Some (read: most) mornings I find myself running out of the house, breakfast in hand, having swapped a sit down breakfast for a few extra minutes of sleep. Breakfast is an important meal to get your day off to nutritious start, however if you’re anything like me, sitting down to a delicious and instagram-ready #healthybreakfast each morning is not even close to reality sometimes. That’s why I’ve spent the time investigating some breakfast options available that lend themselves to being eaten on the way out the door/waiting for the bus/at your desk.
When you are replacing a sit-down breakfast, there are a few key things to look out for in your replacement. You want it to provide protein and fibre, be low in added sugar and containing wholegrains is a plus. Breakfast is also a good time to include a serve of dairy (or calcium containing alternative!) and one of your 2 serves per day of fruit.
There is a an ever-increasing variety of options available, so to help you navigate this minefield and make an educated choice let’s weigh up a few options:
The Biscuits & Bites
Comparison of Nutrition Information per serve (lowest-highest values in range):
|Nutrient||Mother Earth Brekkie on the Go Bites||Weet-Bix GO||Belvitas||247 Breakfast Biscuits|
|Energy (kJ)||761 – 855||900 – 935||835 – 975||868 – 921|
|Protein (g)||5.2 – 5.8||3.6 – 4.3||3.7 – 4.3||2.3 – 2.5|
|Fat (g)||7.5 – 10.9||6.6 – 7.7||6.9 – 8.6||10.9 – 11.6|
|-Saturated (g)||1.6 – 4.1||0.7 – 1.4||1.7 – 2.1||7.2 – 7.6|
|Sugars (g)||8.7 – 11.5||7.8 – 11.0||9.6 – 13.9||12.5 – 13.9|
|Fibre (g)||3.2 – 4.1||3.7 – 4.0||1.7 – 3.5||2.0 – 2.1|
Mother Earth Brekkie on the Go Toasted Muesli Bites: These bites boast 20% wholegrains, plenty of fibre and protein, as well as having lots of goodies like nuts and dried fruits, all with a moderate sugar content.
Weet-Bix GO Biscuits: With 48% wholegrain cereals, these are also good on the fibre content, however can get a little high in sugar depending on the flavour. Overall, these have a Health Star rating of 3-3.5 stars (head here to check out what that means).
Belvitas: Despite the sometimes high sugar content (some of which is naturally occurring e.g. from dried fruit), these biscuits all have a low GI-of 40-54. The nutrition content varies quite substantially between flavours for sugar and fibre, so choose wisely!
247 Breakfast Biscuits: These come in a variety of delicious sounding flavours in lovely packaging, however these are lower in fibre than Weet-Bix GO and most of the Belvita range, also packing a bit of extra sugar.
Making the choice: With this category the flavour you choose has a big impact on the nutrition you are getting. Many of these contain dried fruit contributing to the generally quite high sugar content, however remember that added sugars are different to natural sugars so read the label to choose wisely.
Combine it with: Adding a small tub of low-fat yoghurt with no added sugar or your morning skinny latte with a piece of fruit will help get in some calcium and extra protein and fibre to balance out this meal.
The Drinks and Dairy
Comparison of Nutrition Information per serve (based on first listed flavour):
|Nutrient||Up&Go||Up&Go Energize||Up&Go Reduced Sugar||Up&Go Oats to Go||Devondale Fast Start||Chobani Steel-Cut Oats Pouches|
Up & Go: These are made from skim milk powder, so provide a serve of dairy. The sugar content of these seems quite high, with three different sugars added, however it is not all from added sugars. These also have a fair amount of fibre, which is what you want if you are replacing a meal. Overall these get a Health Star rating or 4.5 stars, as does the entire rest of the Up & Go range (excluding the Reduced Sugar variety which boasts a 5 star rating).
Up & Go Energize: These are similar to the original however have a little more protein added in the form of soy protein. This almost doubles the protein content of the original.
Up & Go Reduced Sugar: This version slashes about 7g of sugar, however does still contain some added sugars.
Up & Go Oats to Go: Again similar to the original, however thanks to the addition of some wholegrain oat flour (3.2% or about 8g), these guys bump up the fibre a bit.
Devondale Fast Start: A more recent addition to the breakfast drinks market, you can head here if you want a more in-depth review, however they have since undergone a slight reformulation to reduce the sugar content. This drink boasts a low GI and is higher in protein and lower in sugar than a standard Up & Go. This one is let down by its low fibre content, however.
Chobani with Steel-Cut Oats Pouches: Like Up & Go Oats, these have only a small amount of oats added, in this case 4% (around 5-6g), and are high in sugar. They are low in fibre, however are high in protein.
Making the choice: In this category all of your choices are high in protein owing to their dairy base, they also are quite high in sugar for the same reason. Though many of these drinks are made from milk powders, as a guide, 250mL of 1% fat milk has around 15g of lactose. Unfortunately Australian food labelling law does not require manufacturers to differentiate between inherent sugars, such as lactose, and added sugars on the nutrition information panel, however, opting for one of the lower total sugar options is a good way to go. The Up & Go range provides an array of options, with Reduced Sugar coming out on top for me. The Chobani with Oats pouches provide you with more added sugar than they do oats, so go for a simple tub of no added sugar low fat yoghurt instead.
Combine it with: With this category you’ve already got your dairy serve, so just add a piece of fruit and you’re good to go.
Comparison of Nutrition Information per serve (based on first listed flavor):
|Nutrient||Uncle Toby’s O&G Oatmeal Cups||Uncle Toby’s Quick Oat Cups|
Uncle Toby’s O&G Oatmeal Cups: These come in handy tubs and with yummy toppings of nuts and dried fruit and healthy 4 star Health Star rating.
Uncle Toby’s Quick Oat Cups: In handy tubs and coming in a variety of flavours these make oats an appealing quick breakfast option, these also have a Health star rating of 4 stars.
Making the choice: Either of these options is a solid choice for breakfast on the go, just beware that quick or instant oats have a high GI so aren’t quite the health food they are made out to be. Regular oats have a lower GI.
Combine it with: Add your own toppings such as nuts or a sliced banana for extra flavor and fibre and by making this with milk instead of water you can increase the protein and calcium content with the added bonus of extra creaminess.
Do it Yourself
If you want to get creative and you have just a little bit of time up your sleeve, then there are plenty of prepare-ahead homemade options for you:
Breakfast frittatas/tarts: Here is a super simple recipe that you can use as a base but the best thing about these is that you can use virtually any leftover vegetables and these can be fully prepared ahead of time.
Homemade smoothie: Simply combine some fruit and some dairy (milk, yoghurt, or both – your choice!) and you’ve got a smoothie. Tip: Using frozen fruit makes your smoothie thicker. To make it more filling try adding a small handful of oats or a spoonful of nut butter or your choice.
Overnight oats: Here’s a recipe to get you started, then the combinations of toppings are only limited by your imagination. Fruit, seeds, nuts, nut paste, coconut…the list goes on.
Chia pudding: Here’s a collection of chia seed recipes to try.
Yoghurt pops: Now this one seems a little crazy to me, but hey when summer rolls around I may just have changed my tune and well, Martha Stewart knows her stuff.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of breakfast suitable to eat on the run, so please share with us below any recipes or great product tips you have.