If you’re among the many who sacrifice the first meal of the day for more time in the morning, we have solutions to start the day strong with easy breakfast ideas for busy days.
We know that eating a healthy breakfast is important for our well-being and vitality.
But with so many time demands, it’s easy to make excuses and ditch good intentions – like eating healthy – for a few extra minutes before leaving home.
Lack of time and no appetite in the morning are the main reasons given for skipping brekkie. But have some workarounds for both, so you can start your day fully charged!
Now let’s get cracking on seven breakfast basics for busy days.
Here’s what’s coming up:
Breaking the Fast
If skipping breakfast has become part of your morning routine, you’re extending your overnight fast period by at least a few hours.
Breaking the fast with a nutritious meal is important because it helps to start metabolism for the day and keeps circadian rhythms on track – and this translates into benefits like energy, mental clarity, and more.
The ideal morning meal is a combination of protein, fat, and carbs with a low glycemic load that helps maintain stable blood sugars.
Most plant based food have a low glycemic index such as many fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and whole grains along with other healthy options like cottage cheese, eggs, lean meat, and yogurt.
Let’s look at how to incorporate these healthy options when strapped for time.
1. Batch Cook and Freeze
For those days when you don’t have a minute to spare, having a stash of pre-made options on hand in the freezer is invaluable.
When you have time, bake or make a variety of your favorite easy morning meals then individually portion them and freeze.
Try any of the following recipes for some helpful suggestions:
- Assorted breakfast muffins
- Banana bread
- Crustless vegetable quiche
- Mini frittata bites
- Granola bars
- Sausage patties
- Sausage pinwheels
- Savory muffins
- Toast and egg cups
- Zucchini bread
For a quick and easy bite, take a single portion from the freezer the night before to thaw by morning – if you forget, just pop a portion into the microwave in the morning while you’re getting ready.
One of our favorite make-ahead, family-friendly meal ideas are breakfast burritos. They’re easy to make a large batch to wrap individually and freeze. And they can be customizable with everyone’s preferred savory fillings, with options to easily adapt them to a vegetarian diet.
2. Clean, Prep, and Plan
Doing a bit of prep and planning in advance can help ensure you have time in the morning for something to eat – even if it’s only a quick bite.
And having everything ready and waiting makes it easy to grab something on the go, like a piece of fruit and some nuts.
Try these ideas to streamline your mornings.
- Wash your produce when it comes home from the store and before it gets put away. Having clean fruit and veggies in the fridge or fruit bowl makes it easy to grab a piece on the fly.
- Chop extra vegetables and some fruit when making dinner, then save them in the fridge in a sealed container. Use diced pieces in an omelet or oatmeal, or spread fruit and veggies sticks with almond butter, cream cheese, or fresh goat cheese to munch in the morning.
- Hard boil a bowl of eggs for a good source of protein then pair up with an apple or banana for an easy on-the-go meal.
- Combine smoothie ingredients like berries, fruit, power greens, and protein powder (if desired) into a large blending container and refrigerate overnight. Quickly whiz them up in the morning with an immersion blender for a fast, nutritious start.
Eliminating decisions about what to eat is another easy time-saving way to salvage minutes.
To simplify morning routines, make a daily menu of your favorite foods, then shop and stock the fridge and freezer for each day – you’ll love the extra time and reduced stress of sticking to a pre-set menu.
3. Prepare Menu Meals the Night Before
If you have a planned menu, you already know what you’ll eat in the morning – prepping the specific cookware, dishes, and ingredients needed is another timesaver.
Pull out and arrange any mixing bowls, pans, pots, and utensils close to where they’ll be used – such as on the stovetop or cutting board.
Do the same for any dry ingredients that don’t require refrigeration, like bread, oats, seeds, seasonings, and so on. Measure out the ingredients and place in one or two covered holding bowls to save morning minutes.
Prep foods that need chilling for your morning meal, as well.
Arrange together the fridge items you’ll use, like cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt, fruit, and so on, and trim, chop, or slice as needed.
For example, If you’re having scrambled eggs or an easy omelet, beat the eggs lightly and store overnight in an airtight container along with small sealed containers of prepped veggies or grated cheese.
You could also measure out grated cheese for a breakfast casserole or mash avocados with a squeeze of lime juice to spread on toast, storing them in small containers until morning.
If yogurt is your thing, make a fruit salad parfait in a jar and chill overnight, then top it with a measure of nuts and seeds in the morning.
To encourage the practice of sitting down for your meal, put out place settings and dishes before going to bed.
4. Reset The Kitchen
Few things are as offsetting to prepping a meal as entering a kitchen with mounds of dirty dishes or counters covered in crumbs, stuck-on food, and used utensils.
A choatic or cluttered kitchen can add to anxiety levels and even lead us to making unhealthy food choices.
But you can enhance a sense of calm and focus by resetting your kitchen each evening after dinner.
Once your evening meal is finished, put foods back into cupboards or the fridge, load the dishwasher, wash pots and pans, clean countertops, and place clean, small appliances where they can be reached easily.
By keeping things organized, you eliminate wasted time trying to find items and reduce the chances of bailing on breakfast because the cookware you want is dirty.
Kitchen cleanup chores might not be fun, but an evening reset is a routine that pays big dividends in the morning.
5. Quick and Easy Does It
Throughout the week, keep your morning meals simple and easy.
Set a weekly menu, have your kitchen stocked with the needed foods, and stick to your plan.
Try to keep prep time to five minutes or less and remember that your morning meal doesn’t need to be fancy – as long as it’s nourishing and provides slow-burning energy, you’re doing great.
Save more elaborate fare for the weekend and double up on batch sizes so you can add to your stock of frozen noshables. This is easy to do with options like breakfast muffins or cookies, items you can make a lot of all at once.
And try to think outside of the breakfast box – nutritious options like a quick-to-assemble turkey sandwich with power greens on whole grain bread is perfectly acceptable and fast to start the day.
6. Make It To Go
For those mornings without a minute to spare, take your breakfast with you.
Frozen options are great for this, or assemble a jar of overnight oats or yogurt with some fruit and seeds – pop on a lid and have it when you get to work or school.
For commuters, hearty items like a muffin or homemade fruit and chocolate granola bars can be discreetly, and cleanly, enjoyed during their travels.
7. Whet Your Appetite
For those with no appetite in the a.m., changing your nighttime routines can be beneficial.
Try to eat earlier in the evening and avoid large, late dinners or snacking at night so that your stomach is empty by morning.
And if food is unappealing when you awaken, try a liquid meal like a power-packed smoothie made with power greens and fruits. Our peaches ‘n greens smoothie provides all the benefits of healthy greens along with sweet, natural fruit flavors.
Even something as simple as a small glass of a homemade vegetable and fruit juice with a few nuts on the side can boost your metabolism until you feel hungry.
If nothing works, aim for a mid-morning snack for fuel and energy. We have plenty of ideas for you to save in our healthy snack roundup!
With a little planning and advance prep work, you can make the time needed to have breakfast – even on the busiest days.
Decide on a menu for the week then prep ingredients and set out cookware the night before, or have the freezer stocked with premade meal portions to streamline your morning minutes.
Keep the kitchen clean and organized and stick to simplicity through the week to make the most efficient use of your time.
And if you have no appetite first thing, start your overnight fast earlier or try a liquid meal instead.
What are your workarounds for having breakfast when you’re busy? Tell us about them in the comments section below.
And for some fast and easy freezables to continue making your morning meals quick and easy, check out these recipes next from our collection of breakfast recipes:
- Simple Chocolate Chip Banana Breakfast Cookies
- Homemade Sausage Cheese Biscuits for a Quick and Easy Breakfast
- Mini Breakfast Quiches With a Puff Pastry Crust
Photos by Meghan Yager and Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published March 23, 2015. Last updated January 25, 2024.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.