No early morning breakfast for you!
March 1, 2009 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Help me make quick and very satisfying breakfasts.

I'd like to start eating breakfast, but I start work at 6am every day. I simply cannot get up any earlier than I already do on the days when I work. I'd also like this breakfast to be mobile so that I can take it in the car with me or to work, etc. And, finally, I want this to be a supremely satisfying breakfast. I'd like to eat it and not be starving thirty minutes later. And I'm hoping this can be done health-ily. What would you suggest?

Before you say oatmeal, I don't eat oatmeal. I have a hard time with the texture, so non-dry oatmeal is right out. Same with Cream O Wheat, Grits, etc.

I have a Magic Bullet mixer as well, so smoothies are not out of the question.
posted by santojulieta to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 166 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Hard boiled eggs. You make them anytime, leave them in the fridge for a week, and one will fill you up quick. Toss in a banana and maybe a healthy granola bar and you'll be cruising into the afternoon.
posted by wfrgms at 4:25 PM on March 1, 2009

Do you have time in the evenings? You could bake muffins on Sundays and have them for breakfast throughout the week, and then at night before you go to bed you could hard boil an egg or figure out some other sort of protein and prepare it as much as you can so you don't have to spend time beyond heating something up in the morning.

Smoothies sound fun. Cut up your fruit the night before and vary the combinations so you don't get tired of the flavors.
posted by Mizu at 4:25 PM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: I do the protein smoothie - a scoop of Designer Whey Vanilla protein, a cup of frozen fruit (blueberries or cherries are good, my blender has a hard time with strawberries) or a fresh banana, and a cup of either milk or water. Milk tastes better and the fat makes the whole thing much more satisfying. You can also add a spoonful of psyllium husks if you're working on adding fiber to your diet - it's pretty much unnoticeable in this format.

It's filling as all hell, very quick, you can change the fruit up so you don't get bored, and you can drink it out of a travel mug.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:27 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Scramble two eggs with a bit of milk and some thyme, pour it into a hot, greased (or non-stick) skillet, after two minutes, add grated gruyere (and shredded/minced meat if you enjoy it-- for some reason that I cannot explain, minced turkey pastrami goes particularly well with the sharp cheese), and fold it over on itself to create an omelette.

While that's cooking, toast two pieces of bread.

Slide the egg onto the toast, wrap in wax paper (you can vary the wrapping depending on how you're going to eat it-- depending on the nature of your commute, you may be able to eat in the car, or you just want to bring it with you, either way.

Eat. Enjoy.

Or, to skip the cooking process, yogurt and a pair of toasted english muffins are no-hassle. Stick cheese/meat/honey/butter whatever you're in the mood for on the bread.

If you're in Europe, use fresh bread. In the States, it's harder to find bakeries that open that early, depending on your location.
posted by Seeba at 4:28 PM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: The Simple Dollar recently showed how to make & freeze breakfast burritos in bulk.

I love Kashi GoLean Crunch Honey Almond Flax cereal for breakfast, which is very filling, full of protein, fiber & omega 3's. Kashi makes a breakfast bar in the same flavor, although the cereal might be a little cheaper. Eat it with a banana or blueberries for a very healthy and satisfying breakfast.

You might also try making your own granola bars for maximum customization. Although there are a lot of healthy granola bars out there (like the Kashi one I linked to) they tend to be pricier than the cheaper, less healthy options. This might be a good option if you are trying to save money, and you can target it to your specific diet needs.
posted by sararah at 4:31 PM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

I make a huge container of fruit salad every 3 or 4 days, using sliced peaches with syrup so that the syrup keeps the apples etc. from browning when the fruit sits in the fridge. (You can also use lemon juice). Then in the morning all I do is scoop some into a bowl, add 1/4 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup of protein granola and a few almonds. I eat this breakfast at 7am and am not hungry until at least 1pm. And it's delicious!
posted by meerkatty at 4:32 PM on March 1, 2009 [4 favorites]

I absolutely love the Mr. Breakfast site. It has tons of breakfast ideas, many of which have been rated by users. I'm also into making a batch of egg muffins on Sundays so that I can throw them in the freezer and pop in the microwave before I leave for work. Making your own Egg McMuffins works really well, too: scramble (or fry, I suppose) an egg, stack on an English muffin with whatever you'd like (cheese, sausage, etc.), wrap well and put in the freezer. Defrost for 30 sec-1 min in the microwave when you're ready.

Protein and fiber will help you feel fuller for longer. Also, I've found that eating a fat-free breakfast basically ensures that I'll be hungry enough to gnaw off my own arm an hour later.
posted by corey flood at 4:35 PM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh and my favorite breakfast sandwich is toasted english muffin + maple flavored sausages + roasted bell peppers. You could cook the sausage and peppers in bulk ahead of time, they will keep for a few days in the fridge. You can microwave the sausage and peppers for a minute in the morning and put it on a toasted english muffin. Delish.
posted by sararah at 4:37 PM on March 1, 2009

I was just about to suggest the yogurt and granola idea, but meerkatty seems to have beaten me to it.

I'm really glad that you asked this question, because I get to work at 6:30 and I have the same problem.

Whole Wheat bagels with strawberry cream cheese and a banana are my current solution. I can eat them while driving (bad, I know, but I do it anyway) and they keep me relatively full until lunch.
posted by nayrb5 at 4:45 PM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: Breakfast sandwiches: put an English muffin in the toaster. Break an egg into a pyrex measuring cup (spray it with vegetable spay - Pam -- first). Nuke it for 40 seconds. Then nuke a sausage pattie (real or soy). Put 'em all together. Consume. This takes only a couple of minutes and doesn't create a big mess.

Variations: we use Veggie Cheese Slices and sometimes throw salsa in with the egg (increase the microwave time).
posted by jackmcc at 4:47 PM on March 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

As much as I like making eggs and such, I'm personally way, way to lazy to actually cook something in the morning regularly, especially if it's going to lead to lots of dirty dishes and cut into my precious morning sleep.

If you're like me, the parfait idea already mentioned is super-easy and can be quite substantive if done right and is much lower maintanence. Low-fat yogurt + your favorite combination of fruits (I like berries and bananas) precut or even bought frozen dirt cheap + the granola/nuts of your choosing. It's also arguably the healthiest of the common options.
posted by drpynchon at 4:56 PM on March 1, 2009

posted by Jaltcoh at 4:57 PM on March 1, 2009

Nthing the breakfast muffins. I've gotten super lazy in how I make them. To wit:

Get those jumbo foil muffin cups. Spray them with PAM or whatever, and put them in a twelve-cup muffin tin.

Into each, crack an egg, dump a tablespoon of grated cheese, and a tablespoon of bacon bits. Salt and pepper each cup.

Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Voila: two muffins a day, breakfast for the week!

Of course, you can get fancy and whip the eggs together first, or add sausage, veggies, whatever... but the point, for me, is saving time. And I think this quickest-'n'-easiest version tastes pretty damn good.
posted by artemisia at 4:58 PM on March 1, 2009 [4 favorites]

Smoothies are ok, but seriously, you really want to try and get some solid food in your tummy as often as possible. Many good suggestions already for the quick microwave omlettes, etc. But If you are like me, then you may be open minded to the idea that breakfast does not always have to be eggs and cereal. When I worked very early shifts, I would just cook up a bunch of sliced chicken breast (can use steak if you like as well) on a sunday and in the morning I would throw together a wrap with some chicken and other healthy add ons (peppers, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, etc) and eat this on the go. I felt full until lunch and it gave me a healthy dose of protein and veggies. It's no heavier than having bacon, sausage, and other types of breakfast meats.
posted by scarello at 5:05 PM on March 1, 2009

Bittman recently wrote about his take on breakfast - savory, not sweet - and the article does discuss the speed/take-with aspect as well. Very different take on breakfast - certainly not for everyone, though.
posted by webhund at 5:05 PM on March 1, 2009

I do artemisia's idea in a muffin tin, baking 12 at a time (about 10 eggs beaten, poured over cheese and sausage or salsa or whatever makes your skirt fly up).

I make my own dry muffin mixes a few at a time in ziploc bags, since the time-consuming part is getting out your gear and measuring, and it takes about 10 seconds longer to dump everything in rapid succession into a few bags at once. Add the wet ingredients (usually milk/buttermilk and a fat, like butter or oil) and bake one evening, and take a couple at a time for breakfast. Again, a dozen at a time means you'll have breakfast all week.

My favorite recipe for muffins is the Grand Prize winner from Cook's Country magazine, a Dutch Apple Cheese muffin. The cheese adds a bunch of protein and they taste amazing. I make these once or twice a week. Lord help me, but when I'm pregnant I make them every other day or so. I bought an apple corer/peeler/slicer specifically to make them even faster! It's important NOT to use paper liners for this recipe. I mix it all in the food processor just until combined.

Here's the recipe:

2 C. all purpose flour
1/2 C. sugar
1 TBS.baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 TBS. unsalted butter (cold)
8 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into 1" pieces (or 8oz grated)
1 lg. egg
3/4 C. whole milk
1 lb. apples, peeled, cored, halved and sliced into thin Half-moons (about 2-3)

1/2 C. sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp butter
1Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1) For the muffins: palce oven rack in the middle of the oven and pre-heat to 375'. Grease and flour 2 6-cup muffin tins. In a food processor pulse flour,sugar,baking powder, salt,butter and cheese until mixture resembles coarse meal; transfer to large bowl. Add egg and milk to the flour mixture. Stir until combined (or just pulse a few times in the processor)
2) Spoon thick batter into prepared muffin tins, arrange apple slices ontop of batter, pressing down gently. Bake muffins for about 15 minutes or until edges are "just" golden.
3)For the Glaze: While muffins are baking, heat sugar, water,butter, lemon juice & cinnamon in small sauce pan over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. When muffins are done, brush muffins with glaze, return to oven and bake unti a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 10 minutes. remove and let cool in tin for 10 minutes, remove and transfer to rack and cool 10 minutes longer. Serve. (Muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 days.)
posted by mdiskin at 5:13 PM on March 1, 2009 [9 favorites]

Are you fixed on having 'breakfast' food? Try simply making a great sandwich the night before and just grabbing it in the a.m. No extra time, and sammys are always satisfying.
posted by Vaike at 5:24 PM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: A thick piece of whole grain bread toasted, with a bunch of peanut butter is pretty filling. Or two pieces together, to make a sandwich. Add a banana or an apple, if you like those. I also like toaster waffles. Usually I eat them with frozen blueberries or a banana, but that's not very portable--you could top with butter or jam, or even peanut butter and it would be easier to eat while driving or walking. I think Van's or other whole-grain brands are much more filling than Eggo, and I need three, not the serving size of two, to stay full till lunch. Or if you like to cook on the weekends, you can make pancakes or waffles and freeze them; toast or microwave and either wrap them around a banana or just spread with butter and jam.

I find eating something that combines protein, carbs, and fruit to be the most satisfying and the most filling. If there's no protein, I'm starving a few hours later, and all carbs tend to make me sleepy, but if it's just protein and there's no carbs I get hungry earlier too.
posted by min at 5:44 PM on March 1, 2009

I know you say you cannot get up any earlier in the morning to cook but it seriously only takes me 5 minutes to make egg and cheese on a roll/bagel/bread. I am even able to get some juice while the bread toasts and egg cooks!

I am not sure if you consider pancakes/waffles satisfying but i heard they freeze well. If you just sprinkle a little sugar on them or spread a tiny bit of jelly you could easily take this with you in the car.

I also used to keep a box of cereal at my desk and milk in the fridge at work. Not sure if that is an option.

Like others mention if your willing to put some work in on the weekends you could make anything. I especially liked homemade cornish pastie, burritos, and scones for breakfast. They are also portable.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 6:11 PM on March 1, 2009

On Sunday night, make a bread pudding. Slice into 6 pieces, and you have 5 breakfasts and one left over. Use whole grain bread and throw in some extra cracked wheat or millet, whey powder for protein, and you have a moist chewy bready thing that sticks together and you can eat out of a plastic container and wipe your hands on a tissue after. Infinite variations - apple cinnamon, chocolate almond, indian spice, etc, etc. Make a bigger block of it if you need more than whatever recipe you start with on the net. It's very forgiving, like a giant french-toast-plus, made with leftover bread, baked in the oven.
posted by Listener at 6:24 PM on March 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

PS takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare and keeps all week in the fridge.
posted by Listener at 6:25 PM on March 1, 2009

Whole grain bread (or toast) with peanut butter. It takes about 30 seconds to make and the protein will sustain you. I also always make sure I have a bag of nuts or seeds with me all the time in case I need a healthy snack that will satisfy - I get SUPER grumpy if I go too long being hungry.

Also, I know you said "no" to oatmeal, but maybe you could give it another try? I absolutely loathed oatmeal until I tried whole, rolled oats (NOT the instant kind). Now I can't start my morning without a big bowl of oatmeal with dried cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and a little sugar.
posted by kookaburra at 6:26 PM on March 1, 2009

It's not portable or particularly healthy, but pre-cooked bacon seriously changed my life. I like to throw two slices in a non-stick skillet, cook for about a minute a side, then crack an egg into the pan to fry in the tiny bit of grease left over. It takes about five minutes tops, and makes for a hot, satisfying breakfast.

I also rather enjoy pearl barley as an oatmeal alternative, cooked with some milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Make a big batch ahead of time, and you'll have breakfast for the whole week--oatmeal-ish, but with a much more interesting texture.
posted by tomatofruit at 7:18 PM on March 1, 2009

Best answer: Now I can't start my morning without a big bowl of oatmeal with dried cranberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and a little sugar.

As a German teacher, I predictably eat Müsli every morning with a hardboiled egg, yoghurt, and Kaffee. I make a weekly batch of Müsli containing: organic rolled oats, oat bran, wheat germ, sultana raisins, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, smashed pecans, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

This recipe costs approximately $1 per serving using Trader Joe's Spezialitäten. I keep all of the ingredients in the freezer in labeled ziploc bags until preparing the weekly batch. It's a good system that has saved me at least $20-30/month.

I am up everyday at 5:25 a.m. and out the door (with breakfast, shower, and 8 minutes of reading NZZ and FAZ) by 6:05 a.m. I am able to maintain a decent energy level until 11 a.m., or so.

To put the breakfast in perspective: lunch is the biggest meal of the day for me (again, a nod to living wie die Deutschen).
posted by vkxmai at 7:24 PM on March 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

Best answer: IMO cooking an egg in a pan on some sort of radiant heat source is atavistic and twen-cen. Microwaving fresh scrambled eggs is the way to go.

You have to break the yolk but once you've done that the trick is to have the volume of egg thinly spread out - when it's too thick you can get steam building up and hence explosions. So I take one ceramic dinner plate, spray it with Pam or otherwise grease it, place it in the microwave, crack and scramble the egg in place, and then place another dinner place face down on top as a cover just in case of eggsplosion.

With a powerful microwave it can be thoroughly cooked in 45 seconds. Tip the top plate off carefully (so you don't burn your hand or get a face full of steam) and throw a slice of cheese on top which will melt immediately. If you time everything just right you can pick up the top plate and turn around just in time to catch toast popping up, then slap it all together into a delicioso breakfast sandwich.

If you eat it quickly enough you have a spare 30 seconds to hand-wash all the dishes you've made using your sink squeegee - two dinner plates and the fork you scrambled the egg with - and place them in the dish drying rack as you head out the door. JIT breakfast: total time cooking, eating, and cleanup, 180 seconds. Requires less time than a side trip through a fast-food drive through for a similar meal. And nothing goes to waste if you miss a day. And you get it on a heated plate like you're at a restaurant.

If you have a significant other who leaves at the same time, or for extra satiation, pick up a spare microwave and a spare toaster from the Salvation Army store and do two at the same time.

Also, as your attorney I must 2nd toast with peanut butter, especially with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of wheat bran. But as your doctor I would say use natural peanut butter for health reasons, and not the fake Skippy "Natural" Peanut butter that has high-saturated-fat coconut in it, but decent and honest and wholesome natural peanut butter that just has peanuts and salt in it. (JK I'm neither a doctor nor an attorney.)
posted by XMLicious at 8:48 PM on March 1, 2009 [20 favorites]

Best answer: Almond butter on a whole wheat/multigrain bagel with banana or apple slices. Pear would be good also.
posted by jgirl at 9:01 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: seconding the waffle with peanut butter. i toast a whole-grain waffle and spread peanut butter on it when i have to rush my way out the door. i can eat it while i walk and that's really the main appeal.

in the summer, when it's hot, i like to buy those yogurts that come in a tube (you know, for the kids) and freeze them and eat them like yogurt popsicles.
posted by kerning at 9:06 PM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Try adding a raw egg to a fruit smoothie containing protein powder.

I find that tossing in an egg makes a big difference, in terms of the energy I get.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:12 PM on March 1, 2009

I'm a big fan of making massive batches of breakfast burritos and munching on those for a while. The only bad thing is that I usually end up eating the burritos for every meal since they're already made and soooo delicious.

Also, the NY Times recently had an article on filling but unusual breakfast choices.
posted by mandapanda at 9:00 AM on March 2, 2009

I love English muffins and Laughing Cow cheese. It keeps me filled until lunch.

2 muffins with 2 wedges of cheese only equals around 290-350 cals.
posted by reenum at 9:18 AM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


OK, so it's not healthy, but it IS delicious, exotic, incredibly fast, and filling. One pan, five minutes, three ingredients, and you're on your way with a fatty burrito wrapped in a paper towel or in a ziploc. I eat these on the bus like the proud chola I am.

You don't need that fancy, pretty recipe I linked to; you just stir a chunklet of the sausage around the pan until it's fully cooked, break a couple of eggs in there, stir until fully cooked again, and throw it in a tortilla.


You want Mexican Chorizo, not Spanish Chorizo. Mexican chorizo is fresh, uncured, raw, ground meat (pork or beef, it'll say on the package, pork is a little spicier and greasier and oh god so good). It is spiced with chile and garlic and needs to be cooked before eating, and will come packed in plastic casing (or intestine, if you're buying it from the carneceria counter). Spanish Chorizo is cured and will look all dried up and shriveled, like a good salami, and while it's just dandy and all is something completely different and will not help you in your breakfast endeavors.

If you have a gas range, toast your tortilla over a low flame, maybe 10 seconds on each side. If you're cursed with electric, or your tortillas are way stale, try dampening the tortilla with a little water and microwaving it for 20 seconds; less toasty, more flexible and elastic and moist.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2009

Best answer: The one thing that will keep you feeling full is protein. Seconding someone's previous comment about the protein smoothie. My take on it is what I call the Eye Opener smoothie: Chocolate Protein Powder (I use Designer Whey as well) for 18g protein, mixed with 1% milk and 2 shots of espresso or strong coffee, and (personal preference) a couple heaping tablespoons of benefiber. That goes in a travel mug, and I bring something to eat along with it - typically a half muffin, half bagel, slice of banana bread, whatever. Usually whatever I eat I buy in bulk over the weekend and freeze immediately. I can defrost for 30 sec in the microwave or let it gradually thaw on my commute. This keeps me full for up to 5 hours. Not too bad for maybe 300 calories.
posted by skechada at 7:46 AM on March 5, 2009

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