Healthy Breakfast Meal Ideas


A piece of cake on a plate

Breakfast is a great way to start your day. While some people prefer to skip breakfast, others need a source of energy to get going. If you enjoy breakfast, choosing nutritious foods may provide long-lasting energy and keep you full for hours. These foods are typically high in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients.

While it’s best to avoid unhealthy options that are high in sugar, refined carbs, and additives, it’s not always easy to know what to choose. As such, the list below will help you build a healthy breakfast.

1. Eggs

Eggs make a simple, nutritious breakfast choice. They’re an excellent source of protein, which helps support muscle synthesis. Since protein takes a while to digest, it also helps keep you feeling full. Additionally, egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help prevent eye disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration. Eggs are also one of the best sources of choline, a vital nutrient for brain and liver health.

Contrary to popular belief, eggs don’t raise cholesterol levels in most people despite their high cholesterol content. In fact, one review of 23 studies found that eggs have a mild protective effect against heart disease. That said, try to limit your intake of highly processed breakfast items that are commonly paired with eggs, such as breakfast sausages and bacon. Instead, eat your eggs with other nutritious foods, such as whole grain toast, whole fruit, or sautéed vegetables.

Eggs are high in protein and several important nutrients. They may promote fullness and help lower your calorie intake later in the day.

2. Greek yogurt

A bowl of fruit on a plate

Greek yogurt is a great option if you’re looking for a quick breakfast. It’s made by straining whey and other liquid from milk curds, which produces a creamy product that’s more concentrated in protein than regular yogurt. In addition, it’s lower in calories than other protein sources. A 1-cup (245-gram) serving boasts 25 grams of protein and only 149 calories. Plus, Greek yogurt is full of beneficial nutrients like calcium, vitamin B12, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. 

Certain types are good sources of probiotics like Bifidobacteria, which support your digestion. To make sure that your yogurt contains probiotics, look for the phrase “contains live and active cultures” on the label. If you prefer an even creamier, higher protein product, Icelandic yogurt — known as skyr — is another great option. Try topping Greek yogurt with berries or chopped fruit to add more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Greek yogurt is not only high in protein and low in calories, but certain types are also high in probiotics, which support gut health.

3. Coffee

Aside from water, coffee is the world’s most popular beverage. Approximately 85% of Americans drink coffee on a regular basis. It’s high in caffeine, a molecule that promotes alertness, improves mood, and increases physical and mental performance. Notably, many athletes drink coffee as a natural pre-workout beverage to support sports performance. It also contains other beneficial compounds, such as chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and diterpenes, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The caffeine in coffee promotes alertness and enhances physical and mental performance. Drinking coffee regularly is associated with a lower risk of illnesses.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a classic breakfast option — and it’s nutritious to boot. It’s made from rolled or steel cut oats, which contain a unique fiber called beta glucan.This soluble fiber not only helps reduce cholesterol levels but also promotes feelings of fullness by delaying stomach emptying and triggering the release of peptide YY, a fullness hormone that may prevent overeating. Plus, oats are a good source of iron, B vitamins, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. They also contain around 10 grams of protein per cup (81 grams). To boost the protein content, make oatmeal with milk instead of water, mix in some protein powder, or serve it with a side of eggs. Keep in mind that oats don’t contain gluten but are often processed alongside gluten-containing grains, which increases the risk of cross contamination. Oatmeal is rich in beta glucan, a type of fiber that may lower cholesterol levels and increase feelings of fullness. It also contains many vitamins and minerals.

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