By Megan Rule | Opinion Editor
Growing up, we’ve always heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In theory, it makes sense because you’re breaking the fast between your last meal and sleep. As a self-proclaimed breakfast connoisseur, I’m always on the hunt for the best, the healthiest and the fastest meals to make. Whether you’re looking for something quick and filling, sweet and savory or to impress for your Instagram followers, the following five meals are great for all types of college students.
Oatmeal was always a meal with a bad reputation, but I don’t understand why. This is my favorite out of everything on this list because it takes the least amount of time to prepare, it fills me up for hours and it tastes delicious.
Time: Seven minutes
Ingredients: Gluten-free rolled oats (gluten-free is my personal preference, but, if you’d like, you can do regular rolled oats) almond milk, cinnamon, chia seeds, peanut butter and berries
Directions: Put 1 cup of dry oats in a bowl. Then pour the almond milk in—just enough to reach the top of the oats. Put it in the microwave for two minutes. Add more almond milk and microwave for 30 more seconds if you want it gooier, or take it out if you like it thicker and drier like I do. Add cinnamon and chia seeds for taste and texture, one spoonful of peanut butter for some protein and mix together. Top with berries or fruit of your choice. This meal has carbs to give you energy throughout the day along with protein and healthy fats in the peanut butter and chia seeds to keep you full!
2. Two-Way Toast
Make fun of the trend all you want, but toast is a great way to have a solid, balanced meal that satisfies your hunger and taste buds. This meal is pretty quick too, unless you struggle with frying an over-easy egg like I sometimes do…
Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: Bread of your choice (I use Dave’s Killer Bread with 21 whole grains and seeds), half an avocado, one egg, pink Himalayan sea salt, sesame seeds, spinach, peanut butter, chia seeds and cinnamon.
Directions: Put two pieces of bread in the toaster and toast to the level of darkness you like (I prefer darker toast so I tend to turn the toaster knob to a five or six out of seven). On one piece of toast, add spinach then spread half the avocado. Next, sprinkle the pink Himalayan sea salt and add the sesame seeds. On the stovetop, on medium heat, crack one egg. When the sides of the egg begin to crisp, flip it. After about a minute, take the egg off and put it on top of the avacado toast. For the other piece of toast, spread about a tablespoon of peanut butter and top it with cinnamon and chia seeds. If you’re in a savory mood, make two of the avocado pieces. Usually I like a little bit of both, so these two toast recipes satisfy both of my tastes. This meal has protein, carbs and fats to balance your body as you start the day.
3. Berry and Spinach Smoothie
Never underestimate the power of a smoothie. This is a great tool to get so much in, and you can even make this to-go. On mornings when I’m rushing, smoothies are my go-to because I can take it with me on my drive to campus. I can also be sneaky and add some spinach for some extra greens that day, but the amount of fruit in this recipe completely masks the taste.
Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients: One ripe banana, 1/3 bag of frozen berries, spinach, Siggi’s plain yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds
Directions: In a blender, put the ripe banana, spinach, yogurt, frozen berries and chia seeds—in that order. Pour almond milk into the blender to cover the ingredients about three-quarters of the way. Blend on high until the ingredients are smooth. Add more almond milk if you’d like a more liquid smoothie. By adding the frozen fruit last, the smoothie blends better. Like the rest of the recipes, this smoothie has carbs in the fruit, protein in the yogurt and healthy fat in the chia seeds.
4. Banana Pancakes
Pancakes are my favorite food, and this healthy alternative has a great substitute for the flour and sugar that many other recipes have.
Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients: One banana, almond flour, almond milk, one egg, chia seeds, cinnamon, sugar-free maple syrup, peanut butter and fruit.
Directions: Take half the banana and mash it in a bowl. Add the egg, about half a cup of almond flour, and enough almond milk to cover the ingredients. Mix well, then add cinnamon for taste and chia seeds for texture. Add more almond milk or almond flour as you see necessary. On the stovetop, on medium heat, pour the mixture to make a pancake about the size of your fist. Flip once the sides of the pancake begin to crisp and the top of the pancake bubbles. This recipe can make about four fist-sized pancakes. Top the pancake with fruit, peanut butter and sugar-free maple syrup. This recipe takes more time than the others because of the pancake flipping, so a similar alternative is Van’s Toaster Waffles (I use gluten-free whole grain).
The toaster waffles take less time and can be topped with similar toppings for similar results. Carbs in this meal come from the pancakes/waffles and fruit, protein from the peanut butter and fat from the peanut butter and chia seeds.
5. Egg and Veggie Casserole
If you’re someone who likes to meal prep your meals for the week, then this breakfast dish is perfect for you. This egg and veggie casserole is great when made on a Sunday then frozen for the whole week, as this recipe makes about five servings. It’s great to pop in the microwave for two and a half minutes on weekday mornings, and, when served with toast and fruit, it can be a great and balanced meal.
Time: 30 minutes (two and a half once meal prepped)
Ingredients: 10 eggs, almond milk, two pieces of Aidell’s chicken and apple sausage, four vegetables of your choice (I tend to do spinach, broccoli, peppers and mushrooms, but oftentimes I end up using whatever vegetables are leftover in my fridge.)
Directions: Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a baking dish, crack and whip the 10 eggs along with a dash of almond milk for mixing. Once mixed, add in the chopped pieces of chicken sausage along with the chopped vegetables. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the top of the casserole begins to turn golden-brown. Take out and let it cool. Serve immediately or freeze for meal prepping. Serve with toast or potatoes to get in some extra carbs, top with avocado to get some healthy fat and add fruit on the side for an extra boost. This is definitely a bigger meal, but for days when you’re hungrier or craving something savory, it can easily be popped in the microwave for an all-week satisfaction.