Pick It or Skip It: Grab-and-Go Breakfasts for the Busy Collegiette

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bowl of cereal and fruit

We all know sleep is the Holy Grail of college.  So, if given the choice between waking up early for a sit-down breakfast or rolling out 10 minutes before class and maybe grabbing a granola bar, which would you pick?  Most of us would choose the latter for obvious sleep reasons, but I have some fabulous news for you busy bees!  As a fellow lover of extra ZZZs, I have made it my personal mission to scope out some of the healthiest and most delicious on-the-go breakfast swaps for collegiettes that’ll leave you feeling full, energized, and ready to flirt with that cutie in your morning psych lecture...
 
Yogurt Enthusiast
You are a devoted lover of the creamy goodness that is fruity yogurt.  It’s delicious and easy to grab on your way out the door — this quick fix is surekeep you on track!

Pick: Greek yogurt
Go for the non-fat plain version, and you not only get a low-calorie breakfast, but you also take in around 18 grams of protein!  Greek yogurt can be a little bland on its owns, so sweeten up your breakfast by stirring in some healthy extras, such as honey or blueberries. Laura, a foodie from Bucknell University, lovesthis option: “I tend to mix a lot into non-fat yogurt to make it a bit more fun, [and] usually raisins or the prepackaged fruit can be easily combined for a healthy-parfait-on the go! I even add whole grain cereals for some crunch!” Don’t have time to make your own Greek parfait? Many companies, such as Chobani, make fruit-flavored Greek yogurts so you get the same great taste for just a few more calories than the plain version!
 
Skip: Fruity yogurt
A word to the wise: if yogurt contains a gelatin-like substance that claims to be fruit, skip it.  David Zinczenko, author of the Eat This, Not That series, warns yogurt enthusiasts that many brands use high fructose corn syrup as the main ingredient while providing measly amounts of protein.  Time to break up with this loser; stick with its Greek counterpart, and you’ll be golden!

pick greek yogurt oikos organic plain and vanilla greek yogurt

 
Caffeine-dependent Collegiette
Not a breakfast fan but haveto snag your caffeine fix first thing in the morning? From mochas and cappuccinos to lattes and frappes, how are we supposed to know what they all mean?! The caffeine-laden menu is easier to navigate than you might think.
 
Pick: 16oz latte with skim milk
The standard latte is always a good choice when going for a morning drink with a little bulk.  It not only fulfills your caffeine needs, but it also gives you substantial amounts of protein and calcium for only 130 calories! Try to hold back on too much sugar, though, and opt for a sugar-free syrup add-in instead.

Skip:  Iced coffee with cream and sugar
Black coffee is the purest way of getting that liquid caffeine, but as we’re not all partial to its taste, we like to load on the cream and sugar. A study conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund looked at products at popular chains such as Starbucks and found that iced coffees can contain up to 450 calories each, with most clocking in at around 200. “This is the amount of calories you might expect to have in an evening meal, not in a drink,” says Dr. Rachel Thompson, the science program manager at the WRCF.  And for all those calories, you’re barely getting any nutrients (and it still doesn’t taste that great).

pick iced latte with skim milk 16 oz iced latte


Sucker for Smoothies
There’s something about smoothies we fanatics find comforting.  For me, it’s thinking I’m downing a superfood that resembles a sweet milkshake.  Actually, this is pretty accurate — most pre-packaged or fast food smoothies are super sugary! Although it’s possible to create a body-loving version, this is nearly impossible for collegiettes on the run. What to do? Stick to the basics!
 
Pick: Whole banana and skim milk
Grab simple, fresh food, and you’re almost guaranteed a nutritious and energizing breakfast.  At under 200 calories, this banana and skim milk combo is full of necessary vitamins and minerals such as calcium and potassium, both of which keep us feeling strong and healthy.  You’ll save yourself a ton of calories with this option andtime spent waiting in line for its candy-like counterpart. This one’s a no-brainer!  Ad in a pinch of cinnamon for extra zing.
 
Skip: Fruit smoothie
As Nourishment Counselor Jeanette Bronée explains, “Smoothies are just another version of soda.” Many of these fruit drinks are loadedwith unnecessary sugar, and those grabbed on-the-go can have up to 900 calories!  Most of us just don’t have time to make our own healthier smoothies before class, so avoid the sugar comas, and grab that banana and milk; you’ll get the same satisfying sweetness without any extra nonsense.

pick banana breakfast on the go


Bread and Bagel Buff
If you’re a carb-lover like myself, it’s almost necessary to make them part of your morning routine.  The problem is, not all are created equal!  Some are densely caloric, while others simply have little nutritional value.  But when you strike the right combination of healthy carbs and nutritious toppings, you’ll build a breakfast of champions!
 
Pick: Whole wheat English muffin
As a personal favorite of mine, the whole wheat English muffin is compact, versatile, and tasty — all for only 130 calories!  Dab on a tablespoon of peanut butter, and the 230-calorie concoction will provide you with even more filling fiber and protein. Northwestern University student Andrea is a fellow fanatic: “When I'm in a bind...I spread some almond or peanut butter on a whole grain English muffin. It gives me the fiber and protein I need, and I don't have to worry about excessive calories and carbs!”  It’s a stick-to-your-ribs kind of breakfast that has all the healthy ingredients to make it a winning combo.
 
Skip: Bagel
This is just an all-around skip it.  The average plain bagel can cost you 300 to 450 calories, and that’s withoutany toppings.  If you eat only half, you’re still downing nearly 70 more calories than an entire whole-grain English muffin. 

breakfast on the go pick whole wheat english muffin


Slave to a Sweet Tooth
Even in the morning, you so desperately want to give in to your nagging, sweet cravings.  With all that sugary deliciousness on the brain, what’s a busy collegiette to do?
 
Pick: Medium old-fashioned cake donut
A donut that’s healthy?!  OK, we have to be real here.  You won’t have access to tip top health food all the time, so an old-fashioned cake donut is the lesser of evils.  At around 200 calories, this breakfast dessert will satisfy your oh-so-sweet tooth and contains nearly 5 times less sugar than the blueberry muffin in the next pastry case.
 
Skip: Blueberry muffin
Muffins are supposedly healthy, right?  Add in some blueberries and you’re sure you’ve snatched a winner.  Sorry muffin fans — as Karen Collins, R.D. explains, “...today’s giant bakery muffins contain from 340 to 630 calories each, without any butter or other spread.” Add in nearly 50 grams of sugar, and this treat will do little to keep you filled and satisfied.  Stick with the plain donut, and you’ll keep calories in check while taming that sweet tooth!

breakfast on the go pick old-fashioned cake donut

 
So there you have it, collegiettes — easier-than-ever ways to start your day off on a healthy and delicious note.  Go for the pick it swaps, and you’ll be treating yourself to body-loving proteins, antioxidants, and necessary vitamins and minerals.  The best part?  You’ll even get to class on time!
 
What’s your favorite grab-and-go breakfast?  Leave a comment!
 
Sources
http://blog.pmaoakridge.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/healthy-breakfast...
http://caloriecount.about.com/calories-bagels-toasted-i18002
www.calorieking.com
http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slide/truth-about-fruit-bottom-yogurt
http://www.ediets.com/news/NewsArticle.jsp?id=1500028
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6307384/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/think...
http://nutrition.about.com/od/changeyourdiet/ht/cereals.htm
http://www.nvdaily.com/Food/2006/publik_042606/breakfast.html
http://www.prevention.com/health/nutrition/healthy-eating-tips/choosing-...
http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/07/27/us-drinks-coffee-idUSTRE56Q07H...
http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2010/05/21/are-smoothies-just-a-healthy-pe...

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About The Author

Cameron is a senior at Bucknell University pursuing degrees in English and Theatre. Born and raised in suburban Philadelphia, she is a member of Delta Gamma sorority and recently spent a semester abroad in London (tea and scones galore!). Her favorite things include (but are not limited to) anything with the word "coffee" in it, her two shih tzus, peppermint gum, reality tv, and spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, dancing, staying active, and singing. Her claim to fame? She was a street shoutout on the show "Cash Cab".

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