Meal prepping is often associated with office lunches and weeknight dinners. But if you consider when you feel most pressured to eat quickly and get going, it might be breakfast time.
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When you're in a time crunch, a doughnut on the way to work is awfully tempting, yet doesn't do any favors for your health or your wallet. And that's why meal prepping for breakfast is such a good idea.
"Mornings are hectic, but there are many foods you can prep in advance to ensure you eat a healthy, balanced breakfast before you get out the door," Jessica Levinson, RDN and author of 52-Week Meal Planner, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Yet, successful meal prepping — at any time of day — requires more than just having an idea of what you might like to eat every morning.
Breakfast Meal Prep Tips
Levinson recommends taking time over the weekend — or whenever you feel like you have a little bit of extra time, which might be on a weeknight that's free from social obligations — to plan out your meals for the week.
"Once you have a menu in place, you can organize your grocery list to fill in the foods that you need," Levinson says. "Take a look at the menu and break down what can be prepared in advance." Other ways to keep your meal prep from becoming overwhelming include:
- Prep ingredients instead of full meals. A major benefit of meal prepping is not having to think about what you're going to eat every day. But if you're the type who gets bored by the same meals day in and day out, prep ingredients instead of full meals, suggests Hilary Pride, RDN, CPT. For example, you could scramble up a pan of eggs, wash and chop fruit and prepare and portion steel-cut oatmeal. Each day, choose what you'd like from a bevy of single ingredients rather than being married to egg muffins for 5 days straight.
- Take advantage of kitchen tools. If you have a slow cooker, don't take time out of your busy day to do the cooking. Try cooking oatmeal overnight in the slow cooker, suggests The American Council on Exercise (ACE). In the morning, the oats will be ready to go — just add berries, chia seeds or any other of your favorite wholesome toppings.
- Invest in quality containers. Once your meals are prepped, you'll need containers in a variety of sizes to store them in. Pick 24-ounce containers for full meals, like smoothie bowls or egg dishes, and 1/2 cup or 1 cup sizes for cut fruit, yogurt or nuts and seeds, the ACE suggests.
Healthy Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas
1. Everyday Green Smoothie
Waking up to a smoothie allows you to get a jumpstart on your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. "My favorite way to prep for smoothies is to load up reusable containers with my favorite ingredients and keep them in the fridge or freezer to make morning breakfast prep a breeze," Pride says. "All I have to do is add the contents of my container, my favorite milk or juice and a scoop of protein powder to my blender."
Get the Everyday Green Smoothie recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Cauliflower Crust Quiche
"Americans typically get enough protein in their diet but typically backload it during the day," says Julie Harrington, RD. "Consuming protein at breakfast increases the release of satiety hormones, helping you feel fuller for longer." Just one slice of this quiche packs in an impressive 17 grams of protein.
Get the Cauliflower Crust Quiche recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Four-Ingredient Banana Pancakes
Eating too much sugar in one meal can lead to a blood sugar spike and, eventually, a mid-morning sugar crash, per the Cleveland Clinic. That's why we love these four-ingredient pancakes: They have just 11 grams of natural sugar from bananas and boast both protein and fiber thanks to the eggs and oats. Plus, they can be made on the weekend and frozen in single servings for the week ahead.
Get the Four-Ingredient Banana Pancakes recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Breakfast Burrito
If you have leftover meat in your fridge, make breakfast burritos. Add in eggs, diced potatoes, tomatoes and cheese in a whole-grain tortilla for a filling, protein-rich breakfast that also happens to freeze beautifully.
This meal offers 29 grams of protein. A February 2015 study in Hormone Research in Paediatrics found that a high-protein breakfast can help you eat less later in the day by regulating appetite hormones.
Get the Steak Breakfast Burrito recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Overnight Chia Oats
This recipe calls for pea milk, but you can use skim, soy, almond, coconut or another choice. But, don't skip the chia and hemp seeds, both of which are a vital part of what makes these overnight oats so nutritious. These seeds contain omega-3 fats, which are linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Get the Overnight Chia Oats recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Baked Pancakes
Pancakes can be nourishing if you choose the right ingredients. "Leaning on whole-wheat flour and choosing mix-ins that are nutrient-dense like flaxseed or chia seeds can elevate your pancakes in the nutrition department," Lauren Manaker, RD, says.
Get the Baked Pancakes recipe and nutrition info from Six Sisters' Stuff.
7. Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Bake
"This vegan-friendly oatmeal bake is packed with good-for-you ingredients like oats and fruit," Manaker says. "And using sweeteners like maple syrup adds some important antioxidants into the mix, too."
Get the Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Bake recipe and nutrition info from Lexi's Clean Kitchen.
8. Cheesy Salsa Egg Muffins
Eggs are chock-full of nutrients and very versatile. "Eggs offer high-quality protein and important nutrients like iodine and choline," Manaker says. "And cheese contains bone-building calcium, while veggies pack in fiber, vitamins and minerals."
Get the Cheesy Salsa Egg Muffins recipe and nutrition info from Eat Yourself Skinny.
9. Mini Chickpea Flour Frittatas
"Chickpea flour is a gluten-free ingredient that is packed with antioxidants," Manaker says. Not to mention, any breakfast loaded with veggies, like this one, is a great source of vitamins and minerals, as well as gut health-supporting fiber.
Get the Mini Chickpea Flour Frittatas recipe and nutrition info from The Simple Veganista.
10. Easy Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are a great go-to when you have a busy morning. "Oats contain two types of fiber, so eating this dish can support your gut health while keeping you feeling full," Manaker says.
Get the Easy Overnight Oats recipe and nutrition info from Natasha's Kitchen.
11. Keto Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
You don't have to be on the keto diet to enjoy this wholesome bowl. Using ingredients like hemp hearts and chia seeds gives this dish a boost of healthy fats, Manaker says. "And Greek yogurt gives this dish some live and active cultures, which can help support gut health."
Get the Keto Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl recipe and nutrition info from That Low Carb Life.
12. Spinach Quiche
"Since classic pie crusts can be heavy, swap the crust for some crushed walnuts for a similar crunch, but with a boost of healthy fats and fiber," Manaker suggests. You can also lighten up this dish by using milk instead of heavy cream.
Get the Spinach Quiche recipe and nutrition info from Once Upon A Chef.
13. Apple Cinnamon Smoothie
"Apples provide the fiber that helps you stay full throughout the day without a lot of calories," Illa Garcia, RD of Millennial Nutritionist says. And given the base of this smoothie is yogurt, you're getting added protein and probiotics, too.
Get the Apple Cinnamon Smoothie recipe and nutrition info from The Lemon Bowl.
14. Peanut Butter Banana Granola Yogurt Bowl
"Don't be afraid of the extra calories from peanut butter because it'll help you to stay full until lunchtime," Garcia says. Just be sure to be mindful of measurements so you don't take in more calories than allotted for.
Get the Peanut Butter Banana Greek Yogurt Bowl recipe and nutrition info from The Lemon Bowl.
15. Morning Glory Muffins
These muffins are the perfect way to take advantage of seasonal produce in the fall and winter months. To make this a well-balanced meal, pair your muffins with a source of protein such as a protein shake or eggs, Garcia suggests.
Get the Morning Glory Muffins recipe and nutrition info from The Cookie Rookie.
16. Keto Buttermilk Pancakes
These pancakes are keto-friendly because the batter is made with almond flour. But if you're not following a low-carb plan, try swapping some of the almond flour in this recipe for regular flour. Almond flour has more fat (and calories) per gram than wheat flour, so using a mix of both flours can help you take in fewer calories, Garcia says.
Get the Keto Buttermilk Pancakes recipe and nutrition info from Joy Filled Eats.
17. Peanut Butter Protein Bars
These bars have 3 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein thanks to all the grains. "If this is your breakfast, add a fruit and another protein item to make it more balanced and keep you full," Garcia suggests.
Get the Peanut Butter Protein Bars recipe and nutrition info from Well Plated.
18. Banana Nut French Toast Bake
"If you struggle getting protein for breakfast, this is a great recipe for you," Garcia says. "Whole-grain bread is a great source of fiber and protein and a lot of people don't realize that." This banana- and walnut-topped french toast is prepped and stored in a glass container, which means no-fuss cleanup.
Get the Banana Nut French Toast Bake recipe and nutrition info from The Lemon Bowl.
19. Peach Yogurt Parfait With Pistachios and Dark Chocolate
This parfait could be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert... the choice is yours. If you're digging into it in the morning, Garcia suggests doubling the recipe or adding a piece of whole-grain toast for more complex carbs.
Get the Peach Yogurt Parfait With Pistachios and Dark Chocolate recipe and nutrition info from The Creative Bite.
20. Healthy Gluten-Free Oatmeal Waffles
"Oats are versatile, easy and high in soluble fiber, meaning they'll keep you satisfied and help regulate blood sugar levels," Nicole Rodriguez, RD, says. To balance out this breakfast, serve with a side of scrambled eggs and veggies or a protein shake.
Get the Healthy Gluten-Free Oatmeal Waffles recipe and nutrition info from Lively Table.
21. Avocado Smoothie Bowl With Almonds and Mint
Including avocado and banana in your smoothie bowl ensures it'll be thick and luscious. These two ingredients are also loaded with potassium. Customize this bowl with your favorite toppings, just be sure to include some form of protein to keep you full until lunchtime.
Get the Avocado Smoothie Bowl With Almonds and Mint recipe and nutrition info here.
22. Vegan Banana-Berry Granola Parfait in a Jar
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 12 percent of Americans eat the daily recommended amount of fruit. Enjoying this parfait regularly will help improve that stat as one of these parfaits provides an entire day's worth of fruit.
Get the Vegan Banana-Berry Granola Parfait in a Jar recipe and nutrition info here.
23. Mason Jar Hemp Green Smoothie
Hemp seeds add a healthful fat to this green smoothie. Including healthy fats in your diet helps you absorb more carotenoids and fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A, D, E and K.
Get the Mason Jar Hemp Green Smoothie recipe and nutrition info here.
24. Italian-Style French Toast
Instead of loading up on sugar with traditional french toast, consider this savory version instead. This easy vegetarian breakfast is topped with tomatoes, which are full of the antioxidant lycopene and extra-virgin olive oil, which adds a touch of healthy fats.
Get the Italian-Style French Toast recipe and nutrition info here.
25. Overnight Peach Melba Oatmeal
To make these overnight oats, stir together oats, milk, vanilla Greek yogurt and a little honey, and then chill overnight. Then you'll wake up to a simple and balanced breakfast containing whole grains, dairy, fruit and nuts. For even more nutritional value, consider topping with flax seeds or chia seeds, too.
Get the Overnight Peach Melba Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
26. Big Stuffed Breakfast Soft Taco
To reduce the overall calories in this dish, consider using an 8-inch tortilla instead of a 10-inch. Or if you're looking to cut carbs, consider wrapping with lettuce or a collard leaf instead.
Get the Big Stuffed Breakfast Soft Taco recipe and nutrition info here.
27. Special-Occasion Vegetable Strata
This vegetarian-friendly casserole is filled with high-quality protein from the eggs, whole grains from the bread and loads of veggies. Feel free to customize with your favorite vegetables or use what you have in your refrigerator or freezer.
Get the Special-Occasion Vegetable Strata recipe and nutrition info here.
28. Overnight Egg Salad Toast
The combination of high-quality protein and dietary fiber in this breakfast should keep you satisfied until lunchtime. If you're looking to shave off some calories and fat, consider using light mayonnaise or swapping for Greek yogurt to bump up the protein.
Get the Overnight Egg Salad Toast recipe and nutrition info here.
29. Make-Ahead Vegetarian Breakfast Salad With Eggs
If you want to sneak more vegetables into your a.m., try a breakfast salad. To make this make-ahead salad a well-balanced meal, consider serving with whole-grain toast or adding a scoop or quinoa to add some slow-digesting carbohydrates.
Get the Make-Ahead Vegetarian Breakfast Salad With Eggs recipe and nutrition info here.
How to Meal Prep a Week's Worth of Quick Breakfasts
Meal prepping your breakfasts may require a small time investment up front, but it can save you both minutes and effort later.
Planning out a week's worth of a.m. meals can also help you actually use all the groceries you bought — no more veggies rotting in the crisper drawer! — and keep you from running to the supermarket too often. You're also more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan if you've got everything ready ahead of time.
Below, find out how to prep three delicious quick-and-easy breakfasts from start to finish — including what to shop for, how to prep the meals and tips on packing them for freshness. All of these recipes take no more than 10 minutes from fridge to plate! Prep them on a Sunday (or any other day you'd like) for a full week of breakfasts.
What You'll Need
This week, you'll be making Egg Veggie Pita Pizza, Pomegranate Berry Smoothie and Veggie Hash With Fried Egg.
All you need are eight ingredients (and a few more common staples listed in the recipes, such as oil and spices, you probably already have at home) to make all three recipes. Either buy these online or shop for them at your local grocery store.
Click here for a printer-friendly version of this week's grocery list!
- Plain kefir ($4.39, Amazon.com)
- No-added-sugar pomegranate juice ($20.88 per 6-pack, Amazon.com)
- Frozen berries ($3.38, Amazon.com)
- Eggs ($3.19, Amazon.com)
- Whole-wheat pita bread ($21.25 per 3-pack, Amazon.com)
- Bell pepper ($1.19, Amazon.com)
- Baby spinach ($2.29, Amazon.com)
- Onion ($0.72, Amazon.com)
Meal Prep Containers
Now that you've got your ingredients, you'll need some containers to pack your recipes in. The following work well with the three recipes we've provided as well as for other meal prep needs.
These recipes are all made using the grocery list above, but feel free to mix and match ingredients as you like.
To get an even better start on the week and cut down on cooking time, chop up all the vegetables at once and keep them in the refrigerator. Once you're ready to eat, simply grab what you need and cook!
1. Egg Veggie Pita Pizza
This Egg Veggie Pita Pizza is full of vital nutrients like dietary fiber and vitamin C from the vegetables as well as 13 essential vitamins and minerals plus 6 grams of lean protein from the egg. The best part: The runny yolk doubles as a delicious sauce.
Recipe yields 2 servings for 2 days of the week.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 whole-wheat pitas
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 eggs
- Turn on broiler to low. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
- Spread the oil on pitas and add pepper and onions.
- Crack an egg on top of each and place in oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the egg white is cooked and the yolk is set to desired runniness.
- Prepping some of the breakfast ingredients ahead of time will get your morning meal on the table even faster. The onions and bell peppers can be washed and chopped in advance — just keep them in a food container and they’ll be ready to go when you are.
- If the second serving is for a different day, do not add the egg on top. You can store the pita topped with vegetables in the refrigerator and when you're ready to eat, simply crack the egg and finish step three.
2. Pomegranate Berry Smoothie
This refreshing Pomegranate Berry Smoothie is power-packed with lean protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Paired with nutrient-rich berries, spinach and plain low-fat kefir — which is a cultured milk drink that's packed with protein, calcium and probiotics — this breakfast will kick off your day right. It's also a great choice pre- or post-workout thanks to the protein, carb and antioxidant content.
Recipe yields 2 servings for 2 days of the week.
- 1/2 cup no-added-sugar pomegranate juice
- 2/3 cup plain kefir
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1 cup baby spinach
- Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree together until smooth.
- Serve half into one glass.
To set up your smoothie ahead of time, place all the ingredients into the plastic pint freezer jars the night before and keep it in the fridge. To get your smoothie ready, simply pour it into the blender, puree and serve.
Place leftovers in the plastic pint jar and save in the refrigerator until you're ready to enjoy it. Feel free to add an ice cube or two and give it a quick whirl in the blender before drinking.
3. Veggie Hash With Fried Egg
This veggie hash is topped with a fried egg, which makes for a luscious sauce once you cut into that runny yolk. Savory breakfasts are a delicious way to start the day and you'll be happy knowing you've got a good dose of veggies in before lunch.
Recipe yields 3 servings for 3 days of the week.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
- 3 eggs
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil.
- Add pepper and onion and saute, about 2 minutes.
- Add baby spinach and cook for another minute. Move vegetable mixture to a plate.
- Place skillet back on the stove over medium-high heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
- Crack eggs into the skillet and fry till egg white cooked through and yolk set to desired runniness, about 2 minutes for sunny-side up with a runny yolk.
Prepping the vegetables in advance makes this meal super quick and easy. Feel free to cook all the vegetables ahead of time and save them in a container in the refrigerator — but do not cook the egg until you're ready to eat the remaining servings.
Simply heat up the leftover vegetables then fry the egg and voila, breakfast number two.
- ACE Fitness: "Meal Prepping 101: Tips and Tricks for Easy Meal Prep"
- Nutrition Journal: "A Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Trial to Assess the Acute Appetitive and Metabolic Effects of Sausage and Egg-based Convenience Breakfast Meals in Overweight Premenopausal Women"
- Hormone Research in Paediatrics: "High-Protein Breakfast Promotes Weight Loss by Suppressing Subsequent Food Intake and Regulating Appetite Hormones in Obese Chinese Adolescents"
- Cleveland Clinic: "The 5 Worst Breakfast Foods for You"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution"