5 Secrets to Eating an Energizing Breakfast When You're Working Full-Time

There are two kinds of eaters: the people who skip breakfast and the ones who wish they could eat it for every meal. I've always been part of the latter group; even when I was taking 17 units of classes in college, I never went without some oatless oatmeal or a big smoothie bowl!

However, now that I've started my first "real" job - as Senior Editor to Entity Magazine - I'm starting to understand why 31 million Americans skip breakfast everyday. In 2011, a survey by NPD Group  found that 10 percent of Americans skip breakfast, reportedly because they aren't hungry, don't feel like eating or don't have time. And, considering how hard I find it to "slow down" and make time for breakfast when I'm working at home, I can only imagine the challenges the average commuter faces.

casey the college celiac

What's a workin' gal to do? Get some help from these five secrets to eating an energizing breakfast - whether you're working full time, a busy college student or anything in between!

1. Prep ahead of time as much as possible.

There's no better party than a preppin' party...okay, that's a lie, but prepping your breakfast ahead of time can make your mornings ten times easier. You don't have to make your entire breakfast either. If you're going to eat a yogurt parfait once you get to work, cut up your fruit, put your granola in a bag and put your yogurt and other cold toppings close together in the fridge. This way, all you have to do is grab your bags in the morning and throw everything together in the office!

If you do want to have a breakfast buffet waiting right when you wake up, some of my favorite prep-ahead meals include:
  • Overnight Quinoa Flakes: if you want a breakfast similar to oatmeal but packed with even more protein, this is what dreams (and happy tummies) are made of...
  • Cozy Cacao Oatless Zoats: zucchini has never tasted so sweet - and breakfast has never been more easy to eat on the go!
  • Eat Yo' Greens Mini Baked Pancakes: these gluten free and vegan pancakes stay good for over a week in the fridge, which makes them perfect to make on the weekend and eat all week! 
  • Zucchini Bread Nana Ice Cream: this is my favorite breakfast to make ahead. Simply blend your smoothie as usual and store it in a glass container/jar in the freezer. When you want to eat it, pop it in the microwave on defrost until melted through and enjoy!
  • Berry Coconut Granola or Green Smoothie Granola: really, any of my granola recipes make delicious breakfasts with a fruit and little (plant based) milk or yogurt. Both recipes boast some hidden veggies, making them a healthier way to start your day. 
  • Superfood Coconut Banana Cookies: cookies in the morning? Luckily, these are just healthy enough to count as a well-rounded breakfast!
  • Bliss Balls: these taste like candy, are packed with superfoods like coconut flour, dates and nuts, and are easily personalized. What more could you want?
casey the college celiac
Some of my personal faves!
Some nights, the last thing you want to do is spend time in the kitchen, prepping for the next day. Just try to remember how happy you (and your taste buds) will be the following morning!

2. Use naturally energizing ingredients.

While I wouldn't classify myself as a night owl, calling me a "morning person" would be a bit of a stretch. So, even though I don't drink coffee, I need all the energy boosts I can get when I wake up. Luckily for me - and others who want to lower their coffee intake or don't drink it at all - there are plenty of other naturally energizing foods, including: fresh fruit (yay natural sugars!), water (with studies showing that dehydration can often make people feel fatigued), nuts (which are packed with magnesium and help convert sugar to energy) and cardamom (which promotes blood flow by expanding small blood vessels).

If you want a coffee-like drink with none of the energy crash, you may want to add Macaccino to your grocery list. I recently got the chance to taste this superfood drink and fell in love with the chocolatey flavor. The Original Roasted Maca Blend that I tried boasts a mix of organic roasted maca, cocoa powder, mesquite powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. As I've written before, maca has been shown to improve immune function, memory, focus and stress management - while also helping to balance hormones. As a result, this drink is about as healthy an energizing drink as you can get.

casey the college celiac
Hot cacao in smoothie form! ;) 
Since I'm a total smoothie addict, I added a scoop of Macaccino to my morning nana ice cream. While I won't claim it made my work productivity double, I definitely enjoyed the rich, chocolatey flavor. Any energy boosts were just a bonus! You can also brew Macaccino like hot chocolate or coffee by just adding hot water.

No matter how much of an early bird you are, we all need a little help from time to time. Whether it's fresh fruit, trail mix or Macaccino, just don't forget to include ingredients that will set your energy levels up (no pun intended) for success!

3. Know what processed foods are your friends - and don't feel guilty for using them!

Maybe if I had my own personal chef, I'd always eat from scratch for breakfast - but that isn't my reality, and it isn't most of Americans'. In fact, a recent study found that more than half of Americans' calories come from "ultra-processed" foods. As I've mentioned before, processed foods is an umbrella term that can include a variety of foods - and some are way healthier for you than others. The key is learning which of these foods to avoid - like "ultra-processed" foods that contain ingredients like extra colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and flavors - and which can be part of a healthy diet.

casey the college celiac
The perfect morning start...or night snack!
So what processed foods aren't as bad as their title might imply? Think of minimally processed products like whole grain breakfast cereals, pre-cut fruit or veggies, no sugar added yogurt, packaged trail mix or even pre-made granola. Lately, one of my favorite (and, full disclosure, sponsored) breakfast additions is Frontier Bites. These snacks boast eight natural ingredients - like nuts, seeds, brown rice syrup, organic honey, puffed rice and millet, and fruit - and no refined sugar. I'm particularly addicted to topping my So Delicious yogurt - or a green smoothie bowl - with some Macadamia Pineapple Coconut bites for crunch. Add some fresh fruit, nut butter and chia seeds for a well-rounded - not to mention super delicious - breakfast.

The truth is, not everyone has the time, money or energy to make all of their own food, and we shouldn't feel ashamed to reaching to processed foods for a little help...especially when those products are as nutritious as they are delicious.

4. Stick to what you know works.

Of course, maybe what kinda "works" for you is skipping breakfast altogether. However, when you're trying to introduce a new healthy habit into your life, don't go farther out of your comfort zone than absolutely necessary. As a blogger, I love trying new products. As a foodie, I love trying new recipes! Yet, I rarely miss having a smoothie bowl for breakfast (unless I'm traveling, in which case I just eat all of the smoothie toppings and lots of fruit!). Why? I know that smoothies won't upset my stomach and that they'll give me the fuel I need for a busy day.

casey the college celiac
My brunch at the airport!
My mom is also gluten free, but she has a very different daily menu. Her days start off better with a simple bowl of buckwheat flakes cooked in the microwave with water. Add one sliced banana, a little cinnamon and a drizzle of honey, and she's one happy eater - and so is her belly. The moral of these stories is basically to show that everybody is different and, well, every body is different too. No one wants to go into work feeling nauseous, overstuffed or still hungry, so keep experimenting until you find the breakfast that is "just right," in the words of Goldilocks.

And when you find your edible soul mate? Make it a committed relationship and stick to a breakfast you know works for you!

5. Treat yo' self...while treating your body right!

Now, "treating yourself" doesn't necessarily mean kicking off every morning with a bowl of ice cream. Maybe that's A-OK on your birthday - but you also need to regularly focus on treating your body to the fuel and nutrients it needs. When I'm working, taking a break for brunch can seem like an annoying interruption. However, I know that if I don't feed myself right, I won't be able to write "right" either!

casey the college celiac
Taking a trip on the sweeter side!
Your ultimate goal should be finding a breakfast that tastes like dessert but is healthy enough to be a main meal. My recent secret weapon is Heavenly Organics's raw honey. Compared to processed honey, their products offer a variety of health benefits - ranging from antioxidants to Vitamin C to properties that help stabilize blood pressure, aid digestion, fight cancer, lower bad cholesterol and decrease inflammation. And, of course, their honey tastes pretty scrumptious on everything from pancakes to oatless oatmeal.

Some days, brownies are acceptable breakfast material. Other days, your body needs a green smoothie. Treating yourself - and your body right - means both breakfasts are allowed to land on your weekly menu, because feeding our cravings can be just as important as feeding our bodies. The definition of "treat" is up to you...and you and define it differently every day!

Before I turned into a (pretty legit) "working woman," I never understood how so many people could regularly skip breakfast. Now, I have a better grasp on how difficult eating an energizing breakfast can be - and way more respect to the expert foodies who've already managed this feat for years!

casey the college celiac
Cheers to delicious work day mornings!
With the right prep time, healthy ingredients and mindset, though, eating breakfast while working a full time job doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it can just be incredibly delicious!


*I received these products free of charge in return for a written review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*


*Also found at What'd You Do This Weekend, Inspiration Monday, Totally Terrific Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Turn it Up, Wine'd Down Wednesday, What's Cookin' Wednesday, Dare to Share, Snickerdoodle Sunday*

What is your favorite breakfast to eat before or at work? Have you ever tried Macaccino, Frontier Bites or Heavenly Organic honey before? Tell me your thoughts below!






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