a nutrition series by Michelle Chappel
As promised, I’m going to continue talking meal prep and share some of my favorite breakfast prep. Sure, breakfast can be quick and easy. It really doesn’t take that long to cook an egg, but if you’re like me and prefer to wait until the last minute to run out the door with breakfast in hand then keep reading for ways to cut down on your morning tasks and leave more time to sip your coffee.
There are a few different ways to think about breakfast. Some prefer hearty, warm, and sweet, while others prefer light. No matter which way you lean it’s all about making it hold you over. Balanced breakfast is just as important as a balanced dinner. Including protein, fat and carbohydrates is the way to start your day.
Let’s talk eggs.
Are you an egg sandwich fan? Often find yourself hitting the drive-through for a bacon egg and cheese? Want to know a secret? Those eggs are not cooked fresh. The idea of microwaving an egg might sound disgusting to you but I have to say a fried egg or baked egg actually heats up quite well in the microwave if you’re not over doing it. Just a quick zap to warm it up will do the trick.
Whole eggs are rich in nutrients. Not only are they a complete source of protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids, they also have hard to get vitamins such as D and B12.(1) Making eggs an excellent addition for the ovo-vegetarian. Eggs are a great option post workout as one large egg contains about 6-7g or protein.
Here are four ways to meal prep eggs:
- Bake in a muffin tin or you can purchase an egg tin, similar to a muffin pan just shallower to allow a thinner egg. All you need to do is spray your tin, crack an egg into each spot and bake at 305 for 13-15 min or until the yolks are cooked through. These eggs are prefect for homemade egg sandwiches. Just toast some bread, microwave the egg, add on a slice of cheese, meat of choice, maybe an avocado, tomato, or all, and you’re on your way.
- Mini egg bites. Again, these little bites are the latest drive-through craze. Even better to make them ahead and have for the week. Similar to baked eggs you’ll mix eggs, toppings of choice (meat, cheese, veggies), and fill a muffin tin. Start by spraying your tin. Mix eggs, milk, and salt and pepper. Then fill each tin with about 1 tbs of fillings and a sprinkle of cheese. Pour the egg mixture into each slot leaving a little room at the top. Bake at 350 for about 20 min. These reheat nicely in the microwave and only takes about 30 seconds.
- Hard boiled eggs. Sometimes you just want an egg and that’s it. Hard boil a few eggs and store in the fridge for another protein rich on-the-go breakfast item or anytime snack. So easy to have on hand.
- This one is one of my favorites: breakfast burritos. Grab some tortillas, fill them with any combination of scrambled eggs, beans, veggies, potatoes (precooked), cheese and meat. Just remember you need to be able to roll it up, so don’t over fill. These freeze nicely in a freezer bag or keep some fresh in the fridge for the week ahead. Just a couple minutes in the microwave and you’ve got yourself another handheld breakfast to go.
Another perfect breakfast meal prep idea is Overnight Oats.
There are so many variations, you can have a different flavor every day! You can even choose different mix-ins to fit your training schedule. Before training, focus on adding in fruit, dried fruit, maybe a little honey or maple syrup. If you’re doing a longer, more intense workout you’ll need those additional carbohydrates on top of the oats. Mixing in a little nuts and seeds for healthy fats and protein will make your oats a balanced meal. If you’re eating after training, you’ll want to mix in a little extra protein. Mix in nuts, seeds, a drop of nut butters for extra protein and some healthy fats, then mix in some vitamin C rich fruit such as berries for a boost of antioxidants. You can even add in a drop of greek yogurt for extra protein or a scoop of Thorne protein powder. Even though they’re meant to be eaten cold I can’t help but turn to oatmeal when the weather gets cooler. Something about oats just fits with fall.
Overnight oats are one of the easiest breakfast meal preps. All you need is some sealable containers (jars are my personal favorite) and a variety of mix-ins. The overnight soaking is what “cooks” the oats making them easily digestible while still retaining the max amount nutrients. Oats are loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals in addition to their fiber content. They contain B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. The soluble fiber absorbs water and becomes a viscous gel as it moves through the GI tract.(2) The water-soluble properties of beta-glucan help to control blood sugar by slowing down digestion. This action can be helpful for people with diabetes maintain better glycemic control.(3) The soluble fiber in oats has also been shown to decrease low-density lipoproteins leading to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Not to mention a high fiber diet has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. The American Herat Association recommends adults eat 25-30 grams of fiber a day.(4) A 1/2 cup of dry oats contains 4 grams of fiber. Increase the amount of fiber by adding in berries, apples, seeds, and nuts.
Follow this simple recipe for the base of your overnight oats and then switch up the flavor with one these four mix-in combinations.
Basic overnight oats:
• 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
• 1 tbs chia seeds
• 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 2/3 cup milk of choice
• Optional 1/4 cup greek yogurt
Mix the dry ingredients in a jar, give it a good shake to disperse the chia seeds and cinnamon. Pour in milk and yogurt and stir. Seal it up and let it sit overnight. In the morning top off with a drizzle of maple syrup or any other fresh ingredients and enjoy.
Variations: Follow the base recipe and add in.
(option to skip the cinnamon in the base recipe for this variation)
• Sliced fresh strawberries
• Tbs sunflower seeds
• Lemon zest
• Diced apples
• Chopped walnuts
• Top off with 2 tbs of applesauce in the am
Chocolate Banana Bread:
• 1/2 banana, mashed or cut into chunks
• 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
• Chopped walnuts
• Chocolate chips, optional
• 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice & clove)
• 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
• 1 tbs maple syrup
• Chopped pecans
- Réhault-Godbert, Sophie et al. “The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits for Human Health.” Nutrients vol. 11,3 684. 22 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11030684
- Hou Q, Li Y, Li L, Cheng G, Sun X, Li S, Tian H. The metabolic effects of oats intake in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2015 Dec 10;7(12):10369-87.
- Krauss RM, Eckel RH, Howard B, et al. AHA Dietary Guidelines: revision 2000: a statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2000;102(18):2284-2299.