Everyone and their mother will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a great way to get your metabolism going early, and you’ll feel fuller and more energized for longer if you fuel up properly after you first wake up. Of course, college life is known for its late nights and sometimes even later mornings – breakfast is not always the first thing on your priority list when you roll out of bed and out the door for class. But don’t worry – breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy, time-consuming, or even eaten in the dining hall. Read on for some quick, easy, and healthy breakfast ideas that are dorm-friendly and busy-college-student-approved.
- Oatmeal. Known for its heavy fill of fiber and a variety of other essential nutrients, oatmeal is a great way to keep you full from breakfast til lunch. With today’s craze of instant oatmeal packs, all you need is a bowl of water and a microwave and you’re good to go. A healthy favorite is steel-cut oatmeal; McCann’s Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal is a healthy, rolled version of their traditional steel-cut oats that is ready in 3 minutes or less, and it’s only 150 calories per serving. For added health benefits, throw a handful of chia or flax seeds on top when it’s ready! Fruit like strawberries, bananas, or blackberries taste great on top – and if you’re looking for something a little more sweet and crunchy, throw in a pack of stevia and a handful of walnuts. Another option is Quaker’s Instant Oatmeal – just be wary of the artificial flavoring and sweeteners in their fruity and sugary varieties.
- Yogurt. A cup of greek yogurt, like plain Chobani, is only 100 calories. With a dash of stevia and some fruit or almonds mixed in, it’s the perfect pick-me-up in the morning, especially for those who aren’t avid breakfast eaters, due to a sensitive stomach or just lack of hunger early in the morning. Even their fruit-flavored varieties are a healthy choice! If you’re on the go, grab a cup of yogurt from the dining hall and bring a baggie for nuts and fruit. All you need is a spoon and you’re set.
- Grains and fruit. If you have time to hit the dining hall but fear the never-ending omelet line, head to the toaster. A bagel is full of starchy calories, but a healthier option is an English muffin or whole-grain toast with peanut butter for added protein. A serving of strawberries, grapes, or orange slices – or even a banana cut up on top – are the perfect addition. For extra energy, add a handful of walnuts to your plate.
- Egg and cereal – a new way. Obviously, the traditional breakfast route would be a bowl of cereal or scrambled eggs. But if you’re running out the door, why not grab a protein-packed hard-boiled egg? Keep some cereal on hand to throw in a baggie and eat dry; Cheerios or Special K are both heart-healthy, whole-grain options. Steer clear of the sugar, though – you’ll find yourself crashing later on.
- Granola bar. Kashi makes delicious natural cereal bars in a variety of fruity, nutty, and sometimes even sweet flavors. For something crunchier, Nature’s Valley bars are great, too – and if you really want to get into the natural side of things, try a fruity-flavored Larabar like apple pie or coconut cream pie. Paired with a glass of skim milk or an iced coffee, these all make for delicious, quick, and practical solutions!
- Nutty mix. If you’re into pre-packaged goodness, try Emerald’s “breakfast on the go” mixes of granola, nuts, and dried fruit. If you’re more of a DIY-er, fear not – just keep some supplies on hand for busy mornings. A bag of craisins in the fridge and some almonds or walnuts will go a long way! Toss them all in with a handful of granola, and you’ll have a yummy start to even the most hectic days.
If you’re out and about, a healthy fruit smoothie is also a good option for the morning. Just remember to focus on fiber and steer clear of sugar, and you will reap the benefits of even the most brisk of breakfasts with a smile on your face and a full stomach.
By Meg Lane