Are you ready to greet the morning? Jump-start your day with the right "fuel".
Research shows that people who eat breakfast regularly enjoy many health benefits. They are more likely to lose and maintain weight successfully. They may lower their risk of chronic disease. They may have more mental and physical energy throughout the day.
Alas, coffee and donuts aren't nutritious options. But a healthy breakfast does not have to be elaborate or time-consuming. Check out the variety of suggestions below.
Eggs. One or two eggs fried or scrambled in cooking spray serves up a dose of delicious protein. Serve with whole-wheat toast or an English muffin. Make an omelet with your choice of vegetables. Keep hard-boiled eggs on hand for a quick to-go breakfast.
Whole-grain cold cereal. Read labels for nutritional facts. Pick the one with the most fiber and the least sugar. Stick with fat-free or low-fat milk to keep saturated fat and calories down. Limit portions of cereal to one serving. Bulk up with one to two tablespoons of raisins or dried cranberries, sliced banana, peaches, berries or other fresh fruit. Add a small handful of slivered almonds or crushed walnuts.
Hot oatmeal. Oats made with fat-free milk instead of water will give you more flavor and an extra boost of calcium. For variety, mix in a tablespoon of peanut butter. Or a teaspoon of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon. Add chopped apple (during or after cooking). Then mix and match your favorite toppings such as nuts, raisins or dried cranberries. Or try one to two tablespoons of wheat germ or oat bran on top.
Cottage cheese. This is an excellent source of protein. Cottage cheese is also low in carbs. Low-fat or fat-free is best. It makes a delicious breakfast choice, especially when paired with fresh fruit, a sprinkle of nuts and a tablespoon or two of raw oats, wheat germ or ground flax seeds.
Fat-free yogurt. Pass up brands high in sugar or with high-fructose corn syrup. If you don't like plain, buy vanilla yogurt or add fruit to your plain yogurt. Add a sprinkle of wheat germ, nuts or ground flaxseed for crunch and nutrition. Add diced fresh fruit like bananas or berries. It's still surprisingly sweet.
Whole-wheat toast. Look for 100 percent whole-grain breads or English muffins. Some ideas for toppings are fat-free cottage cheese or cream cheese sprinkled with walnuts or mixed with no-sugar-added jam. Or add one to two tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter and a sliced banana. Try melted low-fat cheese and tomato — or avocado and tomato.
Whole-grain waffles. Choose a brand with at least 3 grams of fiber per waffle. Top with berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. Or try a dollop of yogurt with sliced fresh fruit, such as bananas or peaches. Other ideas: natural peanut butter and sliced banana, or a spoonful of cottage cheese with fruit and a sprinkle of nuts.
Smoothie. Create your own healthy breakfast shake. Here's one recipe. Blend all ingredients and serve immediately:
1 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup 100 percent juice (orange or blended juice from mangoes, peaches, etc.)
6 to 8 ounces fat-free yogurt
2 teaspoons ground flaxseeds
Get up and go
If you are rushing out the door, grab any of these "carry-ons":
- Banana and a handful of walnuts or almonds
- Low-sugar granola bar, a piece of fruit and container of fat-free milk
- Slice of whole-grain bread spread with natural peanut butter and banana
- Pear or apple and a piece of string cheese
- Hard-boiled egg or two and piece of fruit
Consider storing some healthy breakfast foods at work. If you don't have time before you leave the house, maybe you'll have some time once you get to work. Better late than never!
Greg Breining contributed to this report.
Created on 11/23/2005
Updated on 02/10/2013
- United States Department of Agriculture. Dietary guidelines for Americans 2010.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Research Service. The egg: It’s a healthy food.
- United States Department of Agriculture. Choose My Plate. Sample menus.
- American Heart Association. Tips for eating breakfast.