Do you start your day with breakfast cereal? If so, you are not alone. Breakfast cereal is quick and easy and makes for a convenient first meal of the day. However, and despite claims to the contrary, almost all breakfast cereals are no better than junk food.


They start out okay as they contain decent sources of carbohydrate such as wheat, corn, oats, or rice but then things quickly deteriorate when loads of sugar and salt are added. Look at the ingredients lists on most boxes of cereal – they’re listed by weight – and you’ll see sugar ranked very highly. Then check out all the chemicals in your breakfast favourite. And if your cereal contains candy pieces, chocolate, or candied fruits, it has more in common with dessert than a healthy start to the day.


The trouble is, most of us are in such a rush in the morning that we don’t have the time make a healthier breakfast -  that’s what makes cereal so attractive. There are, however, some very easy and quick cereal alternatives that are ready in minutes. Here are a few of our favourites!


1) Old fashioned oatmeal




Oatmeal is arguably the only cereal that has any kind of health benefits. It’s mostly unrefined, contains no added sugar, is high in fibre and slow-releasing carbs, and is also filling. However, if you buy real old fashioned oatmeal, preferably organic, it can take 15 minutes to cook, and you’ll have to stir it the whole time to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick to the pan.


You can get around this problem by preparing your oatmeal the night before. Take half a cup of oatmeal and one cup of fluids (milk, water, or half of each) and put it in a bowl. Add some dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries or goji berries. Leave in the fridge overnight.


Then, in the morning, when it’s time to make your oatmeal, the oats will already have absorbed the liquid and only need to be heated, something that takes 2-3 minutes at the most. You can even eat it cold if you prefer. To add some variety to your oatmeal, try adding some cinnamon or different fruits day by day.


2) Almost instant breakfast scramble

Eggs in virtually any form are a great start to your day. High in protein, essential vitamins, and healthy fats, eggs truly are the breakfast of champions. They can be dull on their own, though, but this is an easy way to liven them up.


Take three eggs and whisk them until they are blended. Thinly slice 2-3 rashers of bacon. Wash and chop a couple of mushrooms. Put the bacon and mushrooms in a lightly oiled pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to cook until the eggs start to firm up. Season with a little pepper or chili powder for a high protein, carb-free breakfast.


3) Mocha protein smoothie




For many people, breakfast without coffee is like a workout without a pump – unthinkable! This breakfast smoothie delivers protein and caffeine in just a couple of minutes.


Into a blender put one small banana, two cups of water, 1-2 scoops of OxyWhey or IsoPept Zero Chocolate protein powder, one tablespoon natural peanut butter and 1-2 teaspoons of coffee granules or a shot or two of espresso. Blend for 30-60 seconds until all the ingredients are incorporated. Drink there and then or put it in a shaker cup and consume it on your way to work. Leave out the banana if you need a lower carb option.


4) Courgette scramble

Another egg dish but this time one that contains vegetables too. Take a medium-sized (200 gram) courgette (AKA zucchini), remove the ends, and then cut it lengthways into quarters. Cut crossways into small pieces and then fry lightly in some oil until soft. Meanwhile, take 3-4 eggs and whisk them. Pour the eggs over the courgettes and cook until they are set. Top with 25 grams of grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.


5) Protein bars

If you are in a hurry, a protein bar makes for an acceptable breakfast – just grab and go. You could buy a box and keep them in your kitchen cupboard for emergencies (seek out low carb, no added sugar bars that contain at least 20 grams of protein per serving) or you could make your own. Here’s a recipe for homemade, no-bake protein bars that are so easy anyone could make them!


Ingredients:


- 4 ½ cups uncooked oatmeal


- 1 ⅓ cups natural peanut butter no added sugar


- 1 cup coconut cream or almond milk


- 5 scoops vanilla or chocolate OxyWhey lean protein powder

 

Method:


1) Open a pack or a can of coconut cream. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.


2) Add OxyWhey lean protein powder and whisk until the mixture becomes smooth.

 

3) Add peanut butter and mix everything together with a spoon. You may need to warm your jar of peanut butter in a bowl of hot water to make it easier to work with.


4) Add uncooked oatmeal and mix well. You may need to use your hands at this point.


5) Flatten the mix into a dish.


6) Chill in the fridge overnight (or minimum 2hrs) then cut into 12 even-sized bars

 

It’s not a good idea to skip breakfast, but eating cereal is not the best way to start your day. All that sugar means you’ll experience a big spike in blood glucose and insulin that will leave you feeling hungry again in just a couple of hours. Avoid this problem by planning your breakfast in advance and eating something other than cereal. Whatever your fitness goal, doing this one simple thing will help you get there faster.