As every busy collegiette knows, setting the time aside to enjoy a healthy breakfast in the morning is no easy task. Whether you’re on the run to an 8 a.m. lecture, preparing to start the morning at your internship or headed to work for an early shift at your part-time job, it’s critical that you fuel your body with a nutritious meal in the morning. If you’re in a rut about what to choose for your morning meal, we’re here to help with a few budget-friendly and tasty ideas that can be prepared the night before or thrown together quickly in the morning so you won’t be left scrambling.
1. Fruit and yogurt
Calcium is a necessary mineral, especially for us collegiettes, and an easy way to start your morning off with this essential element of your diet is with a serving of yogurt. For additional protein, which will help to curb your cravings throughout the day by keeping you fuller longer, choose a 6-oz cup of Greek yogurt, which often contains 15 to 20 grams of protein.
To ensure that you’re working towards your recommended five-a-day servings of fruit and veggies, add a piece of fresh fruit to your breakfast. Whether it’s a piece of whole fruit (such as a banana) that you consume in addition to your yogurt or sliced fruit (such as berries) that you add to the yogurt, you’ll be adding vitamins and flavor to the rest of your meal. Throw in a handful of nuts like walnuts or almonds for additional healthy fats. This easy breakfast is one that is easy to grab while running out the door in the morning. You can also prepare it in advance and keep it refrigerated in a Tupperware container.
2. Overnight oats
Food bloggers and savvy ladies everywhere have been raving about overnight oats for years. Oatmeal is not only delicious, but it's also a top choice for its nutritional content and its price, which fits well in a college budget. If you have some free time the night before, follow this easy recipe for a tasty treat.
- Combine equal parts raw rolled oats, milk and yogurt (about ½ cup of each) in a bowl.
- Use any kind of milk or yogurt that you’d like, but we recommend low-fat or fat-free milk.
- Place in your fridge overnight, either covered or uncovered, so that the oats can absorb the milk and the yogurt. You can also add chia seeds to your recipe, which are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and will add texture to the oatmeal as they absorb the liquid overnight.
- Add any toppings you would like, such as dried or fresh fruit, nuts or a scoop of almond or peanut butter.
- Toppings can be added the night before or in the morning.
- Don’t add anything that you wouldn’t enjoy eating soggy in the morning, such as crunchy granola or cereal, or wait to add them until the morning.
When you wake up, the oatmeal’s consistency will be a lot like regular cooked oatmeal (but slightly thicker) and ready to eat, as all of the liquids have been absorbed in the oats during the night.
3. Fruit smoothie
A nutritious fruit smoothie is a great on-the-go option for when you have only a few minutes to get ready for the day because it’s easy to prepare and refrigerate the night before. Here’s a yummy banana berry smoothie recipe from AllRecipes.com that will energize you for the day ahead and will only take about five minutes to make.
- 1 banana, chunked (can be fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup raspberries (can be fresh or frozen)
- ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
- ¾ cup orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. For additional protein, you can add silken tofu, protein powder or liquid egg whites. The recipe makes two servings, so feel free to share the second serving with your roommate or save it for the next morning.
4. Whole wheat bread with peanut butter and banana slices
Just like the fruit and yogurt pair combines protein from the yogurt and other great nutrients from the fruit, this easy breakfast idea does the same while also adding whole grains and healthy carbohydrates from the bread. Simply toast a piece or two of whole wheat bread, and then add your favorite peanut butter spread. If you’re allergic to peanut butter, you can substitute sunflower butter or almond butter for a similar taste and texture. Finally, slice a banana and add the pieces to your toast as desired. You could also add a sprinkle of cinnamon or drizzle a teaspoon of honey over it, too. It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and it’s so satisfying!
5. 3-Ingredient mini banana pancakes
As the title of this recipe from Eugenie Kitchen implies, you won’t need to spend too much money on ingredients. The main ingredients in this recipe are nutritious as well, and the recipe is flourless, low in calories and gluten-free. With prep time and cooking, it will only set you back about 10 minutes.
- 1 ½ large ripe bananas
- 2 eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- Crack the two eggs into a bowl and whisk together.
- In a separate bowl, mash the banana with a fork or masher, but do not over-mash, as this will cause your pancakes to not be fluffy. Be sure to use enough egg to hold the mashed banana together, but make sure that you don’t use too much banana, or else the pancake will not hold.
- Combine both bowls of ingredients together and stir.
- Cook over medium-low heat, using only about one to two tablespoons of batter for each.
- Once the baking powder is activated, flip the pancake over and allow it to cook for an additional minute.
- Serve with blueberries, butter and maple syrup. The recipe makes a serving of 10 miniature pancakes.
6. Banana, yogurt and walnut muffins
This healthy muffin recipe from Women's Health serves the dual purpose of filling you up in the morning as well as fighting PMS symptoms, due to the nutrients in the bananas, the calcium and vitamin D in the yogurt and the magnesium in the walnuts. Since you can prepare a batch of these muffins the night before, you’ll be able to easily grab one in the morning on your way out the door, and they’ll even last you all week for you and your roommates—the recipe makes 18 muffins.
- ¼ cup oatmeal
- ½ cup rice flour
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- ½ cup agave syrup
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup walnut pieces
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine the oatmeal, flour, flaxseed, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, bananas, syrup and oil. Fold into the other mixture.
- Divide your batter into baking cups and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
7. Easy egg white omelet
As we said earlier, a protein-packed breakfast is a sensible option to curb your hunger and help you stay focused. This recipe from The Food Network will take you only about 15 minutes to prepare—and we promise it’s worth waking up those few minutes earlier to make.
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ of a small onion, finely chopped
- 1 finely chopped plum tomato
- ½ cup spinach
- Salt and pepper
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 tablespoon water
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Use a small skillet to add the onions, tomatoes, spinach and a small pinch of salt to the oil, cooking for about three to five minutes over medium heat until the onion is soft.
- Add pepper to taste, in addition to a second pinch of salt, and cook for another minute before removing the spinach mixture from the heat to a separate bowl. Cover and keep warm.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water and a pinch each of salt and pepper until the mixture is frothy.
- Coat your skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat before adding the egg whites.
- Add egg whites while swirling them evenly in order to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for about two minutes.
- Using a rubber scraper, lift the eggs up and let the runny, uncooked portion of the egg mixture flow underneath. Spoon the vegetable mixture onto half of the omelet. Fold over and place onto a plate.
With these quick and nutritious options to choose from, you’ll never skip the most important meal of the day. Since these recipes are easy and fun to prepare and work well on a college budget, breakfast may just end up being your favorite meal!