Are you looking for easy, healthy breakfasts you can throw together quickly for yourself and your family?
Back to school season can be a time of breakfast ruts turned into endless boxes of cereal. But it doesn’t need to be! Healthy can be easy and take less effort. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration. Let’s look at my approach to breakfast as well as some unfussy and nourishing breakfast options for you and your littles!
My Breakfast Checklist:
- A 12 hour (minimum) fast before breakfast
- A meal that includes the Fab Four - protein, fat, fiber and greens
- 20-30g of protein
Were you expecting a big bullet list of 'do’s and don’ts' and all kinds of rules? That’s not how I roll. I want to keep healthy eating as simple, freeing and joyful as possible. It’s not that complicated because it doesn’t need to be.
Why eat breakfast?
I’m well aware that an easy solution to the breakfast rut problem is to skip the meal entirely. But before you hop on that train, let’s talk about why eating breakfast is important for health.
Studies have shown that consuming breakfast compared with skipping breakfast appeared to improve glucose and insulin responses throughout the day. By simply choosing to eat a protein-rich breakfast, you can reap blood sugar benefits for the rest of the day!
It’s important to remember how stable blood sugar vs. unstable looks and feels. For adults, stability promotes feeling full, calm and satiated while unstable blood sugar looks like cravings, mood swings, fatigue, brain fog and irritability. For children, stable blood sugar often lends to better behavior and increased learning ability. While unstable blood sugar can present with behavioral problems, difficulty focusing, hyperactivity or extreme fatigue. The Mayo Clinic says of children that poorly controlled blood sugar can cause behavioral changes, including irritability.
In addition to mood and mental consequences, recent review articles have explained that skipping breakfast may lead to increased appetite, possible weight gain and an increase in risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Breakfast is imperative for hormone regulation, blood sugar stability and a reduction in risk factors for degenerative and inflammatory diseases. If you want to feel full, calm and stable while optimizing your weight and well being, you should definitely eat breakfast!
The Importance of Balancing Blood Sugar at Breakfast
Simply eating breakfast isn’t enough. Just as important is what you eat for breakfast. A Fab Four smoothie hits different than a Pop-Tart.
Research indicates a low-carbohydrate meal for breakfast improves blood sugar control throughout the day compared with those who eat higher-carb breakfasts. It’s simply harder to balance blood sugar the rest of the day when you begin with a big spike and crash.
The solution to starting your day set up for blood sugar success? Eat a Fab Four breakfast containing protein, fat, fiber and greens. It’s my unfussy formula that allows you to eat for optimal health without landing in a diet box.
If you’re looking to dive deeper into what your blood sugar looks like, you've likely heard me mention Levels before, which is my favorite way to understand how my food and lifestyle choices are impacting my health. Blood sugar management in healthy individuals has been the focal point of my practice with clients, the theme of my books, and the most effective and transformative way I support my community to improve their health for life. Levels has been such an empowering, science-backed tool that has helped so many of my clients to look, feel and perform their best!
I am SO excited to share that for a limited time, Levels is offering my community an amazing offer - if you purchase the Levels annual membership through this link, you will receive an additional 2 months FREE! Levels members also have access to additional resources for purchase, including on-demand blood test with a laboratory analysis and in-app results display.
The combination of the Levels membership, continuous glucose monitoring and the blood panel is the perfect way to get real-time feedback on your day-to-day food and lifestyle choices, and to check in with your body to see how you're tracking for the most important markers related to your metabolic health: Fasting Insulin, ApoB, Triglycerides, Uric Acid, and HbA1c.
Now let’s get into the good stuff. What does easy and healthy actually look like at breakfast?
Easy, Everyday Breakfast Ideas
I get it. I’m a mom of three little ones. My mornings consist of getting two kids out the door while breastfeeding a third. If breakfast needs to be anything, it needs to be doable. If it’s not sustainable, it won’t stick – no matter how healthy. You and I need real life breakfast suggestions. Ones that will nourish and fuel but won’t cost an arm and a leg or take half a morning to make. Breakfasts that don’t require a ton of ingredients or a ton of planning. So let the inspo begin:
- Eggs: High in Vitamins A, D, E, K, choline and omega 3s, these nutritional powerhouses may be the most versatile breakfast food. Quick, easy, affordable, and each egg serves up about 6-7g of protein. Let’s talk about ALL THE WAYS you can make eggs:
- Sunny side up, runny, scrambled, smashed on toast, Tik-Tok style grated eggs, boiled and sliced, soft boiled with a few sourdough soldiers, birds in a nest, eggs and hash (use frozen organic hash browns for ease - I like Cascadian Farms from Thrive Market), eggs in strips (especially great for younger kids!), omelets (make it your own with the veggies you love!), thrown into a Siete tortilla for breakfast tacos or a breakfast burrito.
- The variety of ways you can prepare eggs allows you to work with any texture aversions your child might have. And remember, whenever possible, always sneak a few extra veggies in the eggs!
- Smoothies: You had to know it was coming, right? In my mind, there’s no better breakfast than a Fab Four Smoothie. Protein, fat, fiber and greens combine to keep you full, calm, focused and energized for 4-6 hours. No mid-morning crash or need for SOS snacking pre-lunch.
- The Fab Four - I’ve poured my heart into creating the highest quality, least processed and minimal ingredient protein out there. Be Well Protein Powder comes in chocolate, vanilla or unflavored. And you can go with either grass-fed beef or plant-based. For fat, add a scoop of nut or seed butter, some full fat coconut yogurt, coconut butter or avocado slices. To add fiber, choose chia seeds, flaxseed, psyllium husk or acacia fiber. And for greens, throw in a handful of spinach, kale, arugula or other greens. Or go with some frozen riced cauliflower or even grated carrot and zucchini.
- Smoothies are quick to make, easy to travel (I throw mine in a Hydroflask to keep the temp cool!) and a hit for the whole family. You can double, triple or quadruple recipes in order to make enough for everyone in one shot!
- You can find all of my smoothie recipes on my website HERE, and I have even more recipes in my books Body Love and Body Love Everyday. Remember, if you don’t have one ingredient, just swap it out for something similar in the same category (Don’t have cashew butter? No worries, sub with almond butter! No chia? Fine, go with ground flaxseeds!).
- Pancakes, Waffles, Breads and Muffins: I typically suggest homemade breakfast baked goods, as it gives you the power to create a more macro nutrient friendly meal that is higher in protein and healthy fats. Most store bought/boxed mixes are not only super high in nutritionally devoid carbohydrates, they also contain added sugars and inflammatory oils. That said, there are a few boxed mixes I can get behind and a few hacks to make them even better.
- Boxed mixes I like include Birch Benders Paleo Grain-Free Pancake Mix, Wild Rye Pancake Mix and Sweet Laurel Pancake Mix. My hack I recently shared on Instagram? When using a boxed mix, always add extra eggs, chia, flax and/or psyllium husk in order to up the protein and fiber content.
- For homemade baked goods, my few-ingredient go-to recipes are: Chocolate protein pancakes, High protein pancakes, Protein packed pumpkin spice muffins, Heather’s famous grain free banana walnut bread. I often double the recipe and either save extras for the rest of the week or freeze them for busier weeks in the future!
- And if you’re looking for literally the easiest paleo pancake that takes essentially no time? Blend a banana with three eggs. Add a pinch of salt and Ceylon cinnamon if you wish. Thirty seconds to pancake batter.
- Pro tip: Add a scoop of protein powder to either homemade or boxed pancake, waffle, muffin or bread batters in order to increase the protein content.
- If you’re baking a bread, muffin, pancake, etc. and don’t include protein powder, additional eggs, chia seeds or other sources of protein, be sure to include a protein smoothie or breakfast meat along with your baked good in order to up your protein intake to 20-30g.
- Breakfast Meat: I always double the breakfast meat when cooking for easy re-heating throughout the week. We love breakfast sausage and/or bacon from Applegate and Pederson’s Farm, which can both be found on Thrive Market. Teton breakfast sausage or Fork in the Road smokies are also favorites.
- Serve any breakfast meat along with berries, eggs, hash browns, avocado slices and/or with a Primal Kitchen dipping sauce (use code KELLYSFAVORITES) like ketchup.
- Also, let’s not forget leftover meat! I’ve been throwing plain ground beef on leftover roasted veggies as a breakfast plate. Remember, you aren’t boxed into eating only “traditional breakfast meat” for breakfast. Let’s normalize breakfast as just another meal and any quality meat as free game for eating! It’s all about what makes you feel full and satisfied to start the day.
- Toasts: Not all toasts have to be carb bombs! There are ways to have your breakfast toast without blowing your blood sugar through the roof. Let’s look at them:
- Go with grain free bread (like Base Culture Keto Bread (found on Thrive) or Unbun Keto. Or I love a triple fermented sourdough like from Artisan Bakery in Orange County as well as gluten-free sourdough as from AWG Bakery. Basically, I look for a long fermented organic bread and make sure to serve it up with protein and fat! You can skip the bread altogether and make a big batch of sweet potato toasts.
- Toppings are what can make or break your breakfast blood sugar. I’m not a fan of straight up jam or honey because of the spike they can initiate. Instead, I love to think of savory toppings or something a little sweeter that won’t cause so much of a spike:
- Smashed avocado with everything but the bagel seasoning
- Nut or seed butter, grass-fed butter or coconut butter
- Some sort of butter and smashed berries
- Coconut yogurt and blueberries
- Sliced hard boiled eggs or a poached egg
- Heirloom tomatoes
- Smoked salmon and capers
- Garnish with flavor and/or texture: cracked black pepper, flaky sea salt, cinnamon, sauerkraut, microgreens, everything but the bagel seasoning, hot sauce, cacao nibs, slivered almonds, toasted coconut flakes, a drizzle extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes
- One thing to note when it comes to toast is that a toast-only breakfast will likely be low in protein, especially if you’re not topping it with eggs, smoked salmon, etc. Protein is what keeps you feeling satiated, so I suggest adding some sort of breakfast meat or a protein smoothie to your meal to get that 20-30g of protein.
- Yogurt: Go with an unflavored full fat, organic and grass-fed dairy yogurt or a dairy free yogurt. With all yogurts, skip those with added sugar, gums, preservatives, or natural and artificial flavors. For non-dairy yogurts, I like Culina, Cocojune, Coconut Cult or Cocoyo.
- For dairy free yogurts, beware of low protein content. I like to add a scoop of protein powder to my coconut yogurt as an easy solution.
- Make a DIY topping bar that is fun for the kids and saves mom on time. Just put out some berries, slivered or crushed nuts, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, chia seeds, flaxseeds, BWBK protein powder, or any other favorite toppings.
- Oatmeal and Puddings: Oh, the quintessential breakfast food that is oatmeal. Listen, I’m not here to tell you that you can’t ever have oatmeal again, but let’s look at some ways we can up-level your oatmeal game or choose a better alternative!
- My “faux-meal” is the perfect warm and cozy substitute for those who don’t want to give up their morning bowl of porridge. With chia, flax and hemp seeds, you still get that warming bowl feeling, only with less carbs and more healthy fat and protein.
- Chia seed pudding is another great oatmeal alternative. You can make it the night before, which is convenient for school mornings when time is short. I have a Fab 4 Chia Seed Pudding and Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding Parfait which are both beloved by my boys.
- If your kid loves oatmeal, maybe quitting cold turkey isn’t an option. In that case, I suggest reducing the amount of oatmeal and increasing the amount of chia/flax/hemp seeds in the mixture. Titrate down to a point where you’re using just a little bit of oatmeal and mostly seeds in the mixture.
- Pro Tip: Add a scoop of protein powder to your “faux-meal,” oatmeal mixture or chia pudding for a more satiating macro nutrient profile.
- Have fun with toppings. Similarly to yogurt, you can create a DIY topping bar with berries, cacao nibs, coconut or other nut/seed butter, sliced or crushed nuts, coconut flakes and beyond!
- Leftovers: Breakfast traditionally and in other cultures around the world is “just another meal.” Instead, we’ve turned it into dessert. Honestly, flip the cereal box around and you’ll see it has about as much sugar as a candy bar! It might sound crazy, but leftovers make for a nutritious, easy and super fast breakfast.
- Especially in winter months, consider re-heating those cozy soups and stews.
- Saute leftover roasted veggies on the stove or heat them in an air fryer and throw a couple of fried eggs on top.
- Reheat roast meat in a Siete tortilla with eggs, avocado, pico and cilantro for breakfast tacos
An Example Week of Easy Breakfasts:
- Sunday: Very Vanilla Fab 4 smoothie
- Monday: Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding
- Tuesday: Applegate bacon + sunny side up or scrambled eggs + berries
- Wednesday: Coconut yogurt parfait (berries, toasted coconut flakes, chia seeds, slivered almonds). Stir in a scoop of protein powder for a better macronutrient composition.
- Thursday: Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Fab 4 smoothie
- Friday: Avocado toast on Unbun Keto bread with everything but the bagel seasoning and a side of Teton breakfast sausage.
- Saturday: Faux-meal. Stir in some chocolate protein powder, add a drizzle of coconut butter and some cacao nibs on top.
That’s a lot of food inspo! I hope you’re feeling realistically inspired to improve your breakfast game. I want to leave you with a few further ideas and resources, especially for those who have children…
Ideas to Stay Out of the Rut
Staying out of the breakfast rut doesn’t mean you have to spend more time prepping in the kitchen or scrolling through Pinterest. You might be surprised to find your child can be a huge source of help and ideas! Here are a couple ways to lean on a friend or your little one for help:
- Let your child choose a breakfast recipe each week from a you-approved cookbook. Maybe it’s a fun weekend brunch recipe. Maybe it’s a protein muffin or a chia pudding you prep together the night before. You can find plenty of Fab Four breakfast recipes in Body Love and Body Love Everyday.
- Let your child choose the breakfast protein “star” the night before (eggs, bacon, sausage, protein powder, etc.). This takes the decision fatigue of having to choose breakfast protein off your plate, and it also means your child will be less likely to refuse breakfast since he or she picked it! Win-win!
- If you’re in a rut, don’t be afraid to ask a healthy friend what she’s been making lately for her family. Or go to a farmer’s market. Crack open a cookbook. Turn on the cooking channel. So many ways to garner inspo!
I’m so passionate about preparing you to put a healthy, nourishing and Fab Four style breakfast on the table for you and your family. I know how transformational it can be for your family’s well-being. In my 10 Science-Backed Healthy Habits to Change Your Life, I included specifics on breakfast macronutrient composition, timing and more. You guys, breakfast sets the tone. And it’s just that important for your health.
A Few Final Resources: