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Grab and go: Quick, delicious ideas for a satisfying breakfast

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is more than just a saying.

Breakfast is our body's way of refueling after a typical night's sleep said Sherri N. Stastny, a licensed registered dietician and assistant professor North Dakota State University.

"We need energy for our brain and for our muscles," Stastny said.

Breakfast doesn't only refuel - it can help control weight and incorporates a balanced meal into the diet, Stastny said.

A balanced meal consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and/or low-fat dairy, and a small amount of healthy fat, she said.

Easy to make, well-balanced breakfast options suggested by Stastny include hard boiled eggs, whole grain cold or hot cereal with low-fat milk, and yogurt with nuts or granola and fresh fruit.

"Eating breakfast helps you meet your recommended calories and nutrients," she said. "Making and packing breakfast takes less than a minute if you plan ahead of time."

Four make-ahead breakfast options cover the nutritional bases.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 14 muffins


1½ cups whole wheat flour

1½ cups old fashioned oats

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ cups canned pumpkin

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 large egg

1 large egg white

¼ cup low-fat milk

¼ cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 F, and line muffin tin with muffin cups.

Whisk dry ingredients and spices together in a large bowl.

Add pumpkin, oil, milk, and egg and egg white to a medium size bowl and mix thoroughly. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredient and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Fill muffin tins evenly and bake for 18 to 25 minutes.

Each muffin has 227 calories, 9 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein.


Veggie Mini Quiche

Makes 12 mini quiche.


1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup sliced scallions or chopped onion (If using chopped onion, saute it with the rest of the vegetables.)

¼ cup shredded Swiss cheese

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

5 eggs

*3 egg whites

1 cup 1% or skim milk

chopped vegetables like bell pepper, zucchini squash, or fresh spinach

*Note: Six whole eggs can be used in place of the 5 eggs plus 3 whites.


1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 325 F. Coat a nonstick muffin tin generously with cooking spray or line it with baking cups.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan. Add mushrooms and other vegetables and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, cheese and pepper.

3. Whisk eggs, egg whites (or 6 whole eggs) and milk in a medium bowl. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the veggie mixture into each cup.

4. Bake until the tops are just beginning to brown, 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for five minutes. Place a rack on top of the pan, flip it over and turn the quiches out onto the rack. Turn upright and let cool completely.

Each quiche made with skim milk and 5 eggs plus 3 whites has approximately 55 calories, 3 grams of fat, 3 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein.

Individually wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to one month. To reheat, remove plastic, wrap in a paper towel and microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds.

Adapted from:

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal


¼ cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup skim milk

¼ cup low-fat Greek yogurt

1-1½ teaspoons dried chia seeds (Find them locally at Cash Wise Foods in the natural foods section.)

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon raspberry jam, preserves, or spread

¼ to Zc cup raspberries (cut each berry in half), or enough to fill jar


In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds and raspberry jam. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add raspberries and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or as long as two to three days. Eat chilled.

Each jar has 230 calories, 4 grams of fat, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.

Fruit Parfait

Makes 1 serving

1 container of your favorite low-fat yogurt (We used Archer Farms Fat Free Thick & Creamy Honey Almond Yogurt from Target.)

1 serving of a balanced granola (We used Bear Naked Peak Protein granola.)

½ cup (or more) of your favorite fresh fruit (We used strawberries.)

In a glass or bowl, layer yogurt, then granola, then fruit. Repeat.