Ask LH: How Can I Eat A Healthy Breakfast On The Go?

Ask LH: How Can I Eat A Healthy Breakfast On The Go?

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

Dear Ian,

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.


Have a question you want to put to Ask Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].


  • Just set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. If this is a problem, watch one less episode on Netflix before you go to bed.

    • A guy I used to work with drank those every day, used to buy the bloody things by the crate!

      Until I pointed out that they have roughly 80% of the sugar of a can of coke… (7.7g/100mL vs 10.6g/100mL for Coke)

      • Well, my current breakfast is a can of coke, so that would actually – in theory – be healthier!

      • I used to have a snickers with a V for breakfast, 10/10 would not recommend in the long term
        ( sugar over 9000)

        • I have a packet of crisps and an almond chocolate slab for breakfast every morning. It’s not THAT bad (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

  • I don’t normally eat breakfast, but just yesterday started making overnight oats using yoghurt to eat the next morning. Only takes a minute to make and was pretty tasty.

  • I personally go coffee in the morning for the hunger suppressant then lunch at about 11:30. Then power through until I’m home.

  • My favourite breakfast for the last 9 months every day has been as follows.
    Twice a week I will fill a few small containers with a cup of rolled oats, half a cup of natrual greek yoghurt, a tablespoon or two of chia seeds, a few of my favourite berries or grapes, and topped up with milk.

    Leave it in the fridge overnight and you have a delicious healthy pudding style breakfast that I adore. Hits all the right spots.

    • I also read about someone who made almost this exact recipe but put it all in a peanut butter jar when just the last few scrapes were left. Tasty!

  • I needed to read this, one of my resolutions is to make time for breakfast. I down a berocca while yelling “put your shoes on” to my three young children, then eat an apple while Im walking my 3km hike to work. Good advice!

  • It is funny how people blame work for not eating breakfast. You can find time for lunch and dinner and dare i say breaks during the day, but not breakfast. Not having a dig, just an observation. I make time for breakfast, but often miss dinner.

  • For the easiest breakfast, skip altogether and start intermittent fasting 🙂
    There have been several articles posted on lifehacker arguing that breakfast isn’t as necessary as conventional wisdom would dictate.

    It did take a little adjustment for me, but since making the full transition i’ve not noticed any problems with concentration and performance (though would be interesting to see how my bsl travels during the morning).

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!