We love a confetti cupcake Pop-Tart as much as the next person. With their colorful sprinkles, gooey filling, and 3-seconds-in-the-microwave convenience, toaster pastries are the ultimate hand-held indulgence to help you get out the door fast on a wake-up-get-dressed-get-going morning.
But while packaged breakfasts may reel us in with their craveable flavor and dead-easy prep, they’re not exactly health food. Fortunately, there are better ways to fuel up for the day ahead, even when you have to eat on the run.
These creative portable breakfasts provide quality nutrition in a mobile package so you can fill your grumbling belly, avoid a sugar crash, and get to work on time.
We’ve put together 16 better-for-you hand-held breakfasts, including easy-sipping smoothies, bite-size protein balls, fruit and yogurt pops, and more. Eating in your car never looked so good.
1. Egg muffin cups
When it comes to grab-and-go breakfasts, a muffin tin is quite possibly the best-kept secret to success (and not just for making muffins). This recipe uses a standard 12-cup tin to turn scrambled eggs into handy individual servings.
Whisk in your favorite veggies — kale, spinach, mushrooms, green peppers, you name it — for a custom nutrient boost.
2. Banana breakfast cookies
What’s better than cookies for breakfast? Healthy cookies for breakfast! These yummy treats are packed with the whole-grain goodness of oats, the potassium and fiber of bananas, and the plant-based protein of walnuts.
Freeze them, and then pop them in the microwave to warm up in the a.m. You may just want to swap your morning coffee for a glass of cold milk.
3. Fruit and yogurt breakfast Popsicles
If you’re one of those people who don’t like cereal because of the cleanup, try eating it in Popsicle form. These fruit and yogurt pops get finished off with a layer of cereal of your choice — the perfect refreshing creamy-crunchy start on a warm day.
4. Baked hash brown cups
Muffin tin to the rescue again! No fork is required to enjoy these frozen shredded potatoes baked into muffin form. Parmesan cheese and seasonings add extra savory flavor.
5. Apple and kale green smoothie
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least 2 1/2 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit per day. Knock out a couple of those cups first thing with this emerald-colored vegan smoothie.
A chunk of fresh ginger mixed in adds anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that’ll help strengthen your immune system.
6. Carrot cake protein balls
You may think of protein balls as a post-workout snack, but there’s no reason the convenient little bites can’t moonlight (or, um, daylight?) as breakfast.
These carrot cake protein balls use dates rather than sugar for a low glycemic index, high fiber sweetener. Yeah, we see you getting jealous, doughnut holes.
7. Baked oatmeal cups
Is there a healthier breakfast than oatmeal? Oats contain soluble fiber that has been proven to lower cholesterol, and they pack impressive amounts of minerals like manganese, magnesium, and iron.
The only drawback: Oatmeal requires time to sit down and eat — not an option when you’re in a rush. Enter (yes, again) portable muffin-sized oatmeal cups. This recipe offers four flavor options: chocolate chip, apple cinnamon, blueberry almond, and peanut butter banana.
8. Healthy freezer breakfast sandwiches
On busy mornings, the siren song of the fast-food breakfast sandwich can be hard to resist. Get ahead of the temptation by prepping your own healthier version.
To make these sammies, you’ll roast veggies to caramelized perfection and then bake eggs directly on top. Cut out individual veggie-egg squares, place each one on an English muffin, and top with cheese.
9. Rollup blender pancakes
Pancakes on a workday? Why not? Rolled up with a filling of fruit or jam, these blender pancakes are an easy hand-held breakfast made with a short list of healthy ingredients. Make them over the weekend, and then heat up and eat up on busy mornings.
10. Blueberry almond butter smoothie
Don’t put away the blender just yet. You can whip up this smoothie of blueberries, almond butter, flaxseeds, and more in no time and hit the road with something healthy in hand.
11. Healthy chewy granola bars
Anyone who’s ever made granola bars knows they have a tendency to crumble — the last thing you need as you nosh in your car. Opt instead for this chewy variety. Almonds, quinoa, and chia seeds are held together with peanut butter and honey. No baking required, no refined sugar, and no crumbs on the seat.
12. Apple quinoa breakfast bars
Got leftover cooked quinoa from dinner? Put it to good (not to mention interesting) use in some stick-to-your-ribs breakfast bars. Their high protein content will help keep you full until lunch, and cutting them into squares ahead of time will get you out the door fast.
13. Vegan tofu egg sandwich
Yes, vegans, there’s a version of the iconic egg sammy for you too. In this filling and portable delight, marinated baked tofu proves that soy protein can be just as tasty as the animal kind. Even meat eaters may not miss the sausage and eggs.
14. Whole-wheat zucchini and olive oil muffins
Store-bought baked goods are often laden with sugar, preservatives, and questionable oils (and — sorry to disappoint — so are the ones at many coffee shops). These lighter muffins made with zucchini and olive oil are downright nutritious. Plus, they use up that lonely zucchini hanging around in your veggie crisper.
15. Easy breakfast quesadillas
Any way you slice ’em, quesadillas make a great hand-held meal — even for breakfast! When prepping these Mexican favorites, be sure not to spread the cheese too far toward the edges. That way, the stretchy goodness will stay inside the tortilla, not all over your work clothes.
Chop the green pepper and cook the bacon ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to reduce the morning prep time.
16. Healthy Pop-Tarts
We’d be remiss if we tempted you with talk of Pop-Tarts and didn’t offer a DIY option. Prep these whole-wheat toaster pastries when you have a little extra time, like on the weekend. Then you’ll have a healthier sweet treat to enjoy in the mornings all week long — still requiring only 3 seconds in the microwave.