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5 Simple Breakfast Ideas for College Students

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

September, being National Better Breakfast Month, is a perfect time to get in the habit of fueling your body in the morning, starting with a healthy breakfast.

Growing up, we heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how do we know if this is really true? According to National Today, breakfast is important enough to be commemorated for the entire month of September. To celebrate National Better Breakfast Month, enjoy these quick and easy breakfast recipes:

1. Overnight Oats: College students are busy and rarely have time to cook a well-balanced breakfast in the morning. Thankfully, overnight oats only require a few minutes to prepare the night, or a few nights, in advance. I prefer to make mine two days before eating because it produces a thicker consistency.

½ cup instant oats

1 cup almond milk

1 scoop protein powder of choice (I use Sunwarrior Tahitian Vanilla)

1 tablespoon nut butter of choice

Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Simply add all of these ingredients into a container (I use a mason jar because that is what all of the health influencers on social media do) and mix until well combined. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy sometime during the week!

The great thing about overnight oats is that the ingredients are very inexpensive, yet provide many necessary nutrients to start the day strong. Oatmeal is high in carbohydrates, fiber and antioxidants, while the protein powder and nut butter provide protein. All of these ingredients are low in sugar and the combination of carbohydrates and protein keeps you full for hours. In addition to enhancing flavor, the cinnamon and nutmeg are anti-inflammatory agents and increase immune system functioning.

2. Egg Muffins: Anyone who knows me knows how much I love eggs. If I had all the time in the world, I would make an omelet every morning and savor each bite. However, class and work schedules do not allow for such a time-consuming breakfast. In order to satisfy my intense desire for eggs, I started making egg muffins - super simple to make and easy to pop into the microwave the next morning!

This recipe makes 12 muffins:

12 eggs

½ cup milk of choice

2 tablespoon finely chopped onion

¼ cup fresh spinach

¼ cup shredded cheese

Seasonings to taste (I like garlic powder, salt, and pepper)

In a cup, combine and whisk milk (or a non-dairy substitute) and eggs. On the side, spray a muffin tin and pour in the mixture evenly. Decide how many eggs to make based on how many you want to make. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

This light, healthy breakfast is perfect to reheat the next day and includes many key nutrients - protein, fiber, and vitamins A, C and K. Each egg has 6.3 grams of complete protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids. According to Nutrition for Professionals, egg protein is the most important complete and digestible protein available from food. Sneaking in spinach and other finely chopped vegetables is a great way to add vitamins and minerals into your diet.

3. Avocado Toast: Commonly found at trendy restaurants, avocado toast has risen in the ranks of popular breakfast foods. If you want to treat yourself to something more restaurant quality for breakfast, but have no creativity and a limited budget, avocado toast is perfect!

You can start off simple - just avocado and bread - or experiment with various toppings. First, choose a bread and put it in the toaster. While the bread is heating up, scoop the avocados into a bowl and mash with lime juice and garlic. Next, spread the mashed avocado on the toast and top with any seasoning.

While some may enjoy this plain version of the treat, others may want to add various toppings such as a poached egg, chopped vegetables, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, or seeds. This gives you the option to get creative and pack in even more nutrients to keep you satisfied for longer.

Avocados are a great food to start your morning because they are full of protein and healthy fats, keeping you full for longer. The healthy fats also protect against heart disease and cancer. The toast is a complex carbohydrate, meaning it fuels your body and mind throughout the day and gives you the energy you need to stay active.

Added bonus: You can easily eat this on your way to class because it does not require utensils or even a plate.

4. Smoothie: Because of COVID-19 safety precautions, students are advised not to eat in class. However, we are allowed to quickly remove our mask to drink water and coffee. If you really do not have time to eat before class, a smoothie is a convenient option that is both delicious and safe for the classroom (especially if you drink it out of a straw under your mask).

1 cup milk or non-dairy substitute

¼ cup kale

½ cup frozen blueberries

½ frozen banana

1 scoop protein powder

Handful of ice

Blend all of these ingredients until smooth, adding milk or ice to reach desired texture. While this recipe is very simple, you can add different fruits and leafy greens to shake things up. I also like to add vanilla extract to make it sweeter, but it is all based on preference.

Just like the other breakfast ideas, this smoothie is very healthy and provides many important nutrients. The banana is high in potassium which helps reduce blood pressure and regulate nerve signals. While low in calories, blueberries offer copious amounts of fiber, vitamin K and magnesium and have the highest amount of antioxidants of all fruits and vegetables.

5. Peanut Butter and Banana Wrap: Just like the overnight oats and egg muffins, a quick peanut butter and banana rollup is an easy breakfast to prepare the night before. Peanut butter is a common food among college students because it is inexpensive, filling, tasty and has a very long shelf life. Bananas are also a common food to have laying around, especially if you frequently take them from the dining hall.

1 tortilla wrap (my roommate loves the Mission Protein wraps)

2 tablespoon peanut butter

½ banana

1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)

Once again, protein and carbohydrates are both crucial elements of a balanced breakfast. These macronutrients provide energy and keep you full for longer. Peanut butter is a very filling protein and a tortilla wrap is a lighter alternative to bread, yet still provides ample amounts of carbs. The banana gives you lots of potassium and adds a smooth texture and sweet taste. I like to mash them on top of the spread peanut butter, so the tortilla wraps with ease.

The honey is optional, as many people find that the banana adds just the right amount of sweetness. However, I recently discovered how much I love honey. It adds so much flavor to whatever you put iton, yet contains only natural sugars. Additionally, the phytonutrients make raw honey a cancer-fighting agent and immune system booster. Additionally, raw honey can be used to aid in digestive issues, which is pertinent to many college students who often suffer from various gastrointestinal problems.

Just like the avocado toast, this breakfast is perfect for the busy, on-the-go students who need to snack as they rush to work or class.

Starting the day with a filling, nutritious breakfast gives you the energy needed to be productive throughout the day and keeps you from overeating at lunch. When I miss breakfast, I often end up eating empty calories- foods with lots of calories but no nutritional value. Spacing out meals instead of consuming large quantities infrequently is better for digestion and is less likely to lead to weight gain. With these quick, inexpensive recipes, I hope you can prepare healthy, delicious foods to start your morning. And, of course, all of these go great with coffee.

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