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5 Must-haves for a healthy breakfast

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

5 healthy breakfast staples

Getting your day off on the right foot has so much to do with the breakfast you eat. We know it's tough to put a healthy breakfast together as you are rushing around trying to get the kids ready for school and yourself (and, yes, sometimes your husband) ready for work. But if you plan ahead, you can toss together a healthy new breakfast each day of the workweek without much fuss. Stock up on these five must-haves for a healthy breakfast and start your day off right!

Healthy breakfast spread

1Fruit

Fruit is the ultimate grab-and-go food, so if you're in a total rush and have no time for anything else, at the very least, grab an apple or a banana to eat in the car/on the subway… or first thing when you get to the office. If you have a little more time on your hands, toss together your favorite fruits, juice or milk, yogurt, a few spoonfuls of wheat germ, and a few ice cubes for a delicious sip-able breakfast that's also very portable. Just don't forget to pack it in a thermos-style cup to keep it nice and cold.

2Protein

Think a traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs is bad for you? With a few twists, it's actually a protein-packed meal that will keep you energized and full until lunchtime. For every egg you make, add two egg whites. Add flavor without any additional fat by tossing in a few spoonfuls of salsa or even pesto. Instead of fatty bacon, choose center-cut bacon, which maintains the taste and texture of real bacon but with much less fat. You can enjoy about three pieces for just 70 calories and 4.5 grams of fat, but take note: the sodium content is very high, so treat bacon as an indulgence. Keep in mind that milk products are a great source of protein as well, so sip a glass of skim milk or add a swipe of non-fat cream cheese to a whole grain bagel.

3Whole grains

Bagels, and bread products in general, have gotten a bad rap too, but whole grains are not just an important part of a healthy breakfast, they are an important element of any meal. Luckily, whole grains are available in almost any form now, and it's nearly unrecognizable in tasty treats like whole grain waffles and whole grain "white" breads for those little skeptics at your breakfast table. To help your whole grains hold you through lunchtime, add a slice of thin low-cal deli ham or turkey to a piece of whole grain toast with a slice of non-fat cheese and a skillet "fried" (use non-stick cooking spray instead of oil) egg/egg white combo.

4Vegetables/vegetable juice

There are countless ways to add veggies to your breakfast. Make an egg white omelet with onions, spinach, zucchini and broccoli; pack a whole grain pita pocket with scrambled eggs, turkey or center-cut bacon, and lots of thinly sliced tomatoes for a hand-held breakfast; or sip low-sodium vegetable juice along with any healthy breakfast for an AM dose of veggies.

5Healthy on-the-go options

Let's face it: Despite your best efforts, some mornings you simply need to grab something to eat on the run or – gasp! – roll through the drive-thru. Pack your pantry with healthy take-and-go items such as granola bars, individual nut/dried fruit packets, and load your fridge with individual fruit/veggie smoothies (just be sure to check the sugar content of these store-bought varieties before you buy them), as well as squeezable yogurt tubes and 100 percent juice boxes or small milk containers for the kids. If you make a fast food stop, choose wisely. Many fast food chains now have a variety of options to choose from.

More breakfast ideas

5 Breakfast recipes both Mom and kids will love
5 Ways to get kids to eat breakfast
7 Brain-boosting breakfast ideas for kids

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