Dear Lifehacker, Like most full-time professionals, I rarely have time to sit down to a leisurely breakfast. Or even a rushed one. Annoyingly, most of the fast food options on the market seem to be loaded with sugars and/or saturated fats. What’s the healthiest breakfast I can take with me on the train? Thanks, Ian The Travelling Muncher
It’s New Year’s Resolution time again, and plenty of people will be trying to eat healthy. As many of us head back to work, however, it can be hard to find the time in the morning to make a nutritious breakfast and not be late for our trains — especially for those of us who like a bit of a sleep in. It can be all too tempting to just grab a croissant or even — God forbid — a Maccas breakfast on the way to work, but with just a little bit of forethought you can eat healthy on the run.
Most nutritionists recommend a bit of carbs, a bit of protein and some fruits or vegetables to give your day the best possible start. Don’t skimp on the carbs even if you’re trying to lose weight — your body needs the fuel to kickstart itself for the day. The Dieticians Association of Australia also recommends including protein in your breakfast, along with eating low GI (glycaemic index) and high fibre food.
When considering the conundrum of healthy breakfasts, it’s useful to stop associating your morning meal with certain allowable ‘breakfast foods’ — which tend to be sweet and sugar-packed more often than not. There’s no reason you can’t pack a sandwich the night before to take for your breakfast, or even grab your leftovers from the night before. For something with a little bit more of a traditional breakfast feel, try making up a couple of English muffins the night before, with avocado, cheese, ham, or whatever else you fancy. These are compact enough to eat without much fuss even on a crowded train.
If you have a little more time in the evenings, consider trying something a little different and put together a Japanese breakfast bento. Okinawans in Japan have an incredibly long life expectancy, so it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take a leaf out of their book to start your day. Japanese breakfasts almost always come with rice and miso soup, along with some kind of fish and maybe nori. Although it may taste more like a dinner meal, many Japanese foods are still light enough to get your day to the best start.
Cereal can be one of the quickest breakfasts to put together if you leave the house in a hurry, and also satisfies many of the conditions of a healthy breakfast — just make sure you choose a wholegrain cereal that is low in sugar. For consumption on the go, simply make up your usual cereal in a travel mug and remember to bring a spoon. As the weather gets colder, you can even decant a bowl of porridge into a travel mug for a warming breakfast on chilly mornings.
If you really don’t want to put much thought or effort into your mornings, consider a meal replacement drink like Soylent. They’re formulated to have all the nutrients you need from a regular meal, but in an easy powdered form. While replacing all your meals with this kind of liquid food doesn’t tend to work out for most people, it may be useful to keep in your pantry for the days when you’re tempted to skip breakfast altogether. Locally you can get your hands on two different brands, Oz Soylent and Aussielent.
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