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5 Healthy Breakfast Hacks When You’re on a Budget and Want to Eat Well

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If breakfast is our daily duty where we break the fast, why not make it well worth it, right? Why waste your first-morning meal after 8-12 hours without food on some measly, crumbly boxed granola bar or worse, a sugary office doughnut someone that you don’t even know made and handled? No thanks! Let’s give our bodies something healthy, nourishing, and something a little less processed and chemical-induced, shall we? Check out these 5 healthy breakfast hacks!

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A healthy breakfast does not have to be boring, expensive or take up a lot of time. These are the common excuses many of us give for our first meal of the day, which really, should be the best one we eat since it’s the first thing we put in our bodies. As someone who spent many years on a teeny, tight budget, with very little money for groceries and a simultaneous passion to eat well and feel great, I can tell you that a cheap, healthy breakfast is not a hard feat.

Key nutrients to focus on are anti-inflammatory protein, fiber, little healthy fats, and food-based vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and potassium. These will all provide energy, combat stress, support mental function, and support immune and nervous system functions. These should be a basis that you focus on each day, along with a few others you’ll learn about as well. You needn’t spend half an hour juicing or half your paycheck on ingredients just to make it happen either.

Here are five hacks that everyone and anyone can get in on to make breakfast the meal that you look forward to every single day, and that your body will thank you for the rest the day too.

1. Pick a Healthy, Humble Base

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A base is essentially your breakfast of champions foundation, what you’ll build your mighty breakfast from. It should be filling, include as many of the above nutrients as possible, come from natural whole foods, and cost just cents per serving. Some of the best foods for this include oats, chia seeds, frozen (or fresh) leafy greens, and even wild or brown rice. All of these foods are filling, contain large amounts of nutrients, and are very inexpensive per serving.

Oats, quinoa, and wild or brown rice can be either cooked into porridge each morning, or cooked in large batches and reheated each day. You can also make overnight oatmeal, use oats in a smoothie for protein and fiber, or use them to make breakfast cookies and muffins. A pound or two of oats will last you at least one-two months, costing just pennies per serving. Chia seeds can do the same, though they’re even denser in nutrition. Just 1/4 cup chia seeds can serve as the same serving as a small bowl of oatmeal, or you can combine chia seeds with oats for even more filling benefits. Chia seeds’ magnesium, protein, iron, calcium, B vitamins and potassium content make it a food that would serve anyone extremely well.

For green smoothie lovers, stick with frozen greens instead of fresh, unless fresh varieties are on sale. Frozen is usually much less expensive per serving, takes up less space in your freezer, is quick and easy to grab and blend with, and as a bonus, they taste milder and make smoothies extra frosty and creamy (as do frozen fruits).

All of these options provide fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin C, and B vitamins – major win!

2. Keep it Simple, Satisfying and Special

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Remember, if you’re making a smoothie or bowl of oats, your breakfast does not have to look like every food blogger’s Instagram ‘food porn’ breakfast dishes. While 10 superfoods might sound amazing each morning, on a budget, they just don’t work, and you don’t need them to still eat well. Here’s a tip: choose one or two ingredients as toppings or additions that you really love and adore (such as berries, almond butter, or maybe even cacao, goji, and hemp, etc.) and focus on using just a little each day.

These foods contain high doses of antioxidants, fiber and vitamins and minerals your body can use. They are also colorful, satiating and will make you feel like you’re diving into something special (and you are!). Again, with a humble, healthy (and low cost) base such as those above, these small teaspoons or so servings will go a long way.

Here are some great recipes to try: Overnight Oats with Raspberries and Tahini, Maple Spice Oatmeal Bowl, Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats, Superfood Matcha Porridge, Carrot Cake Muffin TopsEnergy Boosting Vegan Protein Superfood Shake, Breakfast Berry Smoothie With Cacao Drizzle and Chia Seed Pudding, or Banana Almond Superfood Shake.

3. Skip the Corner Shop Coffees

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It might be fun to skip out of the office for fifteen with your co-workers to enjoy a nice coffee delight on the corner shop, but your budget will not thank you for it later on. Feel free to join along, but bring your own coffee from home in a cute, eco-friendly travel mug, and refill at the office where they keep the coffee going for free! Once a week, treat yourself to a coffee shop treat, or every time you get paid.

Not only is this a healthier option since most corner shop coffees are pricey, but it will also help you appreciate those treats more when you can enjoy them.  On a normal day basis, make things special by creating a delicious, healthy homemade coffee you love, and savor it like it cost just as much as those trendy java drinks.

4. Choose Seasonal, Local and/or Fair-Trade

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Another tip to save money on produce like bananas, oranges, leafy greens, fresh berries or apples you might have at breakfast, is to either buy local, seasonal or fair-trade produce. They’re all less expensive, much healthier for you than traditional imported conventional foods with waxes or that have set in coolers for months on end to preserve their color, and they’re a way to support a better cause with your money. A bunch of fair-trade bananas at Whole Foods is under $1 per pound, locally grown apples can be bought for as little as $2-3 per bushel or pound, and seasonal produce is always cheaper no matter where you shop. If you don’t include produce at breakfast, then make it a point to start with at least one ingredient a day. Fruits or vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need to stay healthy and feel your best. And, what’s even better is they brighten up just about any meal they’re added to!

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5. Follow Sales and Rotate Your Bases 

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USDA/Flickr

Another tip is to follow sales as closely as possible. Most grocery stores rotate the same traditional sale items in their circulars every 4-6 weeks, so keep up with when your favorite brand of oats, greens, fruit, etc. goes on sale, and stock up when they do for that entire period until they go on sale again.

This can help provide you with breakfasts for months on end and will help you pay less each trip, which equals to fewer costs per meal. Other items to watch out for that normally go on sale include almond butter, peanut butter, vegan yogurt, almond milk, frozen fruits, grains, nuts, and seeds.

If you’re looking to eat healthily and watching your budget, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Check out 9 Hacks to Shop at Whole Foods on a Budget, Simple, Healthy Foods Anyone Can Afford, Meatless Monday Meals for the Budget-Crunched, and 20 Everyday Superfoods You Should Add to Your Grocery List NOW!

What’s your best budget-friendly breakfast dish?

Lead Image Source: Carrot Cake Muffin Tops

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