creative with your oatmeal!
Image Credit: Quinoa photo via Thinkstock
2. Get Creative With that Oatmeal
Plain old oatmeal with a little brown sugar is so boring, but those whole grain rolled oats are a healthy source of fiber, protein, and vitamins. Rather than ditch oatmeal – which is so quick to make in the mornings – try mixing up your mix ins instead! Here are some fun combinations that I’ve been digging in my oatmeal:
- Unsweetened applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and almond milk – tastes like apple pie!
- Sliced peaches, soy milk, ginger, and crushed toasted cashews
- Peanut butter, maple syrup, and sliced bananas – I call this my Elvis Oatmeal
- Dried cherries, chia seeds, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and brown sugar
Once you start playing with fun combinations of nuts, fruits, spices, and even different sweeteners, oatmeal goes from dull to delicious! You can also use this technique with the different breakfast grains on the previous page to add even more pizazz to your morning meal.
Here’s an oatmeal recipe to get you started: Easy Pumpkin Oatmeal.
Next: Make on the go eating delicious!
Image Credit: Photo by Becky Striepe
3. Make On-the-Go Delicious
If your morning schedule is so tight that you really only have time to grab something to eat in the car or on the train, that doesn’t mean you have to skip breakfast! A little bit of planning on a slow weeknight or over the weekend can make quick breakfasts easy as can be! Try some of these ideas:
- Make to-go meals. Pack a container with a whole grain English muffin or bagel, some nut butter, and sliced fruit.
- Make-ahead smoothies. You can make a big batch of smoothies, and they will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Just pour them into individual Mason jars, and you can sip on the run.
- Fruit and nuts. Cut up yummy fresh fruit and put into a partitioned container with toasted nuts.
- Chia pudding. In a Mason jar, mix up 1 cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, and a teaspoon of maple syrup to make a pudding that you can grab on the go. You can create a few of these grab-and-go jars – the pudding will keep for a week in the fridge.
Whipping up a batch of homemade granola bars or energy bars is another easy way to stock your kitchen for hectic mornings. Check out these chocolate cherry energy bites from Oh She Glows. They’re raw, filling, and perfect for a busy morning!
Next: Spice up those smoothies!
Image Credit: Sliced Fruit photo via Thinkstock
4. Spice Up those Smoothies
Smoothies are super quick to throw together in the morning. Toss a banana, a handful of frozen fruit, and a few ice cubes in the blender, top with enough vegan milk to cover, and in a few minutes you have a healthy breakfast! You can even toss some greens in there, like a handful of spinach or a leaf or two of kale (ribs removed!) to give yourself a boost of raw greens to start your day.
Even smoothies can get a little bit boring after a while, so here are some ways to keep that morning smoothie fresh:
- Mix and match fruits. Strawberry-banana is delicious, but try using other fruit like frozen mango, cherries, raspberries, and pineapple for different tastes.
- Add a little protein. Put a couple of tablespoons of flax meal or chia seeds or even your favorite nut butter to make your smoothies more filling. They also add a nice, nutty taste, which keeps things fun!
- Go chocolate! Next time you have the smoothie blues, put a tablespoon of fair trade cocoa powder in the blender.
- Get spicy. Spices like ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg add a little oomph and some extra micronutrients, too!
Ready to get blending? Try Mile High Healthy’s strawberry ginger smoothie to kick things off!
Next: Fun with toast
Image Credit: Smoothie photo by Becky Striepe
5. Fun with Toast
You don’t have to have boring old toast with jam! Try different nut butters, preserves, even sliced, fresh fruit to make your morning toast something you look forward to. Here are a few toast combinations that I like in the morning:
- Cashew butter + banana
- Tahini + sliced, fresh strawberries
- Peanut butter + apple butter
- Almond butter + cinnamon + thinly-sliced apple
If you like a more savory breakfast, toast is your friend! Try some of these ideas:
- Hummus or your favorite bean spread with a big slice of tomato
- Spread avocado onto your toast with a knife, top with salt and pepper, tomato, sliced onion, and capers
- Parsley walnut pesto topped with baby spinach
- Make a to-go breakfast sandwich with pan-fried tofu, fresh veggies, and avocado
What are some of your favorite, quick breakfast ideas? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!
Image Credit: Toast photo via Thinkstock