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Best on-the-run breakfasts

Last updated 05:00 05/05/2011

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Eating breakfast at the table might be normal on TV, but many real life breakfasts are eaten at desks or on the run.

This may not be perfect, but it's not bad either - it's what you eat for breakfast that matters more than where you eat it.

In fact, taking breakfast to work makes perfect sense if your hunger signals kick in later in the morning - a common reason for breakfast skipping.

"Having breakfast doesn't have to be the first thing you do when you open your eyes," says Accredited Practising Dietitian Sue Radd. Some people don't feel like eating until 9am or they might leave for work at 6.30am and aren't hungry at that time. Eating breakfast at work while you read emails can take some of the pressure off, especially if you're a parent who has to look after everyone else first thing in the morning.

Like many healthy eating issues, the secret of good portable breakfasts is forward planning - as opposed to grabbing a 2000 kilojoule muffin when hunger pangs eventually kick in. You don't have to be a MasterChef to mix some good muesli with low fat yoghurt and maybe some chopped apple or berries in a container the night before to take  to work the next day. Or to have a supply of dense grainy rolls in the freezer that can form the basis of  an eat- at- your -desk breakfast - just spread with ricotta and eat with a piece of fruit.

If your workplace runs to a kitchen with a fridge and microwave, you can stash the makings of breakfast at work or even start the day with porridge. 

It's hard to beat either traditional rolled oats, which give a healthy dose of low GI slow release carbs that help to keep you feeling full, says Radd.  

"A breakfast like this is more satisfying than a toasted white bread sandwich or a bowl of rice bubbles. You feel better throughout the morning and it helps you get to lunch without needing more than an apple," she adds. 

Some cereal manufacturers have also introduced packs with single serve pouches of microwaveable quick oats with extras like seeds and dried fruit which are okay, although not as low GI as traditional oats, points out Radd, who thinks it's just as easy to keep a pack of traditional oats at work with a jar of seeds or dried fruit to mix in.

It's also much cheaper, and leaves you less packaging to toss out.

But if microwaving breakfast isn't an option, there are other portable possibilities - just remember that the components of a sustaining, waistline friendly breakfast are whole grains, preferably low GI, plus some form of protein which could be low fat yoghurt or ricotta or a nut butter - besides the usual peanut there are other nut butters - like cashew, almond and brazil - or a mix of all three. You could take a small carton of yoghurt to eat with fruit and grainy bread, for instance, or spread a wholegrain roll with nut butter and wrap it around a banana like a hot dog, says Radd.

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"These are better options than relying on muesli bars, which are only a small and relatively expensive source of whole grains and not especially filling.  They can also be sickly sweet - and breakfast shouldn't taste like dessert."

Making your own muesli, by the way, is simpler than boiling an egg - and you get to control the ingredients. Just mix the following together - traditional rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, ground almonds and crushed hazelnuts. Experiment with the mix until you get the proportions you like. You can vary the grains by adding some barley flakes, change the texture with extra crushed nuts, or boost the lavour with ground cinnnamon and/or ground nutmeg.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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