Food & Vitamins

9 Breakfast Recipes You Can’t Afford to Skip

Repeat after me: Coffee is not breakfast. Studies show that people who eat a real breakfast high in protein and vitamins are better able to concentrate, control their waistline, and resist afternoon cravings. We suggest these recipes for igniting your ADHD neurotransmitters from dawn to dusk.

A man is running late and wishing he had quick breakfast recipes.
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Breakfast Is Not a Luxury

Breakfast can make or break your entire day. We all know this, but we're also guilty of forgetting it — especially after struggling to wake up on time, churn through the morning routine, and get to work or get your child to school on time. At these times, we might try to pass off a Pop-Tart as an adequate breakfast. But it's not. Only eating the right kinds of food — and doing so within 30 minutes of waking up — will give your or your child’s ADHD brain the boost of neurotransmitters it needs to stay focused, energized, and happy all day long.

A woman looks at a map, and eats yogurt with berries, a quick recipe idea.
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The Breakfast

Experts recommend eating a morning meal high in protein and healthy fats, which help you stay fuller longer and promote the production of dopamine and norepinephrine so often lacking in ADHD brains. Complex carbohydrates are good, but avoid simple carbs (like sugar) as they can cause your blood sugar to spike, hyperactive symptoms to emerge, and the body to “crash” later in the day. We’ve gathered a few quick breakfast recipes to rescue your morning — most ready in 15 minutes or less — to help you get a jump-start on the day.

Avocado on toast, one of ADDitude's quick breakfast recipes
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Avocado Toast

With its creamy texture and rich flavor, avocado feels like a decadent treat anytime. To make this simple meal, just mash up an avocado on two slices of whole wheat toast, sprinkle with salt, red pepper flakes, or a drizzle of lemon juice, and voila! The healthy fats, high levels of fiber, and simplicity make this the perfect meal for any adult or child with ADHD who can’t get behind traditional breakfast foods.

[Free Guide to Delicious (and ADHD-Friendly!) Food Choices]

Halved hard boiled eggs, one of ADDitude's quick breakfast recipes
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Hard-Boiled Eggs & Kefir

This one requires some advanced planning, but the results are well worth it! Every Sunday night, boil 10 eggs (set a reminder in your phone!) and store them in your fridge. Each morning, peel and serve  two of them with a dash of salt and a glass of kefir, a fermented yogurt smoothie that’s high in calcium and healthy probiotics. If you set aside the time on Sunday, this whole meal will take just a few minutes to prepare and eat each morning — and will keep you or your child full all the way until lunch!

A breakfast burrito, one of ADDitude's quick breakfast recipes
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Breakfast Burrito

After hitting the snooze button five times, you have no time to whip up an elaborate meal or wash dishes. That said, a big breakfast can have far-reaching positive effects on your day. The perfect compromise: the breakfast burrito. Begin by scrambling some eggs with a handful of spinach or other chopped veggies you have on hand. Melt cheese on a tortilla before adding in the eggs, avocado, and pre-cooked breakfast sausage. Fold it up and you’re good to go! This meal comes together quicker than you’d think, and the potential for variety staves off boredom over time.

Granola bars make are a quick breakfast recipe idea for kids with ADHD who need complex carbs and protein
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Fruit and Nut Bars

If you like to bake — or you prefer breakfast that can be eaten on the run — try whipping together these simple fruit and nut bars. They have just a little bit of sugar (satisfying your morning sweet tooth), and the nuts, dried fruit, and eggs will keep you full with healthy protein and fiber. Try making a batch over the weekend; they come together in less than an hour, and will last the whole week — and then some! Recipe by the Joy of Baking

Oatmeal with pear slides, one of ADDitude's quick breakfast recipes
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Oatmeal

Oatmeal gets a bad rap, but it’s actually one of the easiest and healthiest choices for breakfast. Oats are a whole grain, they cook quickly, and they taste great with fruit, yogurt, maple syrup, or a dab of brown sugar. If you prefer a savory meal in the mornings, oatmeal can satisfy that craving, too. Try it with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper — or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, test out this garlicky spinach oatmeal recipe from The New York Times. 

[3 Great Breakfast Ideas]

Peanut butter on toast with a banana, one of ADDitude's quick breakfast recipes
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Peanut Butter and Banana Toast

Another variation of the “stuff on toast” theme, this peanut butter and banana delight will delight your child and bring you right back to your childhood! Simply spread some natural peanut butter on whole grain toast, then chop up a banana on top. You can top it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, a drizzle of honey, or even a handful of granola for crunch.

Spaghetti Bolognaise is a perfect non-traditional breakfast children with ADHD will love
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Pack in the Nutrients

Breakfast can be a challenge for parents and kids whose appetites are affected by stimulant medications. If you're struggling with morning meal-planning, try these non-traditional but nutrient dense and high calorie breakfasts such as fried chicken or pasta with meatballs. Remember, don't worry about fat — it's important for your child to consume sufficient calories especially if he's unable to eat large portions. Of course, adults can enjoy these breakfasts, too.

Sausage and Pepper Pizza muffins with Cheese is another great breakfast for ADHD picky eaters
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Impromptu Kid-Style Breakfast Pizza

Toast a split English muffin until crisp. Add two tablespoons of evaporated or dry milk to one cup spaghetti sauce and heat. Spread the mixture on the muffin. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and meat over the sauce. Heat it in the microwave or oven until the cheese is melted. Serve with whole milk. This breakfast pizza offers Calcium, Iron, Vitamin C, Potassium, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, and complex Carbohydrates. Leftover pizza from dinner also serves this purpose well.

Omelet is a great breakfast for ADHD children who are also picky eaters
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Huevos Rancheros-Style Omelet

In a medium size bowl beat 6 eggs, adding salt, ¼ cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of evaporated or dry milk until light and frothy. Melt butter in an omelet (or frying) pan and pour in egg mixture. Sauté eggs until firm on pan side. Spread spaghetti sauce, cheddar cheese and meat on top. Fold fried egg in half over sauce/cheese/meat mixture. Cover pan and reduce heat. Cook three more minutes over reduced heat. Serve with whole wheat toast, apple juice, and milk. This quick egg breakfast offers Protein, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Iron, Potassium, Phosphorus, Riboflavin. On the weekend, try adding sautéed fresh vegetables such as green peppers and onions to the tomato sauce.

Oatmeal sundae is a unique breakfast treat for your ADHD children who are picky eaters
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Breakfast "Sundaes"

Prepare 2 cups of instant oatmeal with cream instead of water, and divide it evenly in two bowls or sundae dishes. Scoop vanilla ice cream on top of the oatmeal and then put a teaspoon of preserves on top of the ice cream. Surround the ice cream with banana slices and nuts. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of dry milk and brown sugar. This fun breakfast offers Protein, calcium, carbohydrates, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin A, Iron, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamin D. Add any fresh fruit your child prefers: peaches, raisins, apples, and pears work especially well. Nuts and dried fruits are especially nutrient and calorie dense.

[The Benefits of Breakfast Are Real — and Delicious]

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  1. On this site there should at least be some recognition that not everyone is the same. After 60 years I can tell you with certainty after reading hundreds of similar articles that your advise is wrong for me. Repeat. not everyone is the same, not everyone is the same, not everyone is the same.

  2. I have read articles (some on yours) that say that Vitamin C actually helps to flush the meds out of our systems so should avoid juices etc with vitamin C in morning and during the day and take at night instead.

      1. My understanding is that citric acid in any form should be avoided for 2 hours before and 2 hours after taking your medication.

        Penny
        ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  3. This claims to be a list of easy and good for ADD breakfast ideas which I began reading full of naive hope.

    Some recipes were ok; avacado on toast I can do, ☺ oatmeal maybe…🙂

    …but if the writer expects me to make multi-ingredient cooked burritos, fancy omelettes, or scramble eggs first thing in the morning before work, they have totally lost the plot! 😣

    It reads ‘After hitting the snooze button five times, you have no time to whip up an elaborate meal or wash dishes’, then goes on to suggest I scramble eggs and spinach and chopped vegetables, melt cheese on a wrap, then add that and avacado and ‘pre-cooked’ sausage! 😢
    How does that constitute ‘no time’ to prep or wash up??? I couldn’t motivate myself to manage that many steps in meal prep on a good evening, let alone at 8am when I need to leave the house in 10 minutes! 😵😭

    I don’t even have time for cereal most mornings! 😱

    Why do ‘easy meal’ articles always seem to me have been written by cooking-obsessed master chefs who have no idea how the average person approaches a kitchen?? (In my case with great reluctance and trepidation!) 😂😅😥

    1. @abistevens I couldn’t agree more. I understand they may be saying ADHD friendly as healthy instead of easy. I’m with you though the hit snooze five time recipe would take me more than 30 minutes to make in the evening.

      If they want me or my kids to eat within 30 minutes of waking up I need the following:

      Shopping List: of ADHD friendly foods which are fine at room temp. or can be frozen. Also plastic bags or disposable containers and sticky notes.

      Recipes: Room temp mixtures I can leave in my bathroom, computer bag, car, kids backpacks, or at my work desk. Creations I can make in a big batch on the weekend and freeze for breakfasts.

      Sticky Notes: Reminders to defrost and bring what is in the freezer with me and to eat what is in the baggies.

      A personal chef would work also, but it’s just not in the budget yet. 🙄

  4. Quite the contrary… Coffee can absolutely be breakfast. It’s just a matter of how you prepare it. ADHD brains (like my own) need to avoid sugar at all costs (especially early in the day) to avoid insulin spikes, which cause fatigue, brain fog, and weight gain. Our brain is mostly made up of fat, and all of the trillions of cells in our body are encased in fat. That said, our body loves healthy fats for fuel. This is why Ketogenic and Paleo diets are so successful. Especially with those that are blessed to have ADHD.

    The coffee that we need to be drinking for breakfast is a ketogenic coffee, also know as bulletproof coffee. You start by using lab tested coffee (brand name: Bulletproof Coffee) that is free of mold and mycotoxins. You then add in 1 tablespoon of C8 oil (name brand: Brain Octane Oil), 2 tablespoons of organic, grass-fed ghee, and 1 serving for grass-fed collagen protein. You add all of these ingredients, along with 8 – 16 ounces of coffee to a blender. Add in a couple of ice cubes (note: the ice is so that you don’t blend liquid that is too hot. Too much steam in a blender is bad. LOL! Blend this all up for 20-30 seconds, and you will have the most amazing tasting coffee that meets your nutritional needs, gives you amazing energy and focus, and will satiate you for a good 3-4 hours. Bulletproof coffee has been my all-natural ADHD medication for years! 🙂

    1. Glad this works for you. Those of us who experience hyperactivity with ADHD or take ADHD medications that contribute to anxiousness and/or anxiety, absolutley have a difficult time with caffeine. When my ADHD symptoms grew worse, I cut back significantly. When I started taking medication I had to cut caffeine out of my life 100%.

  5. I typically fast until noon or so. Just coffee. I actually power lift fasted on a regular basis.

    I don’t eat starches or sugar. At all. I keep a very strict ketogenic diet. The only carbs I ingest are those found in high-fat dairy (cheese, heavy cream, and butter), avocados, and nuts. That’s it.

    Because of the way I eat, I have perfect blood sugar. I never experience sugar or insulin spikes or dips. No hypoglycemic spaciness. (And being in ketosis is absolutely stellar for mental clarity.) If I ate avocado toast in the morning, I’d be ravenous in about an hour. I know people are different, but nothing screws up my blood sugar harder than carbohydrates. Just saying…

    Bottom line is if you can’t function without eating as soon as you wake up, I think you should really ask yourself why not.

  6. Okay, the typical disclaimer..I am no expert, just a wife and mother to ADHD who, on most mornings has ADHD by proxy. Trying to get everyone out of the house and fed a proper breakfast is hard. Most days, I pack my breakfast AND lunch to eat at the office because I need a moment for myself to sit and eat in order to sustain MY energy. I’m right there with you! I need something quick, healthy, and packable. Here are some of my favorites for breakfast:
    1. Boiled eggs – my family of 5 eats tons of eggs. At least 3 dozen a week. I boil about dozen and a half on Sunday, then we have an easy protein in the morning and the eggs are packable for lunch or snacks later in the day.
    2. Pre-cooked or microwave-ready bacon or sausage – Let’s face it. No one likes to smell like bacon all day. We love to eat it but don’t want to smell like it and don’t have time in the morning to remove the smell from the house with a complete cleaning. Buy it precooked and warm it up (you could also precook your own on the weekend and have ready for the week) or buy it “mircowave-ready”, meaning that it is packaged and ready to pop in for quick cooking. This method would of course give you the smell, although not as intense, which might serve to impress someone that you slaved away for their breakfast! They also make pre-cooked sausages which you can easy rewarm while to toaster waffles are toasting.
    3. Irish steele-cut oats – Good stick to your ribs oatmeal you can make on Sunday for the whole week. Steele-cut oats take extra time to cook so you will need to make them ahead of time but this is great for flavoring them and storing them in easily warmed containers. Once the oats are cooked, per package instructions, I drop in brown sugar, butter and cinnamon then divide it into individual potions for the week.

    Some if our other favorites include…
    Avocado toast with a fried egg ADD sliced tomato (you can slice it on Sunday and store it for later in the week) and bacon (precooked) – this is also my favorite lunch! The BLT-A with egg. Do you know what they charge for avocado toast? Yikes! Make it at home for goodness sake.

    Whole-in-the-wall – whole wheat toast with a whole cut in the middle, placed on a frying egg. Minimal cooking involved.

    Breakfast sandwiches – if you haven’t seen them, Jimmy Dean makes several varieties of frozen breakfast sandwiches. Use these as ideas to make your own on Sunday, wrap them in wax paper or plastic wrap for warming during the week. You can bake frozen bisquits or use croissants or bagels. To make the eggs the perfect size, try cooking them in lids from Mason jars, the ring part. Carefully oil the inside of the ring and allow it to heat up in the skillet. Make sure the lip (top) of the ring is up, not down on the pan. This will help hold the egg in the desired round shape. Extra large eggs are too big. Stick with large eggs in the wide-mouth jar lids and they should fit just fine. Pair with ham, sausage, or bacon. You can add cheeses too.

    When all else fails, send them out the door with a Muscle Milk! Ready made protein drinks work in a pinch.

    Hope this helps.

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