Low-starch, grab-and-go breakfast?
March 22, 2013 12:41 PM   Subscribe

My doctor has recommended eliminating most starches from my diet. Any recommendations for grab-and-go breakfasts?

My doctor recommended trying a low-starch—not necessarily low-carb, although anything which is low-carb would be low-starch—diet for weight loss. ("It's not for everyone," he said, "but give it a try and see if it works for you.") I'm wondering what to do for breakfast on weekdays. I'm not a morning person, so I've been in the practice of grabbing a breakfast bar heading out the door on the way to work, and I'm not likely to do anything that requires cooking that morning, or even sitting down at a table and eating at home before I leave. Something that I could make in advance (in the evening or on the weekend) would be fine if it keeps well.

The only thing I've come up with so far is trail mix (dried fruits, nuts, maybe some chocolate bits), which would be OK but less than ideal, as when I try to eat that in the car a few bits usually end up on the floor of the car rather than in my mouth. Any suggestions for a) existing pre-packaged bars or other products that qualify, b) recipes for making low-starch bars at home I could take (could you use egg as a binder to bake trail mix into a bar form?), or c) other suggestions for grab-and-go low-starch breakfasts?
posted by DevilsAdvocate to Food & Drink (42 answers total) 77 users marked this as a favorite
Can you hard boil a bunch of eggs and peel them ahead of time? So in the morning you can just grab two? I do this quite a bit.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:43 PM on March 22, 2013 [11 favorites]

You could make breakfast burritos in advance with low carb tortillas. Wrap them up really well and freeze them and you can microwave them for a hot breakfast in a minute!
posted by chiababe at 12:43 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Quinoa bars. YUM.
posted by headnsouth at 12:45 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

How about greek yogurt? It might also be a little hard to eat in the car, but it's a great grab-n-go, low-starch breakfast.
posted by willbaude at 12:46 PM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Mini-omelettes. Use a muffin tin, grease each cup, and in each cup crack two eggs, add shredded cheese and torn-up spinach, salt, pepper. Stir and bake. Nuke in the morning for 30 seconds, and you've got hand-held protein to go.
posted by jbickers at 12:53 PM on March 22, 2013 [19 favorites]

I came here to say Greek yogurt. If you don't want to eat it with a spoon, mix it with juice or kefir to the point where you can drink it from a go-cup. You can add protein powder or any other ingredients you like.
posted by BibiRose at 12:53 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think I originally got this recipe from an answer to a similar question here, but: Egg Muffins (not actual muffins). (Haven't actually made them yet because I am lazy.)
posted by sunset in snow country at 12:53 PM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I keep a little bag of chopped up ham and shredded cheese in my work freezer. Then I bring in an egg each day, stir it into some ham and cheese in a mug. Microwave for about a minute and I have a mini omlette. Quick, easy and cheap. I vary the ingredients depending on what I am in the mood for.

My other option is to make a breakfast casserole on the weekend. Cut it into squares and freeze individually to microwave at work.
posted by maxg94 at 12:54 PM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Quinoa and flour both have starch in them, as well as too many carbohydrates for most low carb eaters.

If you like the idea of prepackaged trail mix without mess, Kind Snacks offer some good options.
posted by gnomeloaf at 12:55 PM on March 22, 2013

Yoghurt popsicles are easy to make in bulk, easy to eat on the go.
posted by kmennie at 12:56 PM on March 22, 2013

I make something sort of like those egg muffins and they keep really well. Here's what I do:

1) Spray the cups of a muffin tin. Line each cup with a piece of prosciutto. (I use a giant muffin tin, but a regular one will work as well.)

2) Slice up an avocado and distribute throughout muffin cups. (One avocado will make six egg cups, in my experience.)

3) Crack an egg into each cup.

4) Season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika, turmeric, whatever. Stick in a 400 degree oven and cook for 15-20 minutes (15 will give you a slightly runny yoke, 20 is hard all the way through, which is my preference.)

5) Store in sealed containers in the fridge and you have a protein-rich breakfast to grab all week.
posted by carolinecrane at 12:58 PM on March 22, 2013 [25 favorites]

Here's something I do a couple times a week: blenderize goat's milk + a scoop of egg protein powder (can't tolerate whey-based powders) + peanut butter + cocoa + sugar (you can use the sweetener of your choice). Takes 5 minutes to prepare and gives you 30+ g protein, some fat to keep you from being hungry in an hour, and no starch/low carb.
posted by Currer Belfry at 1:11 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Get a bag of dates with the pits removed. Whirl them in a food processor until you've got a horribly sticky paste. Then grind up whatever nuts you want until they're a little coarser than cornmeal. Mix with the date paste, add literally whatever other mix-ins you want, and spread the whole thing out on a lightly-greased tray. Or roll into balls. My favorite iteration is adding dried cherries, coconut flakes, and mini chocolate chips.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:12 PM on March 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I came here to say Greek yogurt.

Careful: not all commercial yoghurts are what they seem. Read your labels carefully.
posted by bonehead at 1:15 PM on March 22, 2013 [6 favorites]

String cheese.
posted by cabingirl at 1:39 PM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

You may want to give Scotch Eggs a try, they definitely meet "grab and go" criteria and are protein bombs in their purest form. I've made them with beef, lamb and pork and a variety of different spice blends. Make ahead in the evening and zap in the microwave in the morning.
posted by Asherah at 1:42 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Lära Bar has a couple options. Their regular bars are dates and nuts and other flavors and the Uber bars are nuts and dried fruit.
posted by Swisstine at 1:46 PM on March 22, 2013

A word of caution on the egg in a muffin tin. I almost ruined a Baker's Secret muffin tin and I used Pam spray before adding the eggs. YMMV of course but maybe make 1 or 2 and see how it goes before doing a full tin.
posted by jaimystery at 1:52 PM on March 22, 2013

Egg muffins can be really nice.

Do you drink coffee? A big splash of heavy cream in coffee makes a lovely breakfast.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:56 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yogurt with fruit. Cottage cheese with fruit. Cottage cheese with chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers. Hard boiled eggs, a piece of cheese, and fruit and veg - in various combinations. Deli turkey or deli ham, wrapped around a pickle or a piece of cheese or a piece of veg.
posted by Kololo at 1:56 PM on March 22, 2013

My egg muffins stuck too. I now make them in pyrex, ramekins or a pie dish. I use 2 grated zucchini (squeeze the extra water out), 100gm smoked salmon and six beaten eggs.
posted by kjs4 at 2:08 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

paleo banana bread
posted by thatgirld at 2:09 PM on March 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

I make my own protein bars for exactly this! I have a friend who came up with a great series of recipes for protein bars, and the recipes are on her blog. Here's my favourite variant - chocolate peanut butter bars. I am trying to eat low carb, so I replaced the oats with shredded coconut. It also tastes great with almond butter instead of peanut butter. The recipe is great because its so easy, I make a double batch on the weekend and they just live in the fridge, waiting for me to grab one each morning.

I sometimes make scrambled eggs at work in the morning. Night before I throw 2 eggs, some milk, a dab of butter, salt and pepper into a tupperware, stick it into the fridge. In the morning I grab the tupperware and a freezer pack and take it to work, then cook it in the microwave (stir very frequently).
posted by Joh at 2:14 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm perhaps the laziest breakfast eater on the face of Earth. I have 2 things that I alternate:

Slim-Fast Low Carb (must be low carb not the standard stuff. I order this because I've never seen it in a store).
Justin's Nut Butter packet.

Both are about 200 calories and ridiculously satisfying. I keep a stash of both in my car and briefcase for OMG must eat or take a hostage emergencies.
posted by 26.2 at 2:37 PM on March 22, 2013

I have been making my Egg Things in these Wilton Mini Cake Pans for years with no damage. Bonus: they fit perfectly in a Mr. Bento container, and also the slightly thinner dimensions mean they are a little easier to reheat without turning the edges into rubber.

But mostly now I just buy 2-dozen packs of boiled eggs at Costco for $4.69.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:40 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could make an egg frittata ahead of time, put individual slices in bags or plastic containers, and eat it cold or warm it up or whatever. In my house, a frittata is this:

- dozen eggs
- 1 red pepper
- bunch of chard
- half a big onion
- some cream
- feta
- pepper
- herbes de provence

Saute veggies in butter. Add pepper and herbs. Slightly scramble eggs separately. Stir veggies and small chunks of feta into eggs. Pour into buttered oven-safe pan. Bake 250 C for 30-35 minutes.
posted by ceiba at 2:49 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I typically mix a fresh fruit and a protein source of some kind, so aside from the fruit, when I need a grab-and-go breakfast, I'll eat :hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt (a little honey goes a long way with plain but I eat the flavored ones too for convenience, or drink some kefir instead because I don't follow a low-carb diet), a chunk of cheese, peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts, and the Nature Valley Nut Crunch bars (which are surprisingly respectable compared to the other "breakfast bar" options). Oh, and green smoothies--obviously all carb, but non-starch. They're reasonably fast because you have to prep them, but then you can drink them on the go.
posted by zizania at 3:26 PM on March 22, 2013

Don't forget the basics: a glass of milk goes a long way in the morning.
posted by yclipse at 3:51 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I cook up scrambled eggs and ground turkey the night before and take it to work for breakfast every day. Works if you have access to a microwave (not sure if that counts under "cooking" for you or not).
posted by Kosh at 4:40 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fyi a bunch if these egg recipes would work with egg whites, too, if you're watching your cholesterol.
posted by Lieber Frau at 5:38 PM on March 22, 2013

eggs and yogurt and nuts/nut butter are my favorite "real food" approaches to this, and you probably won't be interested but i'll throw it out there: i am so not a morning person at all either, and starting weightlifting meant i HAD to get a buncha protein sans carbs in me pronto in the morning, and the most don't-think-about-it approach was just buying whey protein isolate (do some research; some are loaded with icky sweeteners), sticking it in a drinking vessel that could be sealed so i could shake it, add flavors of choice if desired, and then in the morning tossing milk in and shaking and drinking. 30 grams of protein, buncha nutrients (calcium, iron) and pretty much no starch, boom. and very portable (i sometimes toss the same bottle of stuff in my gym bag for the afternoon and then add water and drink in the car on the way home). for the fruit/veggie aspect, just also bring um, fruits or veggies (apple, pear, peach, etc.) separately, bagged if necessary (celery, tomato, etc.) ahead of time.
posted by ifjuly at 7:01 PM on March 22, 2013

Some great suggestions to try here! For quick pre-packaged stuff, Atkins has a pretty good variety of low-carb bars and shakes which I'm assuming are low starch as well.
posted by platinum at 10:28 PM on March 22, 2013

Quest bars are low carb, filling, and delicious.
posted by heavenstobetsy at 4:54 AM on March 23, 2013

Take one cantaloupe, chop in half, seed, and put cottage cheese where the seeds were. Top with a few almonds. Don't even need to bring a bowl!
posted by bfranklin at 6:34 AM on March 23, 2013

I've made crustless quiche with sauteed vegetables added but substituted cottage cheese (4% not lowfat) for the cream. Wish I could find the recipe! Makes a great breakfast, delicious cold.
posted by belau at 8:31 AM on March 23, 2013

Bacon keeps really well after you cook it, if you're so inclined. Most leftovers from dinner work for this surprisingly well as well.
posted by talldean at 6:24 PM on March 23, 2013

Buy a shaker bottle like this. Make breakfast smoothies or protein shakes in your blender at home, pour it into the bottle and go. Super fast and very portable. (Says the lady who drinks breakfast in her car every morning)
posted by metahawk at 6:46 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, when you live alone, you can get away with some remarkably lazy breakfasts:

- Thick slab of cheddar cheese with peanut butter spread directly on it.
- Thick slice of ham with a dollop of mayonnaise and mustard on it, eaten like a fruit roll-up
- Big handful of mixed nuts
- Slices of kielbasa or pepperoni or other pre-cooked deli meat
- Fruit

The first two came when I had a revelation that I was only using bread as a means to convey food to mouth, and why bother, just eat the food straightaway.
posted by PercussivePaul at 1:21 AM on March 24, 2013

Lots of awesome ideas here. Thanks everyone!

I'd also like to add that while looking for more info on the Lära Bars that swisstine mentioned, I came across these recipes for similar homemade bars. (Which, now that I look at it, are basically the same as specialagentwebb's suggestion.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:15 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, Percussive Paul reminds me, you can do those trashy retro ham and cream cheese roll-ups ahead of time and bag/tupperware 'em, sliced or no.
posted by ifjuly at 9:20 AM on March 24, 2013

Greek Yogurt for sure, also try hard boiled eggs with salsa and a bit of shredded cheese.
posted by Pradeep_Nagappa at 2:49 PM on March 27, 2013

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