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 best foods you can eat in the morning.
Eggs are undeniably healthy and delicious. 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. 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 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. What’s more, three large eggs provide about 20 grams of high-quality protein. Eggs are also very versatile. For example, hard-boiled eggs make a great portable breakfast that can be prepared ahead of time.
Greek Yogurt is creamy, delicious and nourishing. It’s made by straining whey and other liquid from milk curds, which produces a creamier yogurt that is more concentrated in protein. Protein has been shown to reduce feelings of hunger and has a higher thermic effect than fat or carbs.
The term “thermic effect” refers to the increase in metabolic rate that occurs after eating. Yogurt and other dairy products can also help with weight control because they increase levels of hormones that promote fullness. What’s more, full-fat yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may increase fat loss and decrease breast cancer risk. 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.
Coffee, is an amazing beverage to start your day. It’s high in caffeine, which has been shown to improve mood, alertness and mental performance. Even small amounts of caffeine can achieve these effects. Caffeine has also been shown to increase metabolic rate and fat burning. In one study, 100 mg of caffeine per day helped people burn an extra 79–150 calories over a 24-hour period. In addition, coffee is rich in antioxidants, which reduce inflammation, protect the cells lining your blood vessels and decrease diabetes and liver disease risk.
Oatmeal, is the best breakfast choice for cereal lovers. 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. 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. 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.
Chia Seeds, are extremely nutritious and one of the best sources of fiber around. In fact, one 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.
Berries, are delicious and packed with antioxidants. Popular types include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. They’re lower in sugar than most fruits, yet higher in fiber. In fact, raspberries and blackberries each provide an impressive 8 grams of fiber per cup or 120 and 145 grams, respectivel. 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.
Nuts, are tasty, satisfying and nutritious. They’re a great addition to your breakfast, as they’re filling and help prevent weight gain. Even though nuts are high in calories, studies suggest you don’t absorb all the fat in them. 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. What’s more, Brazil nuts are 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. Topping Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts provides crunch and flavor while increasing your breakfast’s nutritional value.
Green Tea, is one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. It contains caffeine, which improves alertness and mood, along with raising metabolic rate. Green tea provides only 35–70 mg of caffeine per cup, which is about half the amount in coffee. Green tea may be especially helpful against diabetes. It also contains an antioxidant known as EGCG, which may protect your brain, nervous system and heart from damage.
Fruit, can be a delicious part of a nourishing breakfast. All types of fruit contain vitamins, potassium, fiber and are relatively low in calories. One cup of chopped fruit provides about 80–130 calories, depending on the type. Citrus fruits are also very high in vitamin C. In fact, one large orange provides more than 100% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C. Fruit is also very filling due to its high fiber and water contents. Pair fruit with eggs, cheese, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt for a well-balanced breakfast that will sustain you for hours.
Flaxseeds, are incredibly healthy. They’re rich in viscous fiber, which helps you feel full for several hours after eating. Flaxseeds may also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels, as well as protect against breast cancer. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds contain 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. 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.
Cottage Cheese, is a fantastic breakfast food. It’s high in protein, which increases metabolism, produces feelings of fullness and decreases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. In fact, cottage cheese has been shown to be as filling and satisfying as eggs. Full-fat cottage cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may promote weight loss. 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.