30-Day Eating Challenge: Delicious Breakfast Ideas to Fuel Your Day

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Need some fuel for your freelance work? After spending the last 30 days cooking a good breakfast each morning, I can truly say it’s changed my health and the way I work for the better. I find that I’m more productive and less tired too. All of which help me get more work done as a freelancer! I also lost 9 pounds without any exercise or other eating changes.

Looking for freelancer breakfast ideas? I’m sharing an open and honest look at my recent 30-day eating challenge.

At the beginning of March I wanted to challenge myself to cook breakfast every day for the entire month (minus a couple weekends).

In the past, my breakfast has always consisted of eating a bowl of cereal with milk and then a cup of a coffee a few hours later. That’s it.

But I wanted to experiment with the idea of fueling my body at the start of each day.

After spending the last 30 days cooking a good breakfast each morning, I can truly say it’s changed my health and the way I work for the better.

The 30-day breakfast challenge results

Having protein at the beginning of each day keeps my energy level up and my hunger level down.

I find that I’m more productive and less tired too. All of which help me get more work done as a freelancer. I also lost 9 pounds without any exercise or other eating changes. I continued my daily 2-3 mile walks and ate regular meals and snacks.

The entire experiment was solely to see how changing what I ate for breakfast affected my health and the rest of my day. In other words, my experiment was a success and I have ditched my milk + cereal routine for good.

Below are different breakfast ideas, that are perfect for freelancers, I tested out and ate during my 30-day challenge. Some of them were inspired from other members of the Careful Cents Club.

All the ingredients listed are organic and natural, budget-friendly and only take a few minutes to prepare.

Hearty and wholesome breakfast options

Day 1: scrambled eggs, spinach, mushrooms

Ingredients: $3.25 per serving 

  • 2 fresh eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cups of baby spinach
  • 6 small crimini mushrooms
  • handful of fresh strawberries
  • squirt of Sirichi
  • sprinkle of shredded cheese

Total prep and cooking time, 8 minutes.

eggs spinach mushrooms

Day 2: multigrain bagel, cream cheese, mango

Ingredients: $1.75 per serving 

  • 1 multigrain bagel
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 mango, sliced
  • sprinkle of chia seeds

Total prep and cooking time, 5 minutes.

Don’t let the idea of cream cheese freak you out. Researchers believe that the calcium found in dairy helps you burn more fat. So it’s okay to eat, in moderation!

Day 3: oatmeal with dried cranberries, almonds

This breakfast is a favorite of Krystal Hart, of MSPIlife.com (and mine too!).

Ingredients: $1.75 per serving

  • 1 pkg Quaker Oats instant oatmeal (original)
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries (I used dried cherries)
  • 1/8 cup chopped raw, unsalted almonds

Total prep and cooking time, 3 minutes.

oatmeal with cranberries, almonds

Day 4: portabello mushroom, zucchini, egg

This breakfast is a favorite of Miriam Miles, from miriammiles.com.

Ingredients: $4.25 per serving

  • 1 portabella mushroom
  • some zucchini spaghetti
  • 1 poached or fried egg

Total prep and cooking time, 20 minutes.

Day 5: corn tortilla, eggs & spinach taco

This breakfast was inspired by Gillian Culff, from gillianculff.com.

Ingredients: $2.25 per serving

  • 2 small corn tortillas
  • 2 fresh eggs, scrambled or fried
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • half an avocado (sliced or mashed)
  • black beans (alternative)
  • shredded cheese (optional)
  • bacon pieces (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)

Total prep and cooking time, 8 minutes.

corn tortilla, eggs & spinach taco

Day 6: scrambled eggs, roast chicken

This breakfast is a favorite of Ellen Goodwin, from ellengoodwin.com. Fun fact: she likes to call this meal, “which came first?”.

Ingredients: $2.50 per serving

  • 2 fresh eggs, scrambled
  • some roast chicken pieces

Total prep and cooking time, 4 minutes.

Day 7: whole wheat english muffins, almond butter, fruit

Ingredients: $2.00 per serving

  • 2 whole wheat English muffins
  • 2 tbsp almond butter/peanut butter
  • handful of fresh rasperries
  • honey (optional)

Total prep and cooking time, 4 minutes.

whole wheat english muffins, peanut butter, fruit

Day 8: omelette, black beans, tomato, avocado

This breakfast is a favorite of Chris Phoenix.

Ingredients: $1.75 per serving

  • 2 fresh eggs, scrambled or omelette
  • 1/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 sliced tomato
  • half an avocado, sliced

Total prep and cooking time, 7 minutes.

Day 9: chocolate banana protein pancakes

This breakfast was inspired by Krista S., from 12minuteathlete.com. I follow her on Instagram and she shares some awesome food ideas!

Ingredients: $2.00 per serving

  • 1 cup Spelt flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)

Total prep and cooking time, 15 minutes.

Breakfast receipts n the lighter side

And for anyone else who’s not a breakfast person, Brittany Berger feels your pain. She either gets a horrible stomach ache or just feels gross and bloated after breakfast. So here’s a few ideas that are on the lighter side.

Day 10: orange smoothie

This breakfast was inspired by Amy Coats, from amysluxelife.com.

Ingredients: $2.25 per serving

  • half a grapefruit, sliced
  • half an orange, sliced
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • protein powder

Total prep and cooking time, 8 minutes.

Day 11: Greek yogurt with fruit, pumpkin seeds

This breakfast was inspired by Sarah Chang, from citruswrites.com.

Ingredients: $5.25 per serving

  • 1 cup yogurt (Greek alternative)
  • your choice of fruit (raspberries, blackberries)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (or other nuts)
  • 1/4 cup granola (optional)
  • honey (optional)
  • lemon zest (optional)

Total prep and cooking time, 4 minutes.

yogurt with fruit, pumpkin seeds

Day 12: fruit and kale smoothie

This breakfast is another favorite of Krystal Hart.

Ingredients: $2.25 per serving

  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • handful of strawberries
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple or juice
  • protein powder (optional)

Total prep and cooking time, 7 minutes.

Day 13: ricotta, berries, honey crepe

Ingredients: $1.75 per serving

  • 2 crepes
  • your choice of fruit or berries (compote)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
  • crushed pistachios
  • honey

Total prep and cooking time, 10 minutes.

ricotta, berries, honey crepe

Day 14: leftover omelette

This breakfast is a favorite of Club member, Cathy Reuter.

Ingredients: $0 per serving (leftovers!)

  • 2 eggs, scrambled into omelette
  • leftover meat or chicken
  • leftover veggies
  • shredded cheese (optional)

Total prep and cooking time, 5 minutes.

Day 15-30: Recycle Ideas

For the first two weeks I basically tried all different kinds of breakfast ideas and then cooked them again later in the month. Eggs ended up being some of my favorite things to eat so I ate a lot of scrambled eggs and omelette variations.

I also really enjoyed drinking freshly squeezed orange juice with each meal. For days 15-30 you can save money by reusing any ingredients you already purchased and doubling up on any of your favorites.

What are some of your best breakfasts to eat as a freelancer? Leave a comment sharing your favorite recipes.


  1. I enjoyed this post, and not just because I inspired one of the recipes. Good for you, trying all of these possibilities to find what works for you! And I love what you did with the tortillas; they look beautiful. I want to make sure my friend Beejay Cummings gets proper credit though, since she inspired me before I inspired you! And I just might add some of these to my rotation.

    Also wanted to add that orange juice has a lot of sugar in it. I used to start my day with oj and found it a better pick-me-up than coffee. But then I learned that the concentrated sugar and acids in it can be very problematic for women, encouraging yeast infections, and that the sugar content raises blood sugar levels in both men and women whose A1C is high, so I stopped drinking it, and it had a positive impact overall.

    Last thing, I highly recommend starting your day with warm water and lemon juice about 10-15 minutes before you eat. This has impacted my health more than any other thing I’ve done. The lemon juice is alkalizing on the system (oddly enough, this is true!) which is good for overall health, and it stimulates the production of HCl in the stomach for better digestion. Since I started doing it over a year ago, I found I have better digestion, I can tolerate gluten better, and I lose weight more easily.

    Thanks for everything you do, Carrie. You rock!

  2. How cool to see my little recipe on your list Carrie! If you want to spice things up a bit, I recommend adding some good balsamic vinegar and/ or some sumac, which has a fantastic lemony aroma and a tart kick to it. And if I’m feeling a little bit of inflammation (I get tendonitis at times), I add some turmeric golden paste, which is easy to make at home. It gives the dish an Indian flavour and also helps to reduce the inflammation so it’s a double-edged bonus!

  3. Emily says:

    Okay, I’ve always been a cereal and milk gal, but between your weight loss, the yummy pictures, and the super quick prep time for these recipes, I might have to get on board with the healthier breakfast routine. Have you been able to keep it up after the challenge, or is it hard to resist the ease of cereal and milk again?

  4. Holly says:

    These all look and sound incredible! I’ve written three down that I definitely want to try. My only problem is that I take my breakfast to work, so I reckon these will have to be reserved for weekend treats! 🙂

  5. Robert says:

    These are great ideas! It’s always good to have a quick yet nutritious breakfast. As freelancers, it’s even more important because it’s part of working our business. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Lake Girl says:

    I am a smoothie fan! 2 handfuls of kale, 1 carrot, 1/2 apple, 1 banana, 1/3 cup frozen pineapple, 1/3 cup frozen mango, 1 TBS peanut butter and some water. Blend it up and enjoy!!!

  7. When hubs and I started eating better (we do Paleo/Whole 30), I noticed my energy level being vastly better too. I didn’t lose weight, but that’s wasn’t my goal. My biggest improvement was my mood and energy level throughout the day.

  8. Hi Carrie!

    I know… slow going, right? You published this back in March and I’m just getting around to checking it out now.

    Man, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones…

    Over the past two years of work-at-home freelancing, I’ve put on a (noticeable) few pounds…

    I’ve just got back into going to the gym and cycling and that has been going well. But I was just saying to my wife on the weekend, who also happens to freelance at home, that I need to get my meal plan in order.

    So what do I find today on your blog? An epic 30-day breakfast plan.


    So valuable for freelancers.

    And an idea I never would have thought to come up with, let alone publish on my blog.

    Kudos to you!

    Hope you’re having a productive April.



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