Despite what you may have heard, eating breakfast isn't necessary for everyone.
In fact, skipping breakfast may be better than eating unhealthy breakfast foods.
However, a nutritious, well-balanced breakfast can give you energy and prevent you from eating too much during the rest of the day.
Here are the 12 best foods you can eat in the morning.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Just one medium-sized sweet potato provides almost 400% of your daily vitamin A. Its orange-flesh is rich in beta-carotene, which is crucial for immunity. A single sweet potato also contains 15% of our daily recommended fiber intake, which can lower LDL cholesterol levels and boost your GI health. Use sweet potato as a swap for your usual morning bread, bagel, or muffin.
2. Black Tea or Coffee
There’s a slew of studies that link the antioxidants and caffeine found in unsweetened tea and coffee to health benefits, including decreased risk of chronic disease and weight management. Black coffee or tea is always a zero-calorie choice. My pro tip: Drink 16 ounces of water or unsweetened tea or coffee before you head out the door in the morning. This will help you get a head start on your hydration goals for the day and ensure you’re making up for overnight losses.
These fruits have a unique mix of heart-healthy fats, water, and dietary fiber. That combo enhances feelings of fullness, making you less likely to overeat throughout the rest of the day. A winning breakfast combo? Avocado toast, which packs B vitamins and minerals from both avocado and whole grains. (Bonus points if you put an egg on it for extra protein!). The unsaturated fats in avocado are also linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, lifestyle-related cancers, and diabetes.
4. Part-Skim Cheese
Just one piece of part-skim mozzarella can add 8 grams of protein (that’s the same as one egg!) to your breakfast. A half cup of lower-sodium cottage cheese can pack up to 20 grams. Dairy also provides calcium, magnesium, and potassium that’ll aid in reducing bloat, balancing blood pressure, and helping you stay energized. Use around 1/3 cup of cheese as the main source of protein in the meal; use 1/4 cup if it’s for adding flavor (e.g., an omelet).
Oats are one of the best foods we can eat for a number of reasons. As a 100% whole-grain, they’re filled with fiber, plant-based protein, B-vitamins, and minerals, including iron, calcium, and magnesium. They’ve been linked to reduced risk of heart disease thanks to a type of fiber called beta-glucan that has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. This fiber also fuels for your body’s probiotics, helping friendly bacteria to survive and thrive.
6. Whole-Grain Waffles
Frozen waffles are an easy, delicious swap for toast. Look for water or 100% whole grains as the first ingredient, and keep the added sugar content as low as possible. Kashi Whole-Grain Waffles are filled with fiber and protein and contain just 3 grams of sugar for two. Use them as for sandwich bread with eggs or top with 2 tablespoons of nut butter, cinnamon, and chocolate chips for a treat. Van’s’ 8 Whole Grains version tastes similar.
7.Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches
Breakfast is tricky, so having something on hand that's quick to prepare and easy to eat while you commute, apply mascara, or dial-in to a conference call is crucial. Look for frozen sandwiches made from real, whole food ingredients, like Sweet Earth’s Get Focused Breakfast Burrito or Amy’s Gluten Free Tofu Scramble Breakfast Wrap. Aim for a minimum of 4 grams of protein and fiber a piece (the more, the better!) and try to cap sodium at less than 500 mg. Check labels for the good stuff: 100% whole grains, veggies, and eggs. They should contain least 300 calories a pop, and stay as low in saturated fat and added sugar as possible.
8.Nuts and Nut Butter
What can’t peanut butter do?! It contains 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving plus heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Tree nuts and peanuts in general (like GH Nutritionist Approved Hampton Farms Peanuts) have been linked to reduced risk of chronic disease and weight loss or maintenance. Look for nut butters made from only nuts and salt with less than 140 mg of sodium per serving, though brands that use oil as a stabilizer are okay, too. Nut butter packs we love: Justin’s, Barney Butter, and Wild Friends. As for nut-based bars, choose ones made from 100% real food ingredients in the 110-250 calorie range.
Full of vitamins A, D, and B12, eggs are an inexpensive and nutrient-dense ingredient. Two large eggs contain more than 50% of the choline you need each day, which affects memory, mood, and muscle control. Just one egg has about 8 grams of protein as well. Nearly everything in our bodies requires protein, such as our skin, blood, and bones. Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, keeping you fuller, longer. Make breakfast a combo of filling fiber and lean protein, like scrambled eggs on whole-grain toast with sliced tomato or a spinach-broccoli-mushroom omelet. Or grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs if you’re on the go.
Just a cup of blueberries can pack up to 9 grams of fiber and 50% of your vitamin C needs for just 60 calories. The antioxidants found in berries (including raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries) also have cell-protecting properties.Eating more of these foods can help protect your blood vessels from harmful plaque and have a circulation-boosting effect. If you’re not as keen on berries, citrus fruit, apples, stone fruit, and melon are all great alternatives. They’re filled with potassium to help balance blood pressure and mitigate bloat.
Bananas help you fill up and come in their own portable packaging. The folate and vitamin B6 in bananas aid in the production of serotonin, which can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. The soluble fiber will also help lower cholesterol by removing it from your GI tract and preventing it from moving into your bloodstream (i.e., clogging your arteries). For an extra heart-healthy boost, slice bananas on top of morning oats with a tablespoon of chia seeds or walnuts.
Sesame, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, flax ... The list of great-for-you seeds goes on. Add them to cereal, smoothies, puddings, and even baked goods. Just 1 ounce can contain 10 grams of protein! The zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium in seeds will help you stay healthy and boost immunity. Seeds also contain soluble fiber that can help lower your "bad" cholesterol (LDL) while increasing "good" cholesterol (HDL). The combination of protein and fiber is really optimal when it comes to preventing a blood sugar spike (and subsequent crash).