12 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

12 quick breakfasts

I’m trying to be brave today. I’m not very good at brave when it comes to my children and growing up. Hit me with an ER visit, a friendship woe, or anything involving blood, and I’m your gal. But don’t outgrow a newborn onesie, start kindergarten, or graduate anything. That’s when you’ll find me in a puddle of tears, handing the parenting reins to my husband, which brings me back to being brave. My daughter, Rosie, started high school today. She donned a uniform for the first time and traveled by city bus packed with commuters. She’ll be taking classes alongside boys who look like men. She’ll read the Odyssey, for goodness sake. She’ll be okay, I tell myself. She’s so capable.

Already she’s taking care of things, starting with breakfast. Worried about her early departure, she asked me for ideas, ones that are quicker in the morning than poaching eggs or flipping pancakes. I embraced her request with the enthusiasm of a first grader asked to take attendance. This I could do. I couldn’t keep Rosie from growing up at what feels like warp speed, but I could tackle the question of breakfast.

So this is for Rosie on especially busy mornings. And it’s for you, too, because your kids are doing exactly the same thing mine are. Getting older, needing breakfast.

The Challenge of Breakfast

Already she’s taking care of things, starting with breakfast. Worried about her early departure, she asked me for ideas. Ones she can make the night before or are quicker in the morning than poached eggs.

I embraced her request with the enthusiasm of a first grader asked to take attendance. This I could do. I couldn’t keep Rosie from growing up at what feels like warp speed, but I could tackle the question of breakfast.

So this is for Rosie on especially busy mornings. And it’s for you, too, because your kids are doing exactly the same thing mine are. Getting older, needing breakfast.

A Balanced Start to the Day

The aim is to get some protein into her, along with whole grains or wholesome carbs and healthy fats. Some of these meals are made the night before, others require a minute or two in the morning, several can be taken on the road, and all are easy enough for older kids to handle on their own.

You’ll find a printable version of the instructions at the bottom of the post, so you can tape it to your fridge, if that helps.

12 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

12 quick and healthy breakfast ideas
photo: Erin Scott

Breakfast Quesadilla. Stock the fridge with pre-grated cheese, pre-washed spinach/baby kale, and whole grain tortillas. Cover a tortilla with greens, sprinkle cheese on top, and zap in the microwave until melted. Roll up and go.

3-Ingredient Smoothie. Combine 1/2 cup plain kefir, 1/2 frozen banana, and 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries or chopped fruit in a blender and run until smooth. Sweeten with 1 to 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup, if desired. Scale up for bigger appetites. Take in a to-go cup if needed.

overnight oatmeal

Overnight Oatmeal  — In a glass jar, combine a scant 1/2 cup rolled oats and a generous 1/2 cup milk and stir. Add any dried fruits, nuts, cinnamon, maple syrup, etc., you like. Leave overnight in the fridge. In the morning, heat in the microwave for 1 minute. It’s not as creamy as regular oatmeal, but still tasty and satisfying. You might also like this recipe for banana almond butter oats.

Open-Faced Waffle. Stock whole-grain waffles (Nature’s Path, Kashi, and Van’s are better options). Toast a waffle and spread with nut or seed butter. Eat it bare naked or add slices strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or other favorite fruits.

Hard boiled eggs

Hard Boiled Egg. Make these the night before and peel ahead of time to make mornings faster. Here’s how: cover an egg (or several eggs) with water in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to high. Once the water boils, turn off heat. Leave it for 12 minutes. Label “HB” so they don’t get mixed up with raw eggs and transfer to the fridge until ready to use. For breakfast, slice onto buttered toast or avocado toast, and have a piece of fruit on the side.

To-Go Yogurt Parfait. Make this the night before and keep in the fridge. Spoon 1 cup plain yogurt into a small container with a lid. Top with a spoonful of honey or jam, any favorite fruit, and granola or chopped nuts. Pop on the lid and take it to go.

Chocolate Breakfast Drink — Chocolate for breakfast? Yes. It’s better and better for you than powdered mix any day. Blend together 1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 tablespoon honey, and 5 small  ice cubes. Whirl and down the hatch.  DELICIOUS

Avocado Bagel Smash. Top 1/2 toasted whole grain bagel with  1/2 small ripe avocado. Add a pinch of salt. If time permits, top with sliced hard boiled egg or grab a cheese stick for protein.

smoked salmon tartines, quick and healthy breakfast ideas

Open-Faced Smoked Salmon Sandwich –– Spread cream cheese or smashed avocado on 2 slices of dense rye bread or a whole-grain English muffin (Rudi’s, Whole Foods Wheat, Food for Life, and Open Nature are good options). Add smoked salmon and any of the following: cucumber slices, tomato slices, baby spinach.  Sandwich together and take it to go if need be.

Granola Bar and a Glass of Milk. A good quality granola bar and a glass of milk isn’t a bad bet for a busy morning. You’ll find five bar recipes here, a breakfast cookie recipe here, and tips for buying a better bar here.

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Wrap, quick and healthy breakfast ideas

Nut Butter Banana Roll Up. Spread a whole grain tortilla or 1/2 whole wheat lavash bread with peanut, nut, or seed butter. Lay a peeled banana at one end of the tortilla/lavash and roll up. Cut in half.  Substitute sliced apple, pear, strawberries or other fruits if desired.

Breakfast Trail Mix. When you’ve got 30 seconds for breakfast, mix a handful of trail mix with a handful of breakfast cereal and run for the bus. You can find DIY Trail Mix ideas here.

If you like these quick and healthy breakfast ideas…


Rise and Shine cookbook, full of quick and healthy breakfast ideas

Check out Rise & Shine, my breakfast book that’s tailor-made for busy  mornings. You can buy that here or ask your local bookseller to order you a copy.

Printable Version of Breakfast Ideas Below


08.20.2014 at9:20 AM #


Leftover pancakes heated in toaster slathered with peanut butter! Grab a banana and you’re set.

08.20.2014 at9:20 AM #


Again, hard to add to that list and we are homeschoolers (4 kids – K3, 1st, 5th & 6th) so a quick breakfast for us has already started when I do food prep days. I hard boil about 2 dozen eggs for the week, slice them thin, toast an english muffin, add uncured natural meat of choice and slice of extra sharp cheddar. Breakfast burriots are a huge favorite too! Especially if you scramble eggs, do peppers and whatever else you want in them the day before, keep in big bowl in fridge and heat quickly/add to tortilla. 🙂 GREAT GIVEAWAY YOU ARE OFFERING! Glad I found your blog! 🙂

08.20.2014 at9:35 AM #

felicia beanum

great list Katie, hard to add to it! This summer I’ve been sauteeing turkey patties with onions, peppers, and mushrooms. I add a beef stock to make the turkey burger juicer. store them in fridge so in the a.m. the kids add sliced avocado as a topping with a side of a handful of berries. They are good for the a.m. and I call it dinner for breakfast!

Wow, can’t believe Rosie is a 9th grader!

08.20.2014 at9:35 AM #

Anne M.

Steel cut oats made in the slow cooker! I make 6-8 servings at a time and heat up the leftovers in the microwave throughout the week. A true favorite topped with peanut butter and banana.

08.20.2014 at11:27 AM #

Bernadette Suski-Harding

I’ve got two ideas:

1. A scoop of homemade granola to top homemade yogurt (both made ahead of time, of course!), with some frozen or fresh berries mixed in.

2. One scrambled egg with melted cheese, salsa and diced avocado rolled in a tortilla or lavash.

08.20.2014 at11:55 AM #

Tara Desmond

Katie, I’m right there with you today with the growing-up-to-fast sentiments. The melancholy tempts me to make my morning coffee Irish. Alas, I won’t. Three little mouths/bellies await. I like a one-egg omelet folded up onto itself and tucked between two pieces of buttered toast. These summer days, stuff a thick slice of tomato in there, too. Wash down with (un-Irish)coffee for Mama.

08.20.2014 at12:05 PM #

Kate P.

My kids wake up long before I do to get themselves ready for school, which is good because their mama is not the best getter-upper. My mother is also not a morning person, so her go-to breakfast for me when I was little was half a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread and a glass of milk. That way, if we ran out of time I could just chug the milk and take the sandwich with me on the way to school.

08.20.2014 at12:49 PM #

Pam R

I am most definitely not a morning person and my kids seem to have inherited that bias. On the most rushed mornings, we have a plastic container with a separate layers for milk and cereal – mix in the car plus another container of fruit (prepped or washed the night before). I can’t believe Rosie started already!

08.20.2014 at2:27 PM #

Kristen M

This won’t appeal to everyone but one of my favorite “quick” breakfasts is a sweet potato (can be roasted ahead of time or microwaved) that I top with coconut oil. I usually eat it with an egg or pre-cooked sausage that just needs to be warmed up. (E.g. Trader Joe’s chicken and apple sausage, etc.)

08.20.2014 at3:13 PM #

pamela p

I have been struggling lately to find quick breakfasts that have zero sugar. It’s so hard! Lately we’ve been liking avocado on toast, or grated tomato on toast with olive oil and a pinch of salt. If there is time, scrambled eggs on the side. 🙂 Thanks for the chance!

08.20.2014 at3:25 PM #

Patty H

Eggo waffles w/ 2 slices microwaved turkey bacon slapped in the middle…wrap in a napkin..and out the door

08.20.2014 at5:45 PM #


Hi Katie! I only have one child heading out the door in the morning, and I’m a stickler for a hot breakfast (and don’t have a microwave). When I start the coffeemaker, I also plug in the waffle iron to preheat while doing the morning routine. We keep a large Tupperware pitcher-type thing in the fridge with batter made from sourdough starter that I whip up on weekends. Once the iron is hot, it’s just a few minutes away from a warm, yummy breakfast. We’ve added those nasty pre-cooked bacon strips and/or some shredded cheddar on top of the batter before closing the lid, or you can slather a plain hot waffle with peanut butter and roll it around a banana for an on-the-run treat.

We just got our first Lifefactory bottle for my son’s lunchbox this year and it’s a big hit! I like to send along homemade juices and have been leery of storing it in a stainless steel bottle. I’d really love to try their containers!

08.20.2014 at6:39 PM #


I make your overnight oats but I add 1\3 cup of Greek yogurt to the mix along with a sprinkle of chia seeds and flax. The next morning top with honey, nut butter and granola. Yum!

08.20.2014 at7:09 PM #


On “normal” days, I love homemade granola topped with fresh fruit and milk but on days that need to go quicker, I’m a huge fan of the overnight oats but mine are just eaten cold…oats, 1/2 a banana, some frozen berries, a dash of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey and milk. In the morning, I’ll toss a few chopped pecans on top and take it to go.

08.20.2014 at7:37 PM #


Baked oatmeal! Add any fruit or nuts to a basic recipe. Eat cold and dry on the go, or add your favorite milk and enjoy warm after only a minute or two in the microwave.

mix in a large bowl:

1/4 c oil
1/2 c applesauce
2 eggs
2 c milk
1 c packed brown sugar (or sub your favorite sweetener. We like honey and vanilla)
6 c oats (not instant)
4 t baking powder
1 t salt

Stir in your favorite fresh or dried fruits, nuts, spices, etc.
also, subbing juice or nectar for some of the milk adds extra flavor!

Preheat to 350
Pour mixed oatmeal into greased 9×13 pan
Sprinkle with cinnamon
Bake 30-35 mins till toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

If mixing the might before to bake in the morning, add an extra egg and 1 cup of milk.

08.20.2014 at7:48 PM #


We live in Minnesota so a hot breakfast is a good way to get sleepy kids going in the morning. I do a version of overnight steel cut oats using my programmable rice cooker rather than a slow cooker. They retain a nice chewy texture that way and are ready when we are. Top with walnuts, chia and fresh fruit. Keeps them full for hours!

08.21.2014 at1:05 AM #


Whole wheat bagel or toast with nut butter and jam.

08.21.2014 at3:39 AM #


My kids love “breakfast hot dogs”.
I kind if make a cross between omelet & scrambled eggs – line the eggs with some cheese & a slice of bacon (made ahead of time), roll it up and place in a hot dog bun. Add ketchup or sliced tomato or smashed advocados if you like. They can eat them in the car if necessary on rushed mornings.
Can’t wait to hear your lunch & after school ravenous kids snack ideas!

08.21.2014 at3:58 AM #


We like plain Greek yogurt, topped with peanut butter and a touch of honey. Can also add fresh fruit and granola.

08.21.2014 at4:04 AM #

Sheila Sedler

I make a large batch of French toast ( enough for 5 or 6 mornings). I use whole wheat bread, and I add a scoop of vanilla protein power to the eggs, milk and cinnamon I dip it in. I freeze what won’t be used for a few days in daily portions. They heat up in 30 seconds in the microwave. Add fresh fruit and some maple syrup and your a rock star!

08.21.2014 at4:14 AM #

Courtney B

Great list! Hard to add to it. I make some homemade granolas with a lot of seeds and nuts, my kids like these with milk or yogurt. Fruit on the side. When it’s colder we use the slow cooker for overnight oats. On sprouted bread all kinds of toast, lately cinnamon. Scrambled eggs, breakfast quesadillas…fresh fruit and some cheese.

08.21.2014 at4:54 AM #

Carolyn E.

Our go-to’s are eggs (from our own chickens) boiled, fried, scrambled with homemade sprouted wheat bread. Overnight soaked oatmeal, homemade granola with yogurt or sometimes just a bowl of Koala Krisp cereal. Trying for a variety of nutritious, easy, quick and uncomplicated meals is not easy! So much pressure so early in the morning.

08.21.2014 at5:18 AM #


My kids love healthy parfaits, made with yogurt, granola and fresh fruit.

08.21.2014 at5:35 AM #

barbara n

My quick and easy breakfast idea is muffin cup frittatas…made ahead of time and reheated in the am! Easy and nutritious – grab and go!

08.21.2014 at5:44 AM #


Breakfast polenta! cornmeal cooked with milk (can soak in the fridge overnight, then cook in morning), with molasses and chopped apples (or other fruit, of course) on top. It’s a nice alternative to oats!

08.21.2014 at7:27 AM #


I do anything I can to get protein in my kids in the morning – I even offer leftovers from dinner the night before – salmon/chicken are the options my kids usually ask for.

My kids start school next week and I am going to be a wreck. We have had a fabulous summer – I’ve totally fallen in love with my kids – I am going to miss them so much. 🙁

08.21.2014 at7:31 AM #


We make a bunch of yogurt pancakes, freeze and reheat when needed.

08.21.2014 at8:22 AM #


Good morning,

Breakfast burritos!
We scramble eggs, add black beans a little shredded cheddar – roll up in a tortilla. I like these because you can make them ahead and freeze them as well. Sometimes we add some sausage or bacon. My 8 yr son loves these with salsa. They travel well in a car too!

My son also like the same thing in a taco shell! Breakfast tacos!

I love your ideas Katie!! Great website!

08.21.2014 at8:25 AM #

Dorothy Teel

My favorite quick breakfast are Eggs in a hole, butter frying pan, tear a hole in a piece of bread put in buttered pan, crack egg put in the hole , add salt and pepper and cook flip and finish off the Egg in the Hole, is delicious…

08.21.2014 at8:45 AM #


Thanks for the list. To make sure several helpings of fruit are consumed at least once a day by my high schooler I make a smoothie every morning. Several handfulls of frozen berries, pineapple or mango, a couple of ice cubes, non- or low fat vanilla yogurt, half a banana and some juice (usually orange or guava) blended up and served in a large (16 oz) glass with toast.

08.21.2014 at9:37 AM #

Kristen Jones

The almond milk, banana, spinach, and sunflower seed butter smoothie is my all time go-to quick breakfast. So good and filling!

08.21.2014 at10:41 AM #


Multigrain Toaster waffles with yogurt are my standby when the morning is really busy.

08.21.2014 at1:07 PM #


I’ve been prepping homemade waffles, pancakes and breakfast sandwiches with egg and sausage or bacon and freezing them for quick breakfasts.

08.21.2014 at1:24 PM #


I like to line up mason jar yogurt parfaits in my fridge with yogurt, granola and fruit layers. They can be made in advance and my kids actually love them and think they’re a treat! The only problem is the granola can get soggy so I generally just save it for the very top.

08.21.2014 at5:39 PM #


How about a crustless quiche filled with lots of veggies! Make it a day or two ahead and cut in slices and refrigerate. Serve it cold or heated, depending on your preference and how much time you have.

Thanks for the giveaway!

08.21.2014 at5:55 PM #


My husband is the breakfast chef around here, and on busy mornings, his go-to is a smoothie and sprouted grain toast. Yum!

08.21.2014 at6:52 PM #


Homemade granola with fruit and milk or Greek yogurt.

08.21.2014 at8:41 PM #


These are all great ideas. We like leftover pumpkin oatmeal reheated throughout the week, yogurt w/nut butter and jam (weelicious recipe), toast (or leftover frozen pancakes) w/nut butter (or cream cheese) and banana. Thanks for the opportunity.

08.21.2014 at9:43 PM #


I premake breakfast sandwiches. Fry an egg, take a sausage patty (meat or vegetarian), add a slide of cheese and put on a sliced english muffin swipe with catsup. Wrap in tin foil and place in fridge or freezer. Stick in toaster oven when time to eat (thaw the sandwich overnight in the fridge if frozen), wrapped in the tin foil, at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and egg & sausage are warm.

While the sandwich cooks, make a pot of coffee or cup of tea, pack the kids’ lunches, take your shower, or just read the paper and enjoy the calm before the storm.

08.21.2014 at10:17 PM #

K Orr

Looking forward to trying these out. My current best fast breakfast has been “buried treasure”: granola stirred into vanilla yogurt. You can see why I need help!

08.21.2014 at10:29 PM #


We make extra waffles on the weekend to have on hand.

Any type of filling rolled up in a tortilla or stuffed in a pita (I personally love the combination of avocado, scrambled egg, and sun-dried tomatoes. My youngest likes soy butter and jelly. My oldest will usually go with some type of meat, cheese, and lettuce.)

Smoothies are popular in the warmer months – pile everything in the blender the night before and store in fridge.Add a scoop of organic smoothie powder for an extra protein boost.

Peanut butter and honey on toast with a glass of milk to wash it down.

08.22.2014 at3:56 AM #


A favorite quick breakfast is olive oil, redwine vinegar & a drizzle of balsamic over arugula, topped with an egg (over medium is preferred here).
Our kids don’t love roast dinners, but will cheerfully eat the leftovers with the carrots and potatoes all diced and sautéed in a skillet with seasoning and topped with natural ketchup.
Lastly, a Dutch baby baked pancake takes just minutes to whip together (immersion blender in a tall mixing cup is a quick clean up) and 18 minutes in the oven give plenty of time to get ready for the day. So nice with a squeeze of lemon or warm berry compote.

08.22.2014 at4:53 AM #

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño

Ugh! Katie I feel the same way about my little one, and she’s only in the 1st grade! So hard to let go….but you are such an amazing mom, look how mature Rosie is, asking for breakfast advice. Clearly you’ve been doing everything right. We make egg tacos all the time, it’s our quick go to breakfast. I also make a batch of corn muffins the night before, the kids love those for breakfast.

08.22.2014 at1:05 PM #


I am not a morning person so breakfast is a challenge for us. We make our kids the usual assortment of eggs, cereal, toasts and the like. I have found that the kids eat a better breakfast when they help make them. Even if it’s just toasting English muffins or getting out their own cereal or oatmeal, they tend to enjoy their breakfast more when they’ve had a hand in making it. Great idea on the overnight oatmeal.

08.22.2014 at1:35 PM #


We make oatmeal as cereal: uncooked regular or thick-cut oats, plenty of cinnamon, some raisins or berries or banana slices, some unsalted pumpkin seeds, toasted sesame seeds, or coconut shreds, and some dark chocolate chips, with cold whole milk poured atop the whole thing.

08.23.2014 at8:39 AM #


I usually make a yummy granola parfait – so my homemade granola + fresh berries + dash of honey + nuts = yumminess

08.23.2014 at11:26 AM #


My 8 year old son created this recipe, he calls it Egg Splash Soup. It’s his favorite breakfast. Heat up chicken broth (preferably homemade) until boiling, crack two eggs into the pot, stir eggs with a fork a few times to break them up. Let the broth come back to a boil or until eggs are cooks cooked. Stir in leftover brown rice, bulgar, pasta if you like. Pour into a bowl, add a dash of sesame oil, soy sauce (and chopped green onion if you have it). 10 min.

08.23.2014 at11:45 AM #


My daughter loves overnight crock-pot oatmeal, especially peach-blueberry oatmeal. It’s so nice to have it ready in the morning when we come downstairs! Breakfast done.

08.23.2014 at2:50 PM #


I make a big batch of steel cut oats on the weekends and then reheat individual servings during the week with add-ins such as apples, nuts, cranberries, etc…

08.23.2014 at3:24 PM #


Great ideas!
My kids favorite is what they call “yogurt & nuts”.
1/2 c Greek yogurt
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
Add chia seeds and stir to soften
Then add ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, tamari pepita seeds, chopped almonds, shredded coconut and chocolate chips on top!
Kids LOVE this.

Another idea is toasted pbjs– just a warm peanut butter (or almond butter) sandwich with jam or honey- it all melts together and tastes yummy!

Lastly (trying to think of what hasn’t been said), is granola bar muffins made in advance. We start with a banana bread muffin, but add applesauce for some of the butter, and also add granola, ground flax, nuts, craisins and coconut! Experiment with other ingredients and have your kids make their own so they get excited about eating them in the morning.

08.24.2014 at1:00 PM #

Kelly D

I make batches of pancakes ahead of time and freeze them for my kids and they cook easily in the microwave. I serve them with a side of fruit for a quick breakfast.

08.24.2014 at1:45 PM #

Cindy Conner Bowling

I make a lot of pancakes and freeze them in single servings.

08.24.2014 at7:01 PM #

Jessica H.

I am afraid I am not super creative, but one of my favorite breakfasts is greek yogurt sweetened with a little stevia drops and with fresh berries. It is super yummy and good for you. I also love oatmeal, but I cannot have it at this moment. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!

08.25.2014 at9:48 PM #


My favorite breakfast when I’m in a rush is a “breakfast trail mix” just mix these ingredients in a glass to go bowl or Baggie-a cup of your favorite whole grain cereal, 1/4 cup of nuts or seeds, few tablespoons of dried fruit and maybe throw I’m a couple chocolate chips just for a little treat

08.25.2014 at11:17 PM #

Arena Thompson

I like to make breakfast burritos in a huge batch and then freeze them. Even my picky kiddos love the combo of eggs and cheese and ham in a warm tortilla 🙂

08.27.2014 at8:05 AM #


Breakfast is not our finest hour (or meal). We’re generally lazy and have a muffin, toast, or cereal. However, we’ve discovered that soup, especially in the winter, can be a great breakfast. Generally they have protein, veggies and some sort of filling carbo (rice or noodles). If it’s just a broth, I supplement with some bread. One day I plan on whisking an egg into plain chicken broth.

My personal favorite, thanks to you, is quinoa with almonds, a touch of syrup, milk and fruit, but the kids don’t go for it.

08.27.2014 at11:37 AM #


Spread almond butter on a whole grain waffle and top with banana slices. Yum!

08.27.2014 at12:46 PM #


Nut butter smeared on something with whole grains and a handful of strawberries.
We also love to have a stash of hard boiled eggs to eat on the run.

08.29.2014 at7:42 PM #


Take your favorite egg casserole recipe and bake in cupcake tin with pan liners. Freeze and reheat. 😀

09.01.2014 at5:12 AM #


Thank you for all the back to school breakfast inspiration! Love the overnight oats . . . and so does my daughter. I always freeze healthy whole grain muffins too. I can take out a few before bedtime, let them thaw and pair a muffin with some fresh fruit and tea in the morning! As a holistic health counselor and a mom, I really understand the benefit of a healthy breakfast . . . that tastes great while easy to make. Love all your ideas, your cookbook and your blog!

09.01.2014 at5:12 AM #

Katie Morford

Thank you..for the ideas and the compliment!

09.08.2014 at12:43 PM #


Wow Katie! These are all such great ideas- I can’t even think of any more! Thank you so much for sharing. This is really helpful. My little guy just started kinder and I am all tears. I can’t even imagine HS! xoxo

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