7 Habits I Had to Form to Finally Stop Skipping Breakfast
Breakfast and I have a complicated relationship. Sometimes we don't see each other for weeks, but when we're finally reunited, it's pure happiness. When breakfast isn't in my life, I really miss it, but it's not always easy to make the time for it. What I know for sure is that my days are always better when I start them with breakfast (read: no hangry stomach grumbles means more focus and productivity), and the "most important meal of day" really does make me feel complete.
After a few years in the postgrad, daily-grind world, I've finally realized that eating breakfast is a matter of mastering a routine that allows the time for it, and there are a few habits that make all the difference. Here's what I've learned and put in practice to stop being one of those people who chugs coffee and scarfs down all the snacks at 10 a.m. to fill my stomach up. To be clear, I still drink a lot of coffee, but I've come to realize it goes much better with a side of breakfast.
Set Up My Coffee the Night Before
Have I mentioned that coffee is a crucial part of breakfast for me? If you agree, you might learn from this habit that has truly transformed my mornings. Since my main focus is having enough time to prepare breakfast, I can easily get overwhelmed by having to make breakfast and a pot of coffee, so here's what I do: set up my coffee maker the night before. I grind the coffee beans, measure the water, and plug in my coffee machine with the switch turned to "off." Then the first place my feet go after stepping out of bed is straight to the kitchen to press "on." I hear the coffee brewing away, and I can move on to my morning routine in seconds.
Wake Up Just a *Little* Earlier
If I wake up a mere five minutes late, I sometimes write off the idea of breakfast immediately, thinking to myself, "Oh well, no time to eat." But that's not always true! Getting up just five to 10 minutes earlier than usual can make all the difference (there's no need to set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier). I've learned that if I want to make breakfast my number one priority in the morning — besides coffee — then all I need to do is hop out of bed. Besides, skipping the snooze button is a guaranteed way to wake up happier.
Prep Egg Muffins on Sundays
I'll be honest: I'm not a big fan of eating the same thing every day, but I make an exception for meal-prepped egg muffins. A muffin tin makes the perfect portion size for individual servings, and it's so easy to make 12 all at once. I love making a dozen of whatever egg muffin I'm feeling (you can substitute your favorite proteins, vegetables, and cheeses), and all I have to do in the morning is heat up two of them for about a minute in the microwave. Plus, these are really fun to make! Seeing Monday through Friday's breakfasts laid out in one pan is so satisfying, and egg muffins have hands down become my favorite weekday-appropriate breakfast.
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Stock My Fridge With Trader Joe's Staples
Trader Joe's breakfast items, like most Trader Joe's finds, are true lifesavers. I've come to trust a handful of affordable staples that I always make sure I have stocked before each week starts. If I'm in a real hurry, I'll opt for the frozen blueberry waffles ($2). Whole-grain toast with Trader Joe's Almond Butter ($7) is another speedy option. When I have a little leeway in my morning schedule, one of my favorite things to do is quickly sizzle up two slices of
the only store-bought bacon you should ever buy Trader Joe's Uncured Dry-Rubbed Sliced Bacon ($5) and then fry or scramble an egg in the bacon fat.
Make Oatmeal While I Get Ready
I've learned that half the battle of making breakfast is just getting it started while I'm spending time doing other things. Let's say it takes me 30 minutes to shower and get ready; there's plenty of time to make breakfast happen in that time frame with just a little bit of switching gears.
A bowl of steel-cut oats is one of my favorite ways to fuel up for the day, but it takes about 20 minutes to make. My trick for making it work is to get a cup of water in a saucepan on the stove ASAP after waking up, before I get in the shower. It's boiling by the time I'm out, and then I add a 1/4 cup of steel-cut oats and let it simmer (on lower heat) while I get ready, and I pop back to the stove occasionally to give a quick stir. By the time I'm dressed and ready, so are the oats, and all I have to do is add my favorite toppings (I love brown sugar, dried figs, sliced almonds, and sea salt) and eat the bowl in a few minutes.
You could, of course, also opt for instant oats or frozen varieties like Trader Joe's Frozen Steel-Cut Oats ($2), which are ready in a flash.
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Slow-Cook Breakfast For the Week
You might be used to using your slow cooker for dinner, but don't forget that it's incredibly useful for breakfast, too. Instead of prepping egg muffins on Sundays, sometimes I let my slow cooker do the work and cook up a big batch of something that I can divvy up for the week, like a breakfast casserole or tons of oatmeal. When breakfast is a matter of pulling an already-made meal out of the refrigerator, I'm left with no excuse to skip it.
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Take Breakfast Out the Door With Me
I'm not a huge smoothie fan (am I the only one who prefers chewing her food?), but I'll be the first to admit that turning to smoothies in the morning is an awesome way to prioritize breakfast. It takes approximately three minutes to pull ingredients from my fridge and freezer, blend them together, and put them in a to-go cup that I can grab on my way out the door. I like to make sure to add protein to keep me full all morning.
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