Healthy Every Week Challenge Week 1 Wrap-Up: 4 Make-Ahead Breakfast Ideas

Blogger Monique Volz from Ambitious Kitchen joins us every week in May for a wrap-up of our May Healthy Every Week Challenge. This week: breakfast.
By: Monique Volz

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quinoa pancakes

We’re hosting a Healthy Every Week Challenge for the month of May; a month-long initiative to develop healthy eating habits. The plan is to develop a manageable healthy habit each week that will carry through the new year. Join us here and share what you’re eating on Facebook and Twitter .

Hi I’m Monique and I run the food blog Ambitious Kitchen. I’m excited to be joining you all on the Healthy Every Week Challenge in May; each week, right here on Healthy Eats, I’ll share my experiences, as well as provide you with healthy, creative recipes to try.

During the first week of the challenge, the goal was to eat breakfast. Now for me, breakfast is undoubtedly one of the most important meals of the day. Eating in the morning gives me energy, boosts my mood, and puts me on track to eat right the rest of the day. Even if I wake up and I’m not hungry, I realize that if I don’t eat something for breakfast I’m more likely to reach for that bag of chips or candy bar during the afternoon. Yikes!

Since most days I’m in such a rush to get out the door in the morning, breakfast ends up being the last priority in my routine. Sure I’ll grab an apple or a banana, but it leaves my stomach grumbling by the time the clock hits 10am. I’m sure some of you can relate; preparing breakfast in the morning can be a hassle especially if you aren't a morning person.

In an effort to make sure I’m eating something both healthy and satisfying I have been trying to make breakfasts ahead of time. I thought I’d share some of my favorite make-ahead breakfast recipes to save you time and to keep you on track with your goals.

Eggs. They’re simple, versatile, and protein packed! I hard boil eggs on the weekends and stick them in the fridge for a quick grab-and-go breakfast during the week. Eating them with salt and pepper may be simple, but it sure is satisfying. On days I have five extra minutes in the morning, I mash ¼ of an avocado, spread it over whole wheat toast then top with hard boiled egg slices and tomato. Delicious!

Greek Yogurt. Holy cow is right! I love Greek yogurt. Even though there are a variety of flavors to choose from, I always opt for plain since it gives you the ability to add in your own fruit and toppings. The night before I usually mix 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt with strawberries and cherries in a container and place in the refrigerator. Overnight some of the sugars and juices from the berries release into the yogurt. All I have to do is give it little stir, top with 1 tablespoon of heart-healthy nuts (I love walnuts or almonds), and devour! If I’m not feeling like berries in my yogurt, sometimes I mix in 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with chopped apples. I usually top that with low-fat granola and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar for a flavor reminiscent of apple pie. It satisfies my sweet tooth and sure is better than a calorie-laden cinnamon roll.

Oatmeal. The nice thing about oatmeal is that you can make a batch for the entire week. Steel-cut oatmeal is my favorite because of the chewy texture, plus it still tastes wonderful after it’s reheated. On Sundays I will make enough oatmeal for a couple breakfast servings, then I simply refrigerate and reheat in the morning. I think the best part of oatmeal is going beyond ordinary toppings -- I love to get creative! Some of my favorite toppings include: toasted coconut, peanut butter, low-sugar jam, toasted nuts, dried cherries, a few chocolate chips, or occasionally a sprinkle of sea salt and a teaspoon of caramel sauce. If you aren't sure how to make steel cut oatmeal, here’s a great how-to from The Kitchn.

Pancakes. I’m a huge fan! Lately I've been experimenting with quinoa in pancakes. If you haven’t heard of quinoa, it’s basically a high-protein whole grain. In my opinion the texture and flavor of quinoa can bring a rich nutty flavor to meals. Now, it may seem strange to add quinoa to pancakes, but trust me it’s been a delicious success. The pancakes end up being light and fluffy. I love making a big batch on the weekends then freezing the leftovers. During the week I just toss them in the microwave for a minute or so and spread with peanut butter (it’s so warm and creamy). It’s the perfect breakfast to-go!

Here’s a recipe for Whole-Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes from my blog that I wanted to share with you all. They remind me of banana bread and smell delicious! These are full of healthy ingredients, and would make a great breakfast (or dinner) anytime. (If you like these, you'll love my Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes.)

Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes
1 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 large egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of milk of your choice (skim, soy, almond, coconut)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (you could also use honey or maple syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large very ripe bananas, pureed

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, yogurt, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine. Add pureed bananas and mix until just combined.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter (or cooking spray) and remaining batter.

Makes about 10 pancakes.

  • Top with healthy ingredients such as pure maple syrup, peanut butter, or jam
  • If pancakes are too thick, add 1 tablespoon of milk to the batter. If pancakes are too thin, add 1 tablespoon of flour to the batter
  • Sub gluten-free flour for whole wheat if you’d like
  • Adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to batter would make great chocolate banana pancakes

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