While I’m hopping on the Caltrain to San Francisco this morning, I am munching on a morning meal and thinking how happy I am my stomach isn’t rumbling.  Without food in my belly, I turn into a raving bitch.  (If ever we meet and I’m a bit irritable, it’s best to slip me a snack).  Most of us have very little time in the morning.  Whether we are commuting to work, heading to class, or off to an importtant appointment it’s crucial to take just a little bit of time to feed our faces (and brains and bodies) before starting our day.

While many people are under the impression that cutting the calories will cut their waistlines, the exact opposite is true.  Skimping on your first meal in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day.  Your body spends the night slowing down in order to conserve energy.  This is also why you can go for hours without getting hungry.  In the morning you need to “break the fast” by waking up your metabolism.  People who have lost and successfully kept weight off start their days with a healthy breakfast and reports have repeatedly shown this.

Now, I understand that we not only don’t have time to fire up the griddle for pancakes but also can’t exactly travel with flapjacks and syrup in tow.  And I’m also aware how offensive snacking in public can be.  So, finding a happy medium is key.

Here are three “on the go” ways to start your day without ruining your diet or pissing of the passenger next to you:

Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie


  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 banana, broken into chunks
  • 14 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar


In a blender, combine soy milk, oats, banana and strawberries. Add vanilla and sugar if desired. Blend until smooth. Pour into reusable mug and hit the road.

Low Fat Berry Parfait


  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • 2 cups your lowfat granola
  • 2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries (sliced)
  • 4 tablespoons honey


I take a cue from the deli’s of NY and make my yogurt to go in a plastic cup.  Add a layer of fruit covered by a layer or yogurt then granola and honey and repeat. Plop in a spoon and you’re good to go.

Healthy Harvest Breakfast Muffins

(Obviously, make these the night before and stash some for a snack in your bag).


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oatmeal (whole grain)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger (fresh or powdered)
  • 2 cups bananas, ripe & mashed (about 4 medium)
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almond
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line muffin pan with cups, if desired.
  3. Squirt each cup with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well blended.
  5. In a separate smaller bowl combine next 5 ingredients (bananas – butter), stir until well blended.
  6. In another separate small bowl, combine next 6 ingredients (almonds – nutmeg) for muffin topping.
  7. Add banana mixture to the flour mixture along with the raisins, if you desire.
  8. STIR JUST UNTIL MOISTENED. Do not over stir.
  9. Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full.
  10. Press enough of the brown sugar-nut topping into each muffin to cover the top, and to your taste. About 2 Tbsp per muffin.
  11. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until the muffin springs back when lightly touched.
  12. Makes 16 small muffins, or 8 giant-sized muffins.

You can’t rule the world on an empty stomach.



Photo via Nick Suydam