Growing up in a family obsessed with healthy eating, Tamar Genger was destined to become a nutritionist. She earned degrees from the University of Maryland and the University of Alabama, specializing in kosher health and nutrition. Today, the mom of three is the Director of Digital Media for Kosher Media Network and Executive Editor of the JOY of KOSHERwebsite, where part of her job description includes cooking up new health-conscious recipes for her readers.

When it comes to keeping healthy during the workweek, Tamar believes it’s about more than watching your weight. “It’s not only good for your body overall, but it makes you feel better,” she says. Breakfast, in particular, is essential. For busy women, it is often the most neglected meal of the day.

“Eating within an hour or so after you wake up will jumpstart your metabolism and provide the energy you need for the day,” she says. “Studies show children who eat breakfast perform better in school and adults who do the same have
improved cognition.”

When Tamar developed the 28 Day Challenge ebook, a month-long meal plan with over 75 fast and fresh family recipes and shopping lists, she received the most feedback on her 200-calorie breakfasts. According to Tamar, followers loved how her breakfasts got them out of the cereal-and-milk habit and helped them stick to the plan for the rest of the day.

We asked Tamar to share her tips for staying healthy during the workweek and she did us one better by also giving us five easy breakfasts from her 28 Day Challenge—enjoy!

Find what works best for you

Every person is different. Not all healthy foods have the same effect on everyone. Keep a food diary where you can track what you’re eating and how you feel after. If you have a stomachache, are drowsy or have increased energy after eating a particular item, it will show up as part of a pattern that emerges over time, helping you pinpoint your body’s unique reactions.

Think about your meals

If you’re a foodie, you’re already thinking about food all the time. Some people don’t think about their next meals in advance, but you have to if you want to be healthy. If you don’t plan ahead, you might not eat enough or you’ll be so hungry, you eat the wrong thing.

Aim for protein-rich options

It’s important to have good, lean protein. Dairy products, yogurts and cheeses are good options. Nuts are high in protein and vitamins, but they can be high in calories, so be careful of how much you’re eating. They make a great snack in the middle of the day when you need something to tide you over and keep you full longer by increasing your satiety.

Avoid the sugar

Stay away from processed sugar. Even fruits, which are healthy, need to be paired with something like a protein. Fruit fills the need for something sweet and the simple sugar will go straight to your bloodstream for a quick boost. Protein and fat in nuts will keep your blood sugar steady and keep you satiated longer. Often, I’ll have a fruit with a couple of walnuts to balance my blood sugar. If you are going to have chocolate, it has to be 70 percent or more cacao and pair it with a few nuts so sugar isn’t the only thing going into your system.

Have a few go-tos on deck

Find one to three options that fit with your lifestyle and rotate them throughout the week. Some things, like fruit, expire quickly and will need to be bought more frequently. Add them to your weekly shopping list. Other items, like oatmeal, can be purchased less often. Keep your pantry stocked so it’s easy to grab them and go.

Focus on variety

Some people eat the same thing everyday, but it can get boring and may make you want to grab a doughnut one day instead. That’s why I plan for variety. If you like bowls, switch it up between oatmeal, yogurt and chia. Even quinoa and rice make a great base for your favorite toppings, which you can serve up on Sunday into individual portions. Smoothies can be prepped the night before and placed in a travel cup in the fridge, so all you have to do is add some ice, nuts for satiety and blend. Everyone loves avocado toast, but if you don’t have ripe avocados, ricotta cheese is delicious and high in protein.