When I worked in an office I preferred packing my breakfast during the week. The only hindrance was it was difficult for me to come up with “grab and go” options. I struggled with figuring out how to make a filling breakfast that would keep me satisfied until lunch. Over the years I have developed a few tactics to remedy this struggle and I’m sharing those tips today.
How to make a filling breakfast is not a fool-proof strategy. Some days a breakfast that is normally filling just won’t be enough. Good examples are when I had a high-intensity workout the day before or when I was pregnant and nursing – no amount of breakfast could keep me full! But there is hope.
In short, a filling breakfast should begin with high-quality, dense foods. Have you ever had a bowl of cereal and milk? Likely the cereal was something light such as Cheerios, and if you are like most adults, you are probably drinking skim milk or 1 percent milk. Without fat or protein you are left hungry a few hours later – or maybe even within the hour. I’m not here to bash milk or whole grain cereals – I still like and enjoy both – I just know that meal will not keep me full for very long and it’s better as a light snack.
This post will share filling breakfast ideas that can be molded into any lifestyle. While I now work from a home office and can prepare food that doesn’t need to be packed, I also have friends who work in offices and prefer to make and eat breakfast at home. Also, depending on my schedule I still like to have “grab and go” options available.
We’ve all heard about the importance of eating breakfast, and most intriguing to me is that “eating a good breakfast actually helps you eat fewer calories over the course of the day,” according to an article on WebMD. In this article, Elaine Magee, RD, suggests striving for breakfast combinations filled with fiber, protein and fruit. The fiber, protein and fruits selected should be low in fat and sugar. No matter what I try to tell myself, that cheese danish from Starbucks is never a good idea!
Here are a handful of filling breakfast ideas. Try one, or many. Find which options resonate with you for ease of preparation and for leaving you full. Also, be encouraged to modify. Spices can be added. Portion sizes can be changed and more – to make the breakfast more customized to you.
- Homemade Parfait: Top your favorite yogurt with granola (maybe even homemade). For a high-protein meal choose Greek Yogurt or plain whole-fat yogurt. Instead of choosing a yogurt with fruit or sugar added – add your own. Use honey or maple syrup for natural sweetness and top with fresh fruit. If you don’t have granola, Grape Nuts are a healthy alternative.
- Egg Sandwich: Use whole-grain English Muffins, add one egg and one slice of cheese for a wholesome breakfast sandwich. Need more? Add a slice of ham to the sandwich for more protein.
- Breakfast Burrito: I like to make these and wrap them in wax paper to eat later. Use whole wheat tortilla shells. Toppings can vary but typically include scrambled eggs and cheese along with spices and your choice of meat (optional). I have also made bean and cheese burritos and while I usually eat them for lunch they aren’t horrible for breakfast either! Just grab from the freezer and reheat.
- Easy Breakfast Bake: I like to make this one for dinner as well, but the leftovers and great for breakfast. There are many versions of this recipe but it’s basically a base made from crescent rolls, topped with eggs, ham and cheese. I like to make a large portion in a 13 by 9-inch glass pan so the leftovers last several days!
- Peanut Butter Toast: Use high-fiber, whole grain bread and natural peanut butter. Natural peanut butter needs to be mixed and then stored in the refrigerator. It should have no oils or sugars added. If one slice isn’t enough, try two.
- Cottage Cheese with Fruit: Make sure to get whole-milk cottage cheese. Top with fresh fruit or homemade jam. For a added boost eat some whole-wheat crackers, such as Triscuit crackers, on the side.
- Egg and Avocado Toast: Start by toasting one slice of whole-wheat bread. Then make one over-easy egg. Top the toast with the egg and then finish with some slices of fresh avocado. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Homemade Smoothie: In order to make a filling breakfast smoothie I would recommend adding at least a tablespoon of nut butter. You can also add protein powder. For eye health, add a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. Use whole-fat yogurt or kefir as the base. Then add as many fruits and leafy greens as you like. For natural sweetener use honey or real maple syrup.
- Homemade Oatmeal: Overnight oatmeal is portioned out the night before and left soaking in a liquid such as almond milk, and in the refrigerator. It sounds unappealing but it really isn’t bad especially in the summer if you want a cold breakfast. This oatmeal is often ate cold but you can warm it up too. All of the toppings are also added the night before. Alternatively, make fresh oatmeal. In both cases, be sure to use real whole-grain oats. Top with nut butter, chopped nuts or fresh fruit.
When making a filling breakfast, be strategic about the types of foods that make up that breakfast. Choose high-quality, whole foods. Also choose a combination of healthy fats (in moderation), protein and fiber – all of which will help keep you full. Lastly, we can often mistake thirst for hunger. Start your morning by drinking a large glass of water (yes, even before your coffee!).
In addition, if these breakfast ideas still do not fill you up enough – be okay with eating a morning snack. And drink some more water with that snack as well. I frequently eat a morning snack when I am planning a lunchtime workout. If it’s been four hours since breakfast I need another energy boost in order to complete a decent workout.
What are your “go to” filling breakfast ideas?
*This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.