Are you often on the go for breakfast? With busy schedules and family duties, it is no wonder that more than 1 in 5 American adults report eating fast food for breakfast on any given day. These meals can be high in calories and bad for weight loss. So how can you get a meal that is all of these?
The following five breakfasts are modeled after fast food breakfasts because they are tasty and easy to make. But they are also high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients, and have a reasonable amount of calories. Give them a try!
These meals have about 400 to 500 calories each. And they can help you get more green badges in Lark when you keep your other meals nutritious, balanced, and calorie-controlled, too! Remember to log your meals to get feedback and to get more green badges! And be sure to check with your doctor before trying any new meal plan or diet!
Egg Muffin Breakfast Sandwich
A breakfast sandwich can be a bad way to start the day! A sandwich on a croissant, bagel, or biscuit can have over 500 calories and a day’s worth of saturated fat, not to mention a dose of cancer-causing nitrates from sausage or bacon. This recipe is easy, tasty, and full of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
- 1 egg, cooked
- 1 whole-grain English muffin
- 2 tablespoons of ripe avocado, mashed (about ¼ of a small avocado)
- 1 ounce of low-fat cheese
- (Optional) Tomato slice
- (Optional) Spinach or lettuce leaves
- (Optional) 2 slices of soy bacon or 1 meatless breakfast patty
- Spread the avocado on one of the English muffin halves.
- Place the egg, cheese, avocado, and optional meatless bacon or patty, tomato, and/or spinach on the sandwich.
- Serve it on a plate, or wrap it in foil or put it in a container to freeze or take with you.
- Gluten-free: choose a gluten-free, whole-grain type of bread
- Low-carb: turn your sandwich into a bowl without an English muffin, but adding 3 ounces of cooked chicken or tuna, or 1 link of meatless breakfast sausage.
- Vegan (plant-based): Choose soy bacon or a meatless breakfast patty instead of egg, and use soy or another type of vegan cheese.
- Fun Swaps: You can put your sandwich on a mini whole-wheat bagel, in whole-grain sliced bread, or in a whole-grain wrap. Cottage cheese can swap for the avocado and cheese if you like.
Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a better choice than many others at fast food restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes. But it often comes with add-ons that are high in sugar or fat. Dried fruit, honey, brown sugar, and butter are examples. You can make this oatmeal recipe the night before and take it with you or eat it at home the next morning.
- 3 tablespoons of steel cut oats (or ⅓ cup of regular rolled or quick-cooking oats or 1 packet of regular instant oatmeal)
- ⅓ cup of very hot water
- ½ cup of plain non-fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed, chopped walnuts, or pecan halves
- ½ cup of blueberries or other fruit
- Place the oats in a container.
- Pour the water on the oats and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the yogurt and flaxseed or nuts.
- Top it with the blueberries.
- Cover the oatmeal with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Gluten-free: Just make sure the oats you choose are gluten-free according to their label.
- Low-carb: Use half the amount of steel cut or regular oats, and add 2 tablespoons of dried coconut.
- Vegan (plant-based): use ⅓ cup of silken tofu plus ¼ cup of almond milk instead of yogurt.
- Fun Swaps: Almost any combination of nuts and seeds, plus any type of fruit, can work. Vanilla extract, cinnamon powder, and unsweetened cocoa powder (“baking cocoa”) add flavor without excess calories or sugar. You can always make your oatmeal savory by adding vegetables instead of fruit, and cheese as a topping instead of nuts.
A breakfast burrito can be packed with starchy fried potatoes, a bunch of refined grains from an oversized tortilla, and unhealthy meats. They don’t even always have that much protein! This alternative lets you pick 2 to 4 fillings that are all nutritious. Plus we turned it into a taco to make sure the fillings fit into the smaller size whole-grain tortilla or wrap. You can wrap it in foil to make it portable if you are on the go.
Ingredients and Directions:
Choose 2 to 4 of the following:
- ⅓ cup of cooked sweet potato, diced
- ½ cup of cooked or low-sodium canned black beans
- 1 egg, cooked
- 1 ounce of low-fat shredded cheese
- 1 meatless breakfast patty
- 2 slices of soy bacon
Place them on:
- 1 small soft taco-sized whole-grain tortilla or wrap
Add any additional toppings of your choice:
- Shredded lettuce
- Spinach leaves
- Chopped tomato
- Chopped cilantro
- Diced onion
- Dollop of non-fat yogurt
- Gluten-free: Whole-grain corn taco shells are gluten-free.
- Low-carb: Consider a taco bowl instead of placing your toppings on a wrap.
- Vegan (plant-based): omit the cheese or use a vegan variety.
- Fun Swaps: Leftover ground turkey is another possible filling. You can also use cooked vegetables instead of raw, such as roasted bell pepper strips. And pico de gallo or salsa can give your taco some zing.
Whole-Grain Waffle Sandwich
This is easy to make, super healthy, and friendly for kids. It sure beats starting your day with a fast food breakfast such as a stack of pancakes with butter and syrup served with bacon and greasy eggs! Just assemble these ingredients!
- ½ cup of liquid egg substitute or 4 egg whites, cooked
- 1 frozen, toasted whole-grain waffle
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter
- ½ cup of peach slices or other fruit
- Gluten-free: use a gluten-free waffle or choose gluten-free bread instead.
- Low-carb: choose a low-carb waffle, or have 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter and have a string cheese stick or 1 ounce of another kind of cheese.
- Vegan (plant-based): have ½ cup of tofu or 1 ounce of soy cheese instead of eggs.
- Fun swaps: whole-grain bread or a whole-grain pancake can work instead of a waffle. You can alternatively mix your peanut butter into 1 packet (⅓ cup dry) of plain oatmeal or oats prepared with water. 1 ounce of low-fat cheese, ½ cup of beans, or ½ cup of non-fat cottage cheese are all great options to swap for eggs if you like.
Hash Browns with Scrambled Eggs
Hash browns are a staple in fast food breakfasts. This version is healthier because it includes zucchini, uses sweet potatoes, and is baked instead of fried. The breakfast is packed with protein if you serve the hash browns with cheesy scrambled eggs. You can make the hash browns the night before and just heat them up at breakfast time.
- 1 medium zucchini, grated
- 1 yam or sweet potato (about 6 ounces or 1 cup), grated
- ½ cup red or white onion, grated
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- Pinch each of paprika and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of whole-wheat flour
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup chopped bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 ounces (½ cup) of low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use cooking spray on a baking sheet.
- Mix the zucchini, yam, onion, spices, flour, and egg white in a bowl.
- Place spoonfuls of batter onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the hash browns set. Set them aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper to the skillet and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until they start to soften.
- Beat the 2 eggs with the milk. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and stir everything together as the eggs cook. Stir in ¼ cup of the cheese.
- Serve the hash browns with the eggs. Top the eggs with the rest of the shredded cheese before serving.
- Gluten-free: use almond meal or oats instead of whole-wheat flour.
- Low-carb: use almond meal instead of whole-wheat flour, and grated or riced cauliflower instead of sweet potato.
- Vegan (plant-based): use almond or soy milk instead of regular, skip the egg white in the hash browns, use 1 cup of firm tofu, pressed, instead of eggs for the scramble, and skip the cheese. Top your eggs with avocado slices or pieces of cashew nuts if desired.
- Fun Swaps: Any combination of vegetables and cheese work well with the eggs. Spinach and feta, tomatoes and mozzarella, and broccoli and swiss cheese all work well.