Looking for a quick-fix solution to the first meal of the day? Here's what you need to do.

If you are one of those people who are only vaguely aware of what they had for breakfast, you are not alone. You probably belong to a growing tribe of Indians who seem to have made rushed breakfasts a part of their normal routine. You may also be in the habit of picking up something to eat on your way to work and munching on it as you negotiate your way through traffic. What this is doing to your health is not the issue, for that is obvious. The question is: how can a complete breakfast fit in your hectic schedule?

Variety of nutrients

A complete breakfast should consist of food groups that represent a variety of nutrients necessary for optimum health. These include complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Ideally breakfast should meet 25 per cent of your daily dietary requirements.

It is about time we dispensed with the notion that a healthy breakfast is necessarily a leisurely one. If you stick to the basics you might very well fit a healthy breakfast into your cramped schedule. The trick is to ensure that you get your daily dose of essential nutrients.

Here are some options that might help you fix a complete breakfast quickly.

Add dry fruits (almonds, raisins etc.) and milk to a bowl of wholegrain cereals or oats.

Prepare a whole wheat sandwich with low fat cheese and lean meat.

Add fruit juice and you have a winning recipe. A nutritious breakfast enriched with fruit nutrients is as complete as it gets.

Fruit juice has for generations been known for the wholesome nutrition it provides. Adding fruit juice to your breakfast is a good option for it is a nutrient dense beverage.

One four–ounce glass of juice provides nutrition equal to a full serving of fruit. For people who don't have a lot of time on their hands, it is a useful option as they can have it on the go. Juices are rich in as many as nine nutrients found naturally in fruits especially in vitamins like vitamin C and folate and in minerals like potassium.

A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (June 2, 2008) found that children (aged 2-11) who drank juice had healthier overall diets than non-juice consumers. The study conducted by child nutrition researcher Dr. Theresa Nicklas and her colleagues observes that juice consumers have higher intakes of a number of key nutrients.

Health drink

“Fruit juice contains a number of key nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate, B6 and iron. In combining the virtues of taste and nutrition, fruit juice surfaces as an unmatched health drink.”

Since fruit juice contains key nutrients and has positive effects on the overall dietary intakes, it emerges as a key component of a balanced diet. Adding fruit juice to your breakfast ensures that you don't compromise on a healthy breakfast even if you are pressed for time. What this means is that as far as your breakfast woes are concerned fruit juice might just be the quick fix solution you have been looking for.

The writer is a dietician based in New Delhi.

Complete breakfast

Cereals and Grains: Oats, bread, whole grain cereals

Proteins: Hard boiled eggs, fish, lean meat, nuts, legumes

Fruits and vegetables: Apples, grapes, bananas, potatoes, onions

Dairy products: Cheese, low fat milk

Fruit juice: Any kind