Wellness Nutrition Eat Well 19 Healthy Foods To Eat for Breakfast From eggs to oatmeal, these healthy breakfast staples and mix-ins provide the energy and nutrients you need to start your morning. By Amanda MacMillan Amanda MacMillan Amanda MacMillan is a health and science writer and editor. Her work appears across brands like Health, Prevention, SELF, O Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Time Out New York, and National Geographic's The Green Guide. health's editorial guidelines Updated on November 17, 2022 Medically reviewed by Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN Medically reviewed by Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN Twitter Website Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CD/N, CDE, is a registered dietitian (RD) and certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES). She has spent most of her career counseling patients with diabetes, across all ages. learn more Share Tweet Pin Email The next time you rush out the door in the morning without something to eat, consider this: Skipping breakfast can deprive you of the energy you need for the day. A healthy morning meal, on the other hand, provides energy, satisfies your appetite, and sets the stage for smart decisions all day long. "You want to aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with protein," said Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD, a nutritionist based in New York. Luckily, you've got plenty of delicious, easy-to-find options. Here's a look at 19 healthy breakfast foods and tips from nutritionists for making them even better for you. 01 of 19 Oatmeal The old-school breakfast option of oatmeal is filled with nutritional benefits. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that's been shown to help lower cholesterol when eaten regularly. Need another reason to dig in? Oats are also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Oats can also: Improve immunityContains antioxidants (may reduce inflammation)Support digestive health Overall, oatmeal is a healthy choice. If you are looking to reduce your added sugar intake, choose plain oatmeal and sweeten your bowl with fresh fruit, cinnamon, and nuts. Is Oatmeal Healthy? Here's What a Nutritionist Wants You to Know 02 of 19 Greek Yogurt This tangy, creamy type of yogurt is loaded with calcium. It boasts plenty of protein to keep you feeling full throughout the morning. Your best bet: Choose a plain, nonfat or low-fat variety, add some fruit to give it some sweetness and flavor (and a dose of added nutrition). and some chopped nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter for healthy fat. "I love Greek yogurt because it's really quick and easy," said Giovinazzo. "You can always take it with you on your way out the door." A Healthier Summer Snack: Mini-Blueberry Pies Filled With Frozen Yogurt 03 of 19 Grapefruit Grapefruit made the healthy breakfast list because it's packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been shown to lower the risk of stroke. The high-fiber content of grapefruit doesn't impact blood sugar levels since it can't be digested. Making this fruit an excellent choice for those with diabetes who monitor their blood glucose levels. "For a well-rounded breakfast, pair it with protein—such as yogurt or an egg," suggested Giovinazzo. But check with your healthcare provider first if you take any medications, as grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with some prescription drugs. 15 Health Benefits of Grapefruit, According to Nutritionists 04 of 19 Bananas Nothing like a banana at breakfast to keep those mid-morning cravings at bay. The yellow fruit—especially when it still has a touch of green—is one of the best sources of resistant starch, according to a review. Resistant starch is a healthy carbohydrate that resists digestion and has been shown to improve post meal blood sugar levels and increase feelings of fullness. "Slice it up and add it to cereal or oatmeal," advised Giovinazzo. "It will add natural sweetness, so you may not need additional sugar." Thanks to a healthy dose of potassium, bananas are a particularly good choice for people with high blood pressure. That's because potassium is an electrolyte that helps lower blood pressure naturally. 05 of 19 Eggs Once shunned for being high in dietary cholesterol, eggs are actually a healthy source of protein and nutrients like vitamin D. One large raw egg contains 6.3 grams of protein and two micrograms of vitamin D, among other nutrients. Eggs do contain cholesterol. However, a study found that those who ate eggs did not have an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, they even had an 11% lower risk of developing heart disease. "If overall, you're choosing lean proteins and not eating a ton of fat and cholesterol, then eggs are a great thing to have in your diet," said Giovinazzo. 06 of 19 Almond Butter Don't eat eggs or dairy? Almond butter is an excellent alternate source of protein (at about 7 grams in 2 tablespoons). And it's filled with monounsaturated fat, which is a good substitution for saturated fat. Plus, Giovinazzo pointed out that "it's really delicious spread on whole grain bread or paired with a banana or an apple." Is Peanut Butter Healthy? Here's What to Know, According to Nutritionists 07 of 19 Watermelon As its name suggests, watermelon is an excellent way to hydrate in the morning. One slice of watermelon contains about 9.2 ounces of water. The juicy fruit is also among the best sources of lycopene, averaging nine to 13 milligrams in a cup and a half of watermelon. Lycopene is a nutrient found in red fruits and vegetables that may prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, or heart attack. 08 of 19 Flaxseed Sprinkling ground flaxseed into a smoothie or bowl of cereal will turn your breakfast into a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignan. Those compounds are anti-inflammatory and antioxidative, meaning they prevent damage to your cells. Flaxseed can be a good addition to a diabetes meal plan because it is rich in fiber, an important nutrient for blood sugar management. A word of caution: Don't eat raw or unripe flaxseed, as it can contain toxic compounds. 7 Chia Seed Benefits, According to a Nutritionist 09 of 19 Blueberries Fresh or frozen, these tiny superfruits pack a big antioxidant punch. According to a 2017 study, regularly eating blueberries can help improve your brain function, including memory and motor skills. According to the study, blueberries have high concentrations of the powerful antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help protect brain cells from damage and disease. How to Make a Berry Power-Up Smoothie 10 of 19 Strawberries "Berries are superfoods because they're so high in antioxidants without being high in calories," explained Giovinazzo. In addition, one cup of strawberries contains 85 milligrams of vitamin C, along with three grams of fiber. Strawberries are good for your heart, too. One study found that people were less likely to have a heart attack over 18 years if they ate more than three servings of strawberries or blueberries per week. Strawberries, like blueberries, are a good source of anthocyanins. The Health Benefits of Strawberries 11 of 19 Coffee Coffee can provide a variety of benefits. There seems to be an association between coffee consumption and reduced risk of developing cancer, liver disease, Parkinson's disease, and type 2 diabetes. Coffee also contains antioxidants and other compounds that can reduce inflammation and protect against disease. 12 of 19 Tea Not a coffee person? Tea has a pretty impressive resume of health benefits, too. According to research, the compounds in tea can provide benefits that may contribute to reducing the risk of diseases like diabetes and arthritis. It's also a rich source of immunity-boosting antioxidants known as catechins, which may reduce cancer risk. Health Benefits of Green Tea 13 of 19 Cantaloupe "Any fruit is a good addition to your breakfast," said Giovinazzo, and cantaloupe is no exception. A 1-cup serving contains 11 milligrams of vitamin C and 232 micrograms of vitamin A. Like most melons, cantaloupe has a high water concentration—at 90 grams—which will help you stay hydrated and feel full until lunchtime. 9 Fruits You Can Actually Eat on the Keto Diet 14 of 19 Kiwi The fuzzy little fruit has about 134 milligrams of vitamin C per cup. It's also rich in potassium (356 milligrams) and fiber (5.4 grams), which makes it a super aid to digestion. Kiwis are slightly tart. They're delicious, but if you prefer a sweeter flavor, try mixing them with strawberries and bananas in a smoothie or fruit salad. The Best Fruits For Weight Loss, According to a Nutritionist 15 of 19 Orange Juice Fresh squeezed OJ is a classic (and tasty) morning beverage, but that doesn't mean it can't be made even healthier. Opt for a store-bought variety fortified with vitamin D for more nutritional benefit. Along with fatty fish and fortified milk, fortified OJ is a dietary source of vitamin D. One cup of fortified orange juice has 100 IU of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to reduce cancer cell growth and reduce inflammation. "Whichever OJ you prefer, stick with one small glass a day," advised Giovinazzo. "Fruit juice is high in calories and sugar and shouldn't replace whole fruit in your diet." Keep in mind that orange juice is not a complete breakfast. You can pair it with a vegetable omelet or avocado toast to complete the meal. 13 Dehydration Symptoms Everyone Should Know, According to Experts 16 of 19 Cranberries Cranberries have vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. They also aid in digestion and heart health. Cranberries have a protective effect. They have been linked to lowering the risk of certain cancers and may help to fight off norovirus or other food-borne illnesses. If you are monitoring the amount of sugar in your diet, cranberry juice—not to be confused with cranberry juice cocktail—doesn't contain as much sugar as other fruit juices. Home Remedies for Preventing and Treating UTIs 17 of 19 Cereal "Cereal can be tricky because there are so many different kinds out there," warned Giovinazzo. "Something with at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar is probably your best bet." You'll find this winning combination in many whole-grain or bran cereals (such as shredded wheat varieties). Whole grains have fiber, b-vitamins, iron, and other nutrients. Top off your bowl with your favorite milk, non-dairy milk alternative, or mix it with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese for higher amounts of filling protein. Add fruit too for a nutritious and filling meal. The fiber from the fruit and whole grains will help you feel full and satisfied. Fruit also contains antioxidants. I Eat the Same Healthy Breakfast and Lunch Every Day—and Maybe You Should Too 18 of 19 Raspberries Raspberries contain ellagitannins, a type of antioxidant that is thought to have cancer-fighting properties. They also are a great source of vitamin C. Although you can buy fresh raspberries year-round, during the off-season, you'll find them cheaper (with equal nutritional value) in the frozen foods aisle. They're perfect as an addition to cereal or yogurt or mixed into a smoothie for a quick, drink-on-the-go breakfast. 7 Reasons Raspberries Are So Good for You 19 of 19 Whole-Wheat Bread Carbohydrates are a breakfast mainstay, but the type of carbs you choose can make a big difference in the overall health of your meal. If you are looking to add more fiber to your diet, choose a whole grain bread like whole wheat or rye. You can top your bread with an egg, avocado, or some nut-butter. The fat and protein in these foods can help you feel more satisfied and fuller for longer. A Quick Review There are a variety of breakfast staples that you can eat to provide you with nutrients, staying power, and protein. Whether you eat eggs, oatmeal, or whole-grain cereal—any of these breakfast foods will start your day off on the right foot. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Joyce SA, Kamil A, Fleige L, Gahan CGM. The cholesterol-lowering effect of oats and oat beta glucan: modes of action and potential role of bile acids and the microbiome. Front Nutr. 2019;6:171. Chen, O., Mah, E., Dioum, E., Marwaha, A., Shanmugam, S., Malleshi, N., Sudha, V., Gayathri, R., Unnikrishnan, R., Anjana, R. M., Krishnaswamy, K., Mohan, V., & Chu, Y. (2021). The Role of Oat Nutrients in the Immune System: A Narrative Review. Nutrients, 13(4), 1048. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Yogurt, Greek, plain, lowfat. American Heart Association. Before grabbing a grapefruit, understand its power. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fiber: The carb that helps you manage diabetes. Falcomer, A. L., Riquette, R., de Lima, B. R., Ginani, V. C., & Zandonadi, R. P. (2019). Health Benefits of Green Banana Consumption: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 11(6), 1222. Al-Mana N, Robertson M. Acute effect of resistant starch on food intake, appetite and satiety in overweight/obese males. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1993. doi:10.3390/nu10121993 American Heart Association. Don't go bananas—but maybe eat one. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eggs, whole, raw, fresh. Qin C, Lv J, Guo Y, et al. Associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease in a cohort study of 0.5 million Chinese adults. Heart. 2018;104(21):1756-1763. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nuts, almond butter, plain, without salt added. American Heart Association. Monounsaturated fat. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Watermelon, raw. Poison Control. What's lycopene? Parikh, M., Maddaford, T. G., Austria, J. A., Aliani, M., Netticadan, T., & Pierce, G. N. (2019). Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients, 11(5), 1171. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Eat berries to improve brain function. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Strawberries, raw. Cassidy A, Mukamal KJ, Liu L, Franz M, Eliassen AH, Rimm EB. High anthocyanin intake is associated with a reduced risk of myocardial infarction in young and middle-aged women. Circulation. 2013;127(2):188-196. Poole R, Kennedy OJ, Roderick P, Fallowfield JA, Hayes PC, Parkes J. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. BMJ. Published online November 22, 2017:j5024. Castaldo L, Toriello M, Sessa R, et al. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Coffee Brew Evaluated after Simulated Gastrointestinal Digestion. Nutrients. 2021;13(12):4368. Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea and health: studies in humans. Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(34):6141-6147. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Melons, cantaloupe, raw. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kiwi fruit, raw. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Food sources of vitamin D. National Cancer Institute. Vitamin D and cancer prevention. Liu, W., Zhang, L., Xu, H. J., Li, Y., Hu, C. M., Yang, J. Y., & Sun, M. Y. (2018). The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Vitamin D in Tumorigenesis. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(9), 2736. American Heart Association. Be thankful for cranberries' health benefits all year long. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Grains. Burton-Freeman BM, Sandhu AK, Edirisinghe I. Red Raspberries and Their Bioactive Polyphenols: Cardiometabolic and Neuronal Health Links. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(1):44-65. Published 2016 Jan 15.