Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it can often be the one that's hardest to fit into busy schedules. Even if you have time for breakfast, you may find yourself trading wholesomeness and quality for speed and convenience. However, having better-for-you breakfasts need not require a lot of time or effort. It can be as simple as making better and smarter choices.
"One of my favorite breakfasts is a bagel with cream cheese, but when I was looking to make healthier choices, I thought this was too indulgent," said New York Times best-selling author and food blogger Andie Mitchell. "In reality, it's about moderation and eating a whole wheat bagel with a natural cream cheese is a guilt-free breakfast option I love."
Here are five wholesome, yet easy breakfast options that can start your day off on the right nutritional foot:
1. Better-for-you bagel and cream cheese
Who doesn't love a good bagel? They're quick, convenient and delicious. They even have their own celebratory day - Feb. 9 is National Bagel Day. If you've been shying away from this traditional favorite thinking you don't need all the carbs of bagels and the additives in most cream cheeses, it's time to rethink your view. A whole grain bagel topped with a better-for-you spread, like Arla cream cheese, is a satisfying and delicious start to the day. Arla's cream cheeses (Original, Light, Herbs & Spices, Peppercorn and Blueberry) are free of artificial flavors, preservatives, thickeners and stabilizers. Visit www.ArlaUSA.com to learn more and to discover unique topping combinations from Blueberry cream cheese with smashed berries to Peppercorn cream cheese with Canadian bacon and cooked egg whites.
2. A better breakfast burrito
Classic breakfast burritos are filling, satisfying and nourishing, but unless you go the frozen route, you may not have the time to whip up a morning burrito. A faster, wholesome option awaits - simply top a whole-grain tortilla with your favorite Arla cream cheese, add fresh-sliced fruit such as kiwi, apple or banana, fold in half and enjoy!
3. Outstanding oatmeal
As breakfast cereals go, oatmeal is a nutritional champ. A 1-cup serving of plain oatmeal has about 150 calories, and it's loaded with nourishing fiber, protein and vitamin A. Add flavor with wholesome toppings like fresh berries, chopped apples, raisins or nuts. Here's even better news - plain instant oatmeal has the same basic nutritional value as the kind you slow-cook yourself, according to the USDA's Nutrient Database. However, be wary of flavored versions that may have a lot of added sugar.
4. Terrific toasts
A slice of toasted white bread slathered in butter isn't sufficient for a good breakfast, but you can take toast to the next level and create a morning meal that's tasty, wholesome and toasted. Start by toasting a slice of whole grain bread. Next spread on some protein - this could be a sugar-free peanut butter, almond butter or better-for-you cream cheese. Top with your favorite fruit or veggies. For example, banana slices go well with peanut butter; mango or kiwi cubes are yummy with light cream cheese; and tomato slices atop Arla's Peppercorn cream cheese make for a great wake-up call!
5. Easier eggs
Everyone knows eggs are a breakfast staple, but who has the time to prepare them in the morning when you're trying to get everyone out the door? You do! The microwave is your morning best friend, from reheating your coffee to whipping up delectable, easy and wholesome egg breakfasts. You can make scrambled eggs in minutes. Just crack an egg into a microwave-safe cup, add a tablespoon of water or milk, a dash of cayenne pepper and some salt, and a teaspoon or two of your favorite veggie finely diced, such as scallions, tomatoes or mushrooms. Top with a generous spoonful of shredded Havarti or Gouda cheese and microwave everything for 45 seconds. Stir and microwave for another 45 seconds until the eggs are set.
Breakfast doesn't have to be time-consuming or a disappointing compromise. A few better-for-you breakfast options can set a healthful, happy tone for the rest of your day.