The 20 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast
Start your day off right
The next time you rush out the door in the morning without something to eat, consider this: Skipping breakfast can set you up for overeating later in the day. A healthy a.m. meal, on the other hand, can give you energy, satisfy your appetite, and set the stage for smart decisions all day long.
"You want to aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein," says Erica Giovinazzo, MS, RD, a nutritionist at Clay Health Club and Spa, in New York City. Luckily, your options are plenty. Here's a look at some of our favorite breakfast foods, along with expert tips for making them even healthier.
Watch the video: 10 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast
You may have noticed a heart-shaped seal on your box of oatmeal recently. The seal's there because 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 omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium.
Steel-cut oats, which take about 15 minutes to cook, contain more fiber than rolled oats or instant varieties, but any type of oatmeal is a healthy choice. Just avoid the flavored kinds, which can be packed with sugar. Instead, sweeten your bowl with milk and a bit of honey, and top with fruit and nuts.
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This tangy, creamy yogurt is loaded with calcium and boasts plenty of protein—nearly twice as much as regular yogurt—to keep you feeling full throughout the morning. Your best bet: Choose a plain, nonfat variety, and add some fruit to give it some sweetness and flavor (and a dose of added nutrition).
"I love Greek yogurt because it's really quick and easy," Giovinazzo says. "You can always take it with you on your way out the door."
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It's easy to incorporate wheat germ into almost any meal, including your go-to breakfasts: Sprinkle it over cereal, stir it into yogurt, or mix it into a smoothie.
For a well-rounded breakfast, pair it with proteinsuch as yogurt or an egg, Giovinazzo suggests. But check with your doctor first if you take any medications, as grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with some prescription drugs.
"Slice it up and add it to cereal or oatmeal," Giovinazzo suggests. "It will add natural sweetness, so you may not need additional sugar."
Thanks to a healthy dose of potassium, an electrolyte that helps lower blood pressure naturally, bananas are a particularly good choice for people with hypertension.
These incredible edibles have made quite a comeback in recent years. Once shunned for being high in dietary cholesterol (one yolk contains about 60% of your daily allotment), eggs are now embraced as a healthy source of protein and nutrients like vitamin D. Why the turnabout? Research has shown that the cholesterol in our food has less of an impact on blood cholesterol than previously thought.
"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," says Giovinazzo. The American Heart Association recommends that people with normal cholesterol limit their cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams per day.
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Don't eat eggs or dairy? Almond butter is an excellent alternate source of protein, and it's filled with monounsaturated fat (one of the good fats). Plus, as Giovinazzo points out, "it's really delicious spread on whole grain bread or paired with a banana or an apple."
Nutritionally, almond butter is comparable to peanut butter, and they each have about 100 calories per tablespoon. Almond butter contains slightly less saturated fat, though—a definite point in its favor, even for people who aren't allergic to peanuts.
Best of all, watermelon contains just 40 calories per cup, landing it on lists of so-called negative-calorie foods that supposedly burn more calories during digestion than they add in. (Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that, but that's no reason to not eat watermelon!)
A word of caution: Whole flaxseeds will pass through your body without being digested, so be sure to buy them ground or grind them yourself with a coffee or spice grinder.
Blueberries are also lower in calories than a lot of other fruits (they contain just 80 per cup), so you can pile them onto your cereal without worrying about your waistline.
Strawberries are good for your ticker, too. A 2013 study found that women were less likely to have a heart attack over an 18-year period if they ate more than three servings of strawberries or blueberries per week. (Strawberries, like blueberries, are a good source of anthocyanins.)
Of course, loading coffee up with cream and sugar may erase any potential benefits. So skip the fancy flavored drinks, and stick with skim milk.
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All tea (black, green, or white) provides antioxidants, but green tea may be healthiest of all. Research suggests that drinking five cups a day can increase your body's metabolism and help you lose more weight around the middle.
And, like most melons, cantaloupe has a high water concentration, which means it will help you stay hydrated and keep you feeling full until lunchtime.
This fuzzy little fruit has about 65 milligrams of vitamin C per serving—nearly as much as an orange. It's also rich in potassium and copper and contains more fiber per ounce than a banana, which makes it a good aid to digestion. (In one study, eating two kiwis a day for one month lessened constipation in people with irritable bowel syndrome.)
Kiwis are slightly tart. They're delicious by themselves, but if you prefer a sweeter flavor, try mixing them with strawberries and bananas in a smoothie or fruit salad.
Whichever OJ you prefer, stick with one small glass a day, Giovinazzo advises. Fruit juice is high in calories and sugar, she says, and shouldn't replace whole fruit in your diet.
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As with OJ, though, you're better off sticking with small servings. Cranberry juicenot to be confused with cranberry juice cocktailisn't as sugary as other fruit juices, but its high acidity can sometimes contribute to bladder problems besides UTIs.
You'll find this winning combo in many whole-grain or bran cereals (such as shredded wheat), which as an added bonus are often fortified with riboflavin, folic acid, and other essential nutrients.
Top off your bowl with skim milk and fruit for the complete package: whole grains to fill you up, protein to supply all-day energy, and antioxidants to keep your immune system humming.
Although you can buy fresh raspberries year-round, during the off-season you'll find them cheaper (and 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.
What you put on it matters, as well. "Slathering your toast with butter or jelly just adds empty fat and calories," says Giovinazzo. "Instead, get some protein by adding an egg or some almond butter."