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Weight Loss & Diet

Five Make-Ahead Weight Loss Breakfasts for Busy Weekdays

Overnight Strawberry Peanut Butter Oatmeal
Author
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

A healthy breakfast can energize you, fill you up, and keep you on track with your health and weight loss plan. But without planning ahead, busy mornings can lead to eating something higher in calories, sugar, or fat than you need. Frozen toaster pastries or a fast food breakfast sandwich, anyone?

It may be easier than you think to get a healthy and delicious breakfast on the busiest of mornings. One way is to make it the night before. These are five breakfast recipes that you can make the night before and store in the fridge. They can all be portable, too, so you can take them with you if you leave the house early in the morning.

These five breakfasts are listed below.

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 Cups


Egg Muffin Cups

You can make these on the weekend or anytime. Just freeze or refrigerate the extras. Heat them (if desired) when you need them. They are portable. You can make infinite variations of these, so experiment to see what you like best!

These egg muffins have protein and fiber. You can serve them with a healthy carb and/or some healthy fat to make a more balanced breakfast. Any of these are good choices.

  • ½ or 1 whole-grain English muffin
  • 1 to 2 slices of whole-wheat bread (40 to 60 calories per slice)
  • ⅓ cup of cooked whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, or quinoa
  • 1 piece of fruit or ¾ cup of cut fruit or berries
  • ½ cup of cooked sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons of cashew halves, walnut pieces, or almonds

Serves 6 (2 muffins per serving)

Ingredients

Vegetables and Herbs (as Many as You Like – Aim for at Least 1.5 Cups) Protein (1 or 2 Options) Eggs (Select 1 Option)
  • Chopped broccoli florets
  • Grated or diced carrots, onion, or zucchini
  • Chopped fresh basil or cilantro
  • Chopped kale, spinach, or arugula leaves
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Dried spices such as pepper, dried oregano, thyme, sage, or basil
  • Sliced mushrooms
  • 1 ½ cups of drained cooked or drained low-sodium navy, black, garbanzo, or other beans
  • 12 ounces of cooked lean ground turkey or vegetable protein (TVP or TSP)
  • 2 cans of tuna, drained
  • 12 ounces of cooked salmon or other fish
  • 1 ounce of crumbled feta, blue, or goat cheese
  • 1 ounce of shredded mozzarella, cheddar, swiss, or jack cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 eggs and 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups of liquid egg whites
  • 1 cup of liquid egg whites plus 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs plus 1 cup of cottage cheese

Directions

  1. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. In a bowl, mix together your vegetables, herbs, spices, and protein choices. Distribute the mixture evenly between the muffin cups.
  3. You can use the same bowl to beat the eggs, liquid egg whites, and/or cottage cheese together. Then pour the egg mixture into the muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the eggs have set.

Variations

  • Gluten-free: Serve them with gluten-free choices such as fruit, quinoa, yam, or brown rice.
  • Low-carb:  Serve the egg muffin with a low-carb choice such as nuts or slices of avocado.
  • Vegan (plant-based): Instead of eggs, puree in a blender: ¾ cup of tofu, ½ cup of water, and 1 cup of chickpea (garbanzo bean flour).

Overnight Strawberry Peanut Butter Oatmeal


Overnight Strawberry Peanut Butter Oatmeal

This is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but you do not have to wait for lunch time! Just make this oatmeal the night before and take it out of the fridge at breakfast time. Eat it cold or warm it slightly to serve. If you plan to take it on the go, just make it in a container that has a tight-fitting, leak-proof lid.

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • ½ cup of plain non-fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup of skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla
  • ½ cup of sliced strawberries

Directions

  1. Stir the ingredients together in a bowl or container.
  2. Place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Variations

  • Gluten-free: Use gluten-free oats.
  • Low-carb: Reduce the oats to ¼ cup and add 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds.
  • Vegan (plant-based): Use almond milk and vegan yogurt.
  • Fun Swaps: You can use ⅓ cup of steel cut oats or ½ cup of instant oats if you prefer them to rolled oats. Any type of berries or cut fruit works fine, and you can use any type of nuts or seeds instead of peanuts. Other flavor combos to consider are apples or pears and cinnamon, blueberries and walnuts, and peaches with pecans.

Re-energized Breakfast Bowl


Re-energized Breakfast Bowl

Almost any dinner can be repurposed for breakfast. When you are putting away leftovers after dinner, just add some to a bowl or container for your breakfast! This recipe uses tahini-based dressing as described here.

To make tahini dressing, add ¼ cup of tahini (sesame seed paste), ½ cup of yogurt, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 cloves of minced garlic (or ½ teaspoon of garlic powder), and (optional) 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley or mint leaves. 

If you want to assemble the bowl the night before, just leave the dressing out. Then add it the next morning, just before breakfast time.

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of cooked vegetables, such as chopped broccoli or eggplant
  • 3 ounces of cooked salmon
  • ⅓ cup of a cooked whole grain, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, or pasta
  • ¼ of recipe of tahini dressing as described above
  • Optional: 1 ounce of low-fat feta cheese crumbles to sprinkle on top, and/or additional mint or parsley, chopped tomatoes, or sliced red onion.

Directions

  1. Assemble the ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Drizzle the tahini sauce over the ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle the feta cheese or any other desired toppings on the bowl.

Variations

  • Gluten-free: Choose a gluten-free grain such as brown rice or brown rice pasta or quinoa.
  • Low-carb: Swap the grain for 1 ounce of nuts. 
  • Vegan (plant-based): Use soy-based yogurt instead of regular yogurt for the dressing, or increase the tahini to ⅓ cup and use ¼ cup of almond milk instead of yogurt, or use a vegan (plant-based) vinaigrette or olive oil and vinegar. Instead of salmon, try ½ cup of cooked garbanzo beans plus 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed.
  • Fun Swaps: Changing the dressing changes the entire character of the bowl, and you can mix and match the protein and vegetables to fit the character. For example, black beans and roasted bell peppers or zucchini are great with salsa and avocado, or balsamic vinaigrette goes well with cooked green beans and chicken breast. Instead of grain, cooked acorn squash or peas are also good choices.

Apple Pie French Toast Sticks


These French toast sticks only taste like they are sweetened with sugar. They are a family-friendly breakfast (or snack that your kids will love!) that you can make the night before if you prefer. When you serve them with non-fat cottage cheese or plain yogurt, your breakfast has protein, fiber, and calcium.

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  • 1 egg or 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup of skim milk
  • 2 small apples, grated and divided
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, plus another ½ teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon of cloves
  • 6 slices of whole-wheat bread, cut into 3 strips each (or 4 larger slices of bread, cut into 4 to 5 strips each)
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) of chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Beat the egg and combine with the milk, ½ cup of grated apple, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. 
  3. Dip the strips of bread into the egg mixture and submerge them to coat them. Then place them on the cookie sheet. Bake them for 10 to 15 minutes or until the egg sets.
  4. Combine the remaining apple and cinnamon with the walnuts. Distribute the mixture over the French toast sticks and bake for 5 minutes or until the apples are warm.
  5. Let cool then serve.

Variations

  • Gluten-free:  Use gluten-free bread.
  • Low-carb: Turn it into apple pie casserole by skipping the bread, increasing the eggs to 4 (or 8 egg whites), reducing the milk to 2 tablespoons, and mixing all of the ingredients together in a casserole dish to bake them. Bake at 350 degrees until the eggs have set, or about 15 minutes. You can add 2 ounces (½ cup) of shredded low-fat cheddar cheese to the top during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  • Vegan (plant-based): skim the eggs and use ½ cup of almond milk instead of skim milk. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of almond, whole-wheat, or garbanzo bean flour before mixing in the apple and spices.
  • Fun Swaps: Instead of ½ cup of apple, you can use ½ cup of pumpkin puree or 1 small very ripe mashed banana. You can also try this with 3 cups of shredded wheat as a casserole instead of using bread.

Savory Squash Oatmeal with Spinach


Breakfast and oatmeal do not need to be sweet. They can be savory, as in this squash oatmeal with spinach. It is a great way to get a head start on getting plenty of vegetables for the day. To save time cooking and cleaning, just pour hot water over oats to cook them instead of cooking them in a pot on the stove.

You can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge overnight. If you want, you can make it in a container with a tight-fitting, leakproof lid. Then take it for breakfast the next day. You may love it so much that it becomes a favorite one-bowl lunch, too!

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup of low-sodium broth
  • ⅓ cup of rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup of acorn or butternut squash, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • ½ cup of chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • Optional seasonings: black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1 ounce of low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Mix the oats, flaxseed, spices, and spinach in the bowl you will use to eat from. Heat the broth until near boiling. Pour the broth over the oats and spinach. 
  2. Top the oatmeal with cheese and let it sit for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the squash.

Variations

  • Gluten-free: Be sure the oats are gluten-free.
  • Low-carb: Use 3 tablespoons of oats and 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds instead of ⅓ cup of oats.
  • Vegan (plant-based): Choose vegan cheese or add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter instead of cheese.
  • Fun Swaps: Any kind of cheese can change the nature of this oatmeal. You can also swap nuts or sunflower seeds for the ground flaxseed. For a creamier oatmeal, you can use unsweetened almond milk instead of broth.