You either love mornings or you damn the sound of the alarm. Regardless, breakfast should always be part of your mornings because, yes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast provides the body with the necessary energy after an overnight fast.
If we skip breakfast we may be vulnerable to poor energy, lack of concentration and low blood sugar. This can lead to overeating later on in the day and trigger less than ideal food choices.
Healthy breakfast foods list
Let’s see what options do we have for the most important meal of the day.
If you are like most Americans, you probably start your day with a cup of coffee. No harm was done. It’s a healthy choice.
Coffee is an amazing beverage to start your day. It really does get your brain going. In fact, so strong are the anti-inflammatory compounds in coffee that research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that when patients with memory problems drink three cups of coffee per day, they delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by an average of two to four years. Basically, with that and all the other health benefits of coffee, you can feel better about your daily java habit.
Coffee is high in caffeine, which has been shown to improve mood, alertness and mental performance. Even small amounts of caffeine can achieve these effects.
An analysis of 41 studies found the most effective dose to be 38–400 mg per day to maximize the benefits of caffeine while reducing side effects.
This is roughly 0.3 to 4 cups of coffee per day, depending on the coffee’s strength.
Caffeine has also been shown to increase metabolic rate and fat burning.
Additionally, coffee is rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessels and decrease diabetes and liver disease risk.
Scrambled eggs? Poached? Sunny-side up? It doesn’t matter. They’re all great. Every egg provides about 6 grams of muscle-building, fat-quashing protein.
Egg yolks are one of nature’s best sources of choline, a nutrient that is vital to brain and liver health and is typically contained in prenatal vitamins because it is so important to neurological development, says White. In case you’re still leery of yolks, don’t be. Research published last year in the American Heart Journal shows that eating as many as three eggs per day doesn’t have any effect on heart health, even in people with existing coronary artery disease.
Eggs are undeniably healthy and delicious. Their yolk contains lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help prevent eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Studies have shown that eating eggs at breakfast increases feelings of fullness, reduces calorie intake at the next meal and helps maintain steady blood sugar and insulin levels.
In one study, men who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and took in fewer calories during the rest of the day than those who consumed a bagel.
Research says that eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a very important nutrient for brain and liver health.
Though high in cholesterol, eggs don’t raise cholesterol levels in most people.
In fact, eating whole eggs may reduce heart disease risk by modifying the shape of “bad” LDL cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are the perfect morning fruit, thanks to high fiber, yet low glycemic index—meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels like that glass of OJ will.
A cup of berries contains only about 50 to 85 calories, but tons of anthocyanins, antioxidants that been shown to reduce inflammation and protect the heart.
Berries are delicious and packed with antioxidants. In fact, raspberries and blackberries each provide an impressive 8 grams of fiber per cup or 120 and 145 grams, respectively.
Berries also pack antioxidants called anthocyanins, which protect your heart and may help you age better.
Berries have been shown to reduce markers of inflammation, prevent blood cholesterol from oxidizing and keep the cells lining your blood vessels healthy.
A good way to add berries to your breakfast is to eat them with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
4. Greek Yogurt
The creamy, delicious and nourishing Greek yogurt is an obvious breakfast choice for its bone-protecting calcium and immunity-bolstering probiotics, But it has a slew of other health benefits such as keeping your digestive system running smoothly, helping you feel full longer and giving you a low-fat choice that doesn’t sacrifice other nutrients.
Yogurt and other dairy products can also help with weight control because they increase levels of hormones that promote fullness, including PYY and GLP-1.
Certain types of Greek yogurt are good sources of probiotics like Bifidobacteria, which help your gut stay healthy. To make sure your yogurt contains probiotics, look for the phrase “contains live and active cultures” on the label.
Try topping Greek yogurt with berries or chopped fruit to increase your meal’s vitamin, mineral and fiber content.
5. Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Are you a cereal lover? Oatmeal is the best breakfast choice for you.
A festival of heart- and waist-friendly fiber, steel-cut oatmeal is a whole grain that everyone (gluten-intolerant or not) can benefit from adding into their daily diet.
It’s made from ground oats, which contain a unique fiber called oat beta-glucan. This fiber has many impressive health benefits, including reduced cholesterol.
What’s more, oat beta-glucan is a viscous fiber that promotes feelings of fullness. One study found that it increased levels of the fullness hormone PYY and that higher doses had the greatest effect.
In a 2015 Harvard University study of more than 100,000 people, those who ate at least 33 grams of whole grains daily—the equivalent of a single bowl of oatmeal—cut their risk of early death by 9 percent compared to those who rarely, if ever, ate whole grains.
Oats are also rich in antioxidants, which protect their fatty acids from becoming rancid. These antioxidants may also benefit heart health and decrease blood pressure.
Bear in mind that one cup (235 grams) of cooked oatmeal contains only about 6 grams of protein, which won’t provide the benefits of a higher-protein breakfast. To boost the protein content of an oatmeal breakfast, prepare it with milk instead of water or serve it with a side of eggs or a piece of cheese.
6. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a fantastic breakfast food. A muscle-building powerhouse, it contains 25 grams of protein per cup.
It’s high in protein, which increases metabolism, produces feelings of fullness and decreases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
In a 2015 University of Missouri study, dieters who ate a high-protein breakfast (35 grams of protein) ended up being less hungry and eating fewer calories throughout the rest of the day compared to those who ate low-protein breakfasts.
Opt for full-fat, grass-fed varieties to get the most conjugated linoleic acid per spoonful. White explains that the fatty acid has been linked to weight loss, muscle development, and even a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in women.
One cup of cottage cheese provides an impressive 25 grams of protein. Add berries and ground flaxseeds or chopped nuts to make it even more nutritious.
7. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely nutritious and one of the best sources of fiber around. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides an impressive 11 grams of fiber per serving,
What’s more, a portion of the fiber in chia seeds is viscous fiber, which absorbs water, increasing the volume of food moving through your digestive tract and helping you feel full and satisfied.
In a small, 12-week study, people with diabetes who ate chia seeds experienced reduced hunger, along with improvements in blood sugar and blood pressure.
Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants, which protect your cells from unstable molecules called free radicals that are produced during metabolism.
In another study of people with diabetes, chia seeds decreased the inflammatory marker CRP by 40%. Elevated CRP is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Another variety of seeds, which is incredibly healthy, includes flaxseeds. Two tablespoons (14 grams) of ground flaxseeds contain 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
Flaxseeds are rich in viscous fiber, which helps you feel full for several hours after eating.
They may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, as well as protect against breast cancer.
Try adding flaxseeds to Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or a smoothie to increase the fiber and antioxidant content of your breakfast.
Just make sure to choose ground flaxseeds or grind them yourself, because whole flaxseeds can’t be absorbed by your gut and will simply pass through your system
Research published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that the compounds contained in flaxseed may be behind the seeds’ protective effect. Use these little guys as a staple breakfast ingredient.
These green goddesses have it all—omega-3s, protein, fiber (half an avocado contains a quarter of your recommended value for the day), vitamin E, and more potassium than you’ll find in a banana. Those nutrients come with a big payoff: New research published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology found that eating one to one and a half avocados per day (in place of other foods high in saturated fat) significantly reduced levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Choose a healthy breakfast: Add avocados to the menu.
10. Nut Butter
This is a quick and easy option for when you don’t have a lot of time. Spread some nut butter on toast or mix it into your Greek yogurt or oatmeal.
A spoonful provides a perfect blend of protein, antioxidants, and heart-healthy fats. In fact, people who eat nuts every day are 29 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 11 percent less likely to die of cancer, according to a 30-year-long New England Journal of Medicine study.
Nuts are a great addition to your breakfast. They are tasty, satisfying and nutritious.
Even though nuts are high in calories, studies suggest you don’t absorb all the fat in them. They’re filling and help prevent weight gain.
In fact, your body only absorbs about 129 calories of a 28-gram serving of almonds.
This may be true for some other nuts as well, though at this time only almonds have been tested.
Furthermore, nuts have been shown to improve heart disease risk factors, reduce insulin resistance and decrease inflammation.
All types of nuts are also high in magnesium, potassium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Brazil nuts are, specifically, one of the best sources of selenium — just two Brazil nuts provide more than 100% of the recommended daily intake.
Nuts are also beneficial for people with diabetes. In one study, replacing a portion of carbs with 2 ounces (56 grams) of nuts led to reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Topping Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts provides crunch and flavor while increasing your breakfast’s nutritional value.
12. Protein Shake
Not everyone likes coffee or tea. Some people prefer a cold drink. if you are one of them. a great way to start your day is with a protein shake or smoothie.
Several types of protein powder can be used, including whey, egg, soy and pea protein. Whey has also been studied the most and provides several health benefits. Additionally, it seems to reduce appetite more than other forms of protein.
One study comparing four high-protein meals found that the whey protein meal reduced appetite the most and led to the lowest calorie intake at the next meal.
Whey protein can help lower blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a carb-containing meal. It can also preserve muscle mass during weight loss and aging.
Regardless of the type of protein powder used, a high-protein shake can be satisfying and filling. Add fruits, greens, nut butter or seeds to provide fiber and antioxidants.
However, whey protein is absorbed most quickly by your body.