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Breakfast may be considered the “most important meal of the day,” but it’s often the meal that’s eaten in a rush. Many of us rely on quick, pre-packaged solutions from the grocery and frozen aisles that don’t always offer much in the way of nutritional value. However, you don’t have to sacrifice convenience in the name of health. With a few small tweaks, those packaged breakfasts can become more nutritious and still be something you have time to eat.
Choose High-Fiber, Low-Sugar Cereal
Pour cereal, add milk and eat. It’s easy, yet may fall short in the nutrition department. Take the opportunity to go for high-fiber and lower-sugar cereals. Opt for varieties with 8g or less of sugar and the more fiber, the better. Wheat Chex, many varieties of Cheerios and Kashi cereals are a good way to start your morning. For an extra antioxidant (and fiber boost) add fresh fruit like sliced bananas or berries.
Use Breakfast Meats Including Sausage and Bacon Sparingly
Breakfast meats aren’t always ideal morning fare, but there are some high-quality options out there. Choose brands with ingredients you recognize and use them sparingly in dishes like like egg cups or savory oat bowls.
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Top Frozen Waffles with Yogurt and Fruit
Traditional frozen waffles can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry, so choose higher-fiber whole grain versions. Top with a few teaspoons of syrup or Greek yogurt and piles of fresh, high-fiber fruit like sliced pear or blackberries.
Try New Pancake Options
Packaged pancakes are famously high in sugar and sodium. Check ingredient lists to find a brand with more to offer. Kidfresh pancakes are spiked with veggie purees and have 8 grams of protein per serving. Slather those pancakes with nut butter for an even more satisfying morning meal.
Combine Instant Oatmeal Packets
These packets get a bad rap for being too sweet, but they can make a healthy breakfast. If your goal is to cut the sugar, mix flavored oatmeal packets with plain for a lower-sugar option. To further boost the nutrition prowess, prepare with milk instead of water, then add volume and even more fiber by mixing in fresh, chopped nuts or some chia or pumpkin seeds.
Opt for High-Protein Bagels
Packaged bagels often fall short in the good-for-you breakfast department, but Dave’s Killer Bread might change that. These bagels boast 11g of protein and high-fiber grains. Serve up these toasty treats with another protein pairing like eggs or Greek yogurt for a well-balanced meal.
Choose Smoothies You Need to Blend
Many packaged smoothies are sugar-spiked milkshakes in disguise. Daily Harvest smoothies are made of whole food ingredients and come frozen and ready blend, just add liquid of choice.
Avoid Pastries In Favor of High-Protein Options
Packaged pastries are famously high in unhealthy fats and sugar, basically no better than a drive thru window donut. To maximize your breakfast, opt for Kodiak Cakes Muffin Cups made with milk or soy milk instead of water and for an extra protein boost, enjoy with a hard-boiled egg.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.