If you’re a working parent — you’re no stranger to the morning rush — even if it does look a little different these days. Between getting the kids ready and managing your own work schedule, do you really have time for a quick, healthy breakfast?
Yes, you do! And we have a cache of healthy breakfast ideas that are easy to make in a pinch. Read on for nine easy, healthy breakfast recipes for busy parents.
Why breakfast is important (and not just for kids)
Breakfast lovers, rejoice! Research indicates your morning nosh could not only support your weight loss efforts, but it could also improve other health markers. Studies have shown that regularly eating breakfast is associated with increased glycemic control — an important factor in the prevention and management of diabetes and its precursor, prediabetes.1 Eating breakfast is also linked to increased mental alertness — and who doesn’t need that, especially in the morning?1
Eating breakfast regularly has also been shown to reduce the risk of obesity and weight gain. For instance, a 2018 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that people who eat breakfast daily tend to gain less weight over time than those who eat breakfast irregularly or skip it altogether.2 What’s more, the researchers found that breakfast eaters were more likely to have a smaller waist circumference and less belly fat — also known as visceral fat — the kind that can be detrimental to your health.2
So try to make a habit of eating a healthy breakfast every day — your waistline and other parts of you will thank you!
Quick, healthy breakfast ideas that satisfy
Eating a healthy breakfast doesn’t mean you have to spend oodles of time in the kitchen — or put up with bland, boring food. But it does mean you’ll probably need to do a bit of planning to make sure the meals you create are nutritionally balanced and easy to whip up in the morning — and, yes, that they’re delicious!
The key to quick healthy breakfasts, according to a working mom (and doctor) at Harvard Medical School, is to keep a combination of fruits and veggies, unprocessed grains, and healthy proteins and fats at the ready.3 Need some inspiration? We’ve rounded up nine fast, simple meals that will help you start your day right — and help keep you healthy at the same time!
Photo by Denis Tuksar on Unsplash
1. Breakfast smoothie
Nonfat plain yogurt, a splash of coconut or almond milk, fresh or frozen fruit and a handful of spinach whirled together in a blender make for a delicious, healthy breakfast you can take almost anywhere. Smoothies are also a great make-ahead item: Whip up a batch, divide among several single-serving glass jars and store in the freezer — they’re good to go whenever you need a quick breakfast or snack!
Pro tip: Replace the yogurt with a vanilla or chocolate Jenny Craig shake mix to make a creamy and protein-packed smoothie.
Photo by Kaitlyn Chow on Unsplash
2. Omelet in a mug
Yes, you can enjoy a hot egg breakfast wherever you may be! All you need is a microwave-safe coffee mug, a spritz or two of nonfat cooking spray, a fresh egg or egg substitute, and some spinach or other vegetables of your choice. Whisk the egg and veggies together in the mug (coat it with cooking spray first), microwave for a minute or two, then top with add-ons such as a little avocado, low-fat cheese or salsa. So easy, so yummy and so healthy! (Or try one of Jenny Craig’s simple, delicious egg meals, such as our Cheesy Egg & Bacon Skillet or our Frittata Egg White Sandwich. Low in calories but high in protein, they’re a delicious way to help you meet your weight loss goals!)
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3. Ricotta breakfast toast
Spread one slice of whole-grain toast with a bit of part-skim ricotta cheese and top with sliced strawberries and slivered almonds for a filling, sweet breakfast. If you’d prefer something savory, top the ricotta with sliced tomatoes and a little avocado.
Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash
4. Breakfast barley
Unless you have extra time in the morning (and who does?!), you’ll want to make this one ahead of time. Combine ½ cup pearl barley, ½ cup milk of your choice, some chopped fruit, sliced banana and a pinch of cinnamon in a saucepan and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the milk is absorbed. Let cool, divide into two to-go containers and place in the fridge. Voila: You’ve got two mornings covered!
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5. Yogurt parfait
The same glass jars you use for your breakfast smoothies work great for these, too. Layer nonfat plain Greek yogurt and ½ cup berries in a jar, then top with ¼ cup natural granola and a teaspoon or so of sliced almonds. To make your mornings even more streamlined, prep a few of these ahead of time so they’re ready to grab and go.
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6. Overnight oats
There’s nothing simpler than overnight oats! Simply place ½ cup rolled oats, ½ cup milk of your choice, and fruit such as raspberries, chopped apple or mango chunks in a jar and refrigerate overnight — no cooking required! (If you opt for soft fruits, such as berries or mango, we recommend using frozen fruit to help keep them from getting too soggy.) For variety, try adding some nutmeg or vanilla extract, and top with a few unsalted pistachios or pumpkin seeds just before eating for a bit of crunch. (Or try our delicious Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal or our Blueberry & Oats Square for an even simpler breakfast to go!)
Photo by Leilani Angel on Unsplash
7. Eggs on the go
Two hardboiled eggs, one slice of whole-wheat toast with a shmear of avocado and one small orange make for a speedy breakfast complete with protein, fruit, and healthy carbs and fat!
Photo by leonori on iStock
8. Sweet or savory cottage cheese
Brimming with protein and calcium, low-fat cottage cheese is a morning-meal dream! Top with chopped apple and cinnamon for a sweet twist; if you’re in the mood for something savory, try cherry tomatoes and a grind or two of sea salt and black pepper.
Photo by TARN BENJA on Unsplash
9. Whole-wheat waffle with nut butter and banana
Toast a whole-wheat waffle and spread with a teaspoon or so of peanut or almond butter and sliced banana, then drizzle with a bit of honey. So hearty and so filling! (Tip: Waffles are also super easy to make from scratch! Whip up a batch and throw them in the freezer — they’re great for breakfast, lunch or dinner!). Following Jenny Craig? Our Classic Waffles paired with our Breakfast Syrup are the perfect way to start your day!
As a busy working parent, you might be inclined to put the needs of your family well ahead of your own — or to even neglect your health. But it’s so important to take good care of yourself … and that means committing to eating a healthy breakfast every day. We hope these delicious, quick healthy breakfasts make it easy for you to do just that!
Finding it hard to juggle work and weight loss? Jenny Craig can help! Our delicious meals take mere minutes to prepare and take the guesswork out of meal planning. Get started today!
Carole Anderson Lucia
Carole is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California who specializes in health and wellness topics. Her work has appeared in Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Mom & Baby, Yahoo News, Viv magazine and Lifescript. She's won several national awards for her work including a National Science Award and two National Health Information awards. A frequent contributor to Jenny Craig’s Blog, Healthy Habits, she enjoys gardening, spending time at the beach and adopting far too many rescue animals in her spare time.
Favorite healthy snack: jicama dipped in homemade hummus
Reviewed by Briana Rodriquez, RDN
Briana is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, California. She is passionate about utilizing food as functional and preventative medicine. Guided by a simplistic and optimistic approach, Briana’s philosophy is to help people improve their health and achieve their goals through the development of sustainable habits to live a healthy life. In her free time, you can find her strength training, indoor cycling, coffee tasting, and at local eateries with her husband and two dogs.
Favorite healthy snack: Peanut butter with celery alongside a grapefruit-flavored sparkling water (so refreshing!)
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and was written by an experienced health and lifestyle contributor and fact-checked by Briana Rodriquez, RDN, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Jenny Craig.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content.
All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig