Making time for the most important meal of the day

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(Illustration by Jacob Larson | The Collegian)

Breakfast; we love it, but almost everyone says that they do not have time for it. I am here to tell you that you do have time. Whether you prefer prepping the night before, setting aside extra time to cook in the morning or having breakfast on the run, I have some Food Network-worthy ideas for you.

Why you need it

Breakfast gives you the energy you need. The nutrients you consume within 30 minutes after waking up set your metabolism for the entire day. Some people who skip breakfast, often those on diets, tend to overeat later on.

A study at Imperial College in London observed how eating patterns changed when participants skipped breakfast from when they ate it. Tony Goldstone, lead author of the study, used MRI brain scans to do this.

“We found ample evidence that fasting made people hungrier, and increased the appeal of high-calorie foods and the amount people ate,” Goldstone said.

Besides your metabolism, eating breakfast can also help protect your body from infections.

Let’s be honest, you could miss an entire week of classes in high school and catch up without breaking a sweat. Then there is college.

If I miss even one class I feel like I am going to fail. In any event, being sick is not on many college bucket lists. Eating breakfast can help you avoid having to pencil in getting sick.

Research at the School of Psychology at Cardiff University found that participants that did not eat breakfast were more likely to developed more than one illness during the study. The study was only 10 weeks. That is a lot of sickness.

The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to eat a protein-packed breakfast every day, and I have four easy ways to do this. Yes, it is possible even as a college student.

Overnight oats


Overnight oats are a big Pinterest fad right now, but it is not an overrated fad. Whoever came up with this meal was a very smart human.

This is the perfect breakfast for people who do not have time cook in the morning, because you prepare this meal the night before.

I like to prepare my oats in mason jars and then I can literally grab it from the fridge in the morning as I run out the door. My favorite flavor to make is peanut butter and banana, but this recipe is so versatile, so feel free to play with flavors until you find your favorite too!

Ingredients:

¼ cup old fashioned oats

¼ cup cooked quinoa (an ancient grain, rich in protein)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

½ cup milk (whole, almond, skim, 2 percent – whatever you have on hand!)

1 teaspoon honey

½ banana; mashed

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flax seed – optional (adds extra fiber and a different texture)

Directions:


1. In a small bowl, combine oats, quinoa, salt, and flax seed (if using)

2. In another bowl, mix peanut butter, honey, banana, and milk.

3. Pour the milk mixture into the oat mixture – stir to combine.

4. Place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning you can either eat it cold, or zap it in the microwave and eat it warm. I like both methods equally, it is nice to change it up between cold and hot breakfast cereal.

This recipe has about 20 grams of protein, so I usually eat mine with a cup of milk – either drinking it on the side, pouring it over my oats or some of both.

Greek yogurt or cottage cheese


Protein should be the ringleader of your breakfast. Experts suggest eating nearly 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Traditionally, Americans consume very little protein at breakfast, a little more at lunch and then they load up on it at dinner, according to the Imperial College study.

A study conducted at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas led by muscle metabolism expert Doug Paddon-Jones, proved that distributing protein throughout the day was the way to go. According to the study, Paddon-Jones found that this style of protein consumption was optimal for muscle growth and calorie control, and suggested swapping out your typical-morning carbohydrate with a high-protein food.

“You don’t have to eat massive amounts of protein to maximize muscle synthesis, you just have to be a little more thoughtful with how you apportion it,” Paddon-Jones said.

My favorite protein go-to’s are Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Traditional, non-fat Greek yogurt contains 17 grams of protein, per 8 ounce serving. Add this yogurt to a parfait, a smoothie or by itself, and you are set for the day. The idea of cottage cheese for breakfast may sound off-putting, but it is actually quite delicious. You can make it sweet with berries, a little cinnamon-sugar or savory with salt and pepper and tomatoes. One cup of low-fat cottage cheese has a whopping 28 grams of protein. Seriously, just think about it.

Protein shakes


Let me be the first to say that protein shakes are not my thing. I am a huge texture person and I have never been able to get myself past the chalky texture of protein-powder drinks. That being said, I have discovered a couple of tricks because I have two 17-year-old brothers, and those growing boys need all the protein they can get.

This usually involves me sneaking extra protein powder into their diet. My favorite way to do this is through iced coffee. I blend fresh coffee with one scoop of chocolate-protein powder, milk and chocolate syrup. The syrup just makes the drink easier to sell. Voila! You have a protein-packed, “mocha.” Every protein powder contains different amounts of protein, but most run around 20 grams, with some running as high as 26 grams per serving. When you add that to the 8 grams of protein in milk, you can feel confident running out the door.

Eggs


If you have time to make yourself a breakfast in the morning, eggs are always a good idea. One egg has a little over 6 grams of protein. Three eggs may sound like a lot, but it will amaze how much energy they will give you. I like turning mine into an omelet or scrambled eggs, but my favorite way is serving them on avocado toast.

Spread mashed avocado over a piece of whole grain toast, top with sliced tomatoes and your eggs. Pro tip: a sprinkle of salt and pepper on the top, or sriracha if you are feeling spicy, takes this open-faced sandwich to the next level. Complete your sandwich with a glass of milk, and you have your lucky 30.

No matter how you fit it in your life, breakfast is important and definitely an element you should make time for. Just think of it as eating your way to a happier and healthier lifestyle, one jar of overnight oats at a time.

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