Quick tips for a healthy breakfast

Oct 6, 2008 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Plenty of research has shown that breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. A morning meal keeps you fueled for the day and can even help you lose weight. Though you might be rushed in the morning, read on for five-minute meal ideas.

Breakfast makes you feel good

Even if you wake up late, have kids to get to school, or can't miss that 6am spinning class, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A balanced morning meal — and it can be a quick to fix, on the go healthy grab — will prevent that morning slump, mid-afternoon crash, and the dinner binge (for more reasons to eat breakfast, read The benefits of breakfast).

1. Rise and shine. Simply wake up five minutes earlier to avoid a junk food breakfast such as Pop Tarts or a high-fat, high-calorie muffin.

2. Split and round out. If you must eat a muffin or pastry, split it with a co-worker or friend, and round it out with a piece of fresh fruit or a hard-cooked egg.

3. Even fast meals can be healthy. If you can't avoid on the run eating, make it healthy. For example, spread peanut butter on a whole-wheat waffle and top with banana slices or spread low-fat cream cheese on a whole-wheat English muffin and top with sliced strawberries. These can easily be eaten on the commute or even while walking to work, school, or the gym.

4. Save time, calories, and money. Limit yourself to one "Starbucks" type drink a week. The time you will save waiting in line can be used to prepare a healthy breakfast. You will also save lots of calories and money. Save your favorite coffee drink for an end of the week treat. And if you are interested, read What your Starbucks drink says about you.

5. Plan ahead. Make a fruit smoothie the night before and pour it in a to-go bottle. For example, blend ice cubes, low-fat milk, plain yogurt or cottage cheese, and frozen strawberries (or any fruit).

6. Healthy fast food. Yogurt makes a great on the go breakfast. Top with granola or chopped nuts or seeds for added crunch and nutrition.

7. Pump up the protein. Mash hard-cooked eggs with yogurt or lite mayo and eat with baked crackers. The protein in the egg will keep you feeling full until noon. And when hunger strikes midday, follow these quick, healthy lunch and midday snack tips.

8. Bake and freeze. Bake low-fat healthy muffins on the weekends and freeze them for breakfast. Or for a real treat, bake up these Sneaky Chef Breakfast Cookies and keep them on hand for the mornings you want dessert for breakfast.

9. Bag it. Mix a sliced apple or pear in a bag with walnuts and cheese crumbles for a fast morning snack. Or, bag one of these homemade 100-calorie snacks.

10. Stash some morning snacks. If you are hungry again before noon, keep healthy breakfast foods in your purse, briefcase, or desk. Dried fruit and nuts, oatmeal or low-fat granola bars are easy to stash and are perfect pick-me-ups when mid-morning hunger strikes.

And if you want more quick to fix morning meals, read Fast morning meals for mom's busy family. For you moms who struggle getting the family to sit down and eat in the morning, check out Easy tips for Mom to get her kids to the breakfast table.