(MoneyWatch) Back away from the drive-through, and put down that toaster pastry. While we've all heard about how important breakfast is, the idea of waking up extra early to prepare and eat a decent morning meal isn't all that appealing if you start your day with a long commute.
So I asked seven chefs for their favorite on-the-go breakfast. Below is what these professional foodies eat when they want a quick and easy portable meal -- and you won't find a take-out bacon egg and cheese among them. The best part? You can easily bring most of them with you for a relaxed breakfast once you're at your desk.
Bagel with schmear, upgraded
Chef: Richard Blais
Restaurants: Flip Burger Boutiques in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., and The Spence in Atlanta
What he eats: Everything bagel, toasted, with a schmear of scallion cream cheese and 6 sliced cucumbers tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.
Breakfast baguette with kale
Chef: Jenn Louis
Restaurant: Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Ore.
What she eats: A baguette with sliced hard-boiled egg, sea salt, butter, and braised kale
Chef: Ashley James
Restaurant: Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills
What he eats: Farmers market antioxidant berry smoothie (Combine 1/4 cup raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries with orange juice, 1 tablespoon hemp seed, 1/2 tablespoon bee pollen, 1/2 cup watermelon, papaya and crushed ice, and 10 leaves of mint. Blend until smooth. Pour into to-go cup.)
Spanish mushroom sandwich
Chef: Luis Bollo
Restaurant: Salinas in New York City
What he eats: "Bikini a la plancha" (Marinate 2 portabella mushrooms in olive oil, thyme, and rosemary for one minute on each side, slice, and sear. Assemble with Spanish cheese onto multigrain bread and grill until cheese is melted. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and pickles.)
Chef: Claire Thomas
Restaurant: Thomas hosts "Food for Thought," a TV show about Los Angeles food culture
What she eats: Mixed berry parfait with walnut coconut granola (Combine various berries and a pinch of orange zest in a bowl, let sit for 30 minutes, and layer with Greek yogurt, granola, and a drizzle of honey. Serve in a to-go cup.)
Another better bagel sandwich
Chef: Ian Kapitan
Restaurant: Alobar in Long Island City, N.Y.
What he eats: Toasted poppy seed bagel with citrus-cured salmon (from restaurant), slice of tomato, baby arugula, and fried egg.
Fresher egg and cheese sandwich
Chef: Frederic Kieffer
Restaurants: Artisan in Southport, Conn., and l'escale in Greenwich, Conn.
What he eats: Scrambled egg sandwich made with fresh eggs from his co-op, chives from his garden, and Swiss cheese. Served on a toasted Portuguese roll or croissant.
Commuters: What's your favorite breakfast on-the-go?
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Kklerk