Breakfast: Balancing your nutritional needs in the morning will give you more energy, boost your brainpower, and stop you from getting hungry before lunch. However, a pancake breakfast with bacon or a bowl of sugary cereal isn’t always the best way to go. Forget the pastries, fried foods, breakfast sweets, and swap those foods out for healthier alternatives. We’ve compiled ten science-based ways and quick ideas for making a healthy breakfast, so you can start the day off right.
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1. Try scrambling eggs, hard boiling them, or making an omelet. By eating protein in the morning, you’ll feel full for a long time without adding excessive fat and calories. Choosing eggs means that you’ll help your body out with plenty of amino acids, selenium, vitamin D, and other crucial nutrients to support your overall health.
- A serving of protein is 1 egg (or 2 egg whites).
- Scramble your eggs, and keep them soft by continually stirring them. Add veggies like spinach and bell peppers to the mix for additional nutrients and fiber.
- Poach your eggs to get a runny yolk that’ll taste great on salads or toast.
- Fry your eggs to make a quick toast topping.
- Bake a frittata with veggies like spinach, onions, and peppers
2. Make your own tofu skillet for a filling breakfast choice. Whipping up a batch of tofu will give you a healthy serving of all nine amino acids that your body needs. You’ll also get calcium, magnesium, and of course, protein to keep you fueled until lunch. Choose extra firm tofu for your scramble, slice it into cubes, and then scramble it up once it’s cooked.
- Season 14-ounces tofu (400g) with ½ teaspoon turmeric (1.5g), ½ teaspoon cumin (1.5g), and 1 tablespoon (16g) soy sauce for extra flavor.
- Add sauteed veggies like spinach, chives, or scallions to the mix if you’d like to boost the flavour.
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3. Get your daily iron and magnesium with lean protein. Put your chicken or turkey in a veggie skillet, a breakfast burrito, or a breakfast salad. Eating lean protein sources gives your body nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin E, and zinc, which support your immune and muscle systems. Choose chicken or turkey instead of cured/processed meats like bacon, which cause water retention and can push blood pressure up.
- Add lean ground turkey to your skilled of sauteed veggies or a breakfast burrito.
- Put sliced chicken breast on your breakfast sandwich.
- A serving of cooked lean meat is 3 oz (80g).
4. Put beans, eggs, and cheese into your burrito. Adding beans will give you fiber and minerals without adding to your saturated fat intake. Meanwhile, eating cheese will add to your protein and calcium consumption. Choose corn or whole-wheat tortillas instead of processed flour tortillas to take advantage of complex carbohydrates’ appetite-satisfying power.
- Try any of these toppings for extra flavour: salsa, cilantro, red onion, red bell pepper, and chili flakes.
- A serving of cooked beans is ¼ cup (15g).
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5. Stick to un-processed foods in this low-carb option. Pick collard leaves or lettuce, and fill your greens with lean meat, eggs, and fresh avocado salsa. Add beans on the side or in the wrap, and throw avocado in for extra healthy fat.
- If you’re using collard leaves, steam the leaves for 3-4 minutes so that they’re tender.
6. Eat your veggies raw if you don’t have time to cook them. Pop a piece of toast (or two, depending on the serving size) in the toaster, and add cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, and a lean meat protein (like sliced chicken or turkey). Opt for bread that is 100% whole grain instead of enriched-flour products (which are mostly white flour).
- For a vegetarian option, add minced chives and parsley to a skillet of scrambled eggs, and top your sandwich with the eggs.
- For a vegan option, blend tofu with nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, tapioca flour, turmeric, garlic and onion powders, salt, and pepper, and chives before cooking it like an omelet.
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7. Pick avocado for a toast-topping option with lower sugar content. Skip the jam, jelly, or butter, which all contain empty calories. Instead, get plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids (crucial for heart health), and reduce your caloric intake with this tasty, natural spread.
- Throw on non-starchy veggies like radish or cucumber slices, arugula, sprouts, and pickled onions.
- Drizzle lemon juice or hot sauce for extra flavor.
- Add salt, pepper, and red chili pepper flakes for classic spice.
- Put a fried egg on top for added protein.
8. Pick this nut butter for a lower-fat spread. Compared to nut butters like peanut butter, almond butter contains less saturated fat. Top your toast with almond butter and fruit, unsweetened coconut shavings, or chia seeds.
- Avoid “no stir” nut butters which can contain excessive amounts of unhealthy oils.X
9. Cook an old-school option like oatmeal, farro, buckwheat, or millet. Eat these grains to stay full, since they take longer to break down than simple carbs from foods like white bread. As a bonus, these grains are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health.
- Consume oatmeal regularly to lower your cholesterol through oatmeal’s supply of beta-glucan, a special type of fiber that prevents cholesterol absorption.
- For the healthiest oat option, choose steel-cut oats (which contain more fiber). However, rolled or instant oats are quicker to cook and still healthy, as long as they’re unflavored.
- Add flavor to your hot cereal with healthy toppings like frozen fruit, a handful of nuts, dried fruit (like mulberries, goji berries, or dates), seeds (like pepitas, chia seeds), and toasted coconut.
- Try this option for a bit of sweetness: Top your oatmeal with a pinch of cinnamon and 1 fresh apple. Add milk if you prefer a thinner texture.
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10. Choose an option with low sugar and high fiber. Check the nutrition label values to make sure that the cereal you’re buying has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving (and preferably at least 5 grams of fiber per serving). Avoid cereal marketed at children that may be high in added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners.
- Verify that you’re buying whole grain cereal by looking for the words “100% whole wheat” or “whole grain,” and/or the certified Whole Grain Stamp, a yellow logo with a grain image.
- Check the serving size of each cereal to avoid overeating.
- Try these healthy topping ideas: Pour in low-fat milk and choose either a handful of blueberries, a sliced banana, nuts (like sliced almonds), or cinnamon to your taste preferences.
11. Buy bars with 6-10g of protein, and at least 3g of fiber. While most breakfast bars are full of added sugar, sometimes you just don’t have time for a proper meal! Carefully read the ingredient list to make sure they don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, and mannitol, which aren’t good for you when eaten regularly. Only select bars that contain under 20g of sugar.
- Pick bars with no more than 4g of saturated fat per bar.
- Try this: Make your own breakfast bars so you can control the ingredients that go into your meal.
12. Add this low-calorie food group to boost your vitamin intake. You’ll get potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate by eating 1.5-2 cups (337-450g) of fruit per day, so jumpstart your day with a 1/2 cup (112g) serving. Add fruit as a side to your meal or put it on top of your oatmeal or cereal.
- Choose grapefruit or berries for a boost of antioxidants.
- Eat a banana for a starchy fruit that’ll keep you full for longer.
- Try this: Fill a bowl with frozen fruit (up to 3.5 cups or about 770g), and top it with a handful of nuts/seeds and a dollop of low-fat yogurt.
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13. Reduce the calories in a traditional breakfast hash with this option. Bake grated seasonal squash or zucchini in the oven at 375 °F (191 °C) for about 7 minutes. Then, spread the squash in an oven-safe skillet, crack your desired amount of eggs over it, and put it back in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
- To add flavor, add sauteed parsley, seeded jalapenos, and scallions to the squash before cooking.
14. Add vegetables to your omelet or sauté them for a side dish. Eat vegetables to get potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Create varieties of vegetable omelets with peppers, chopped white/green onions, mushrooms, spinach, kale, and more.
- Try this quick veggie wrap: Heat up a whole-wheat tortilla, and fill it with vegetables and a serving of salsa. Top your creation with a serving of low-fat cheese.
15. Stock up on leafy veggies like romaine, spinach, and arugula. Who says salad is only for lunch and dinner? Improve your morning vitamin intake by eating leafy greens, which contain vitamins A, C, E, and K. Choose dark leafy greens like kale or spinach to boost your iron consumption.
- Cut up veggies like carrots and cucumbers to add crunch and texture.
- Slice up a hard-boiled egg for added protein.
- Add fresh fruit like sliced apples and grapes to keep the salad tasting sweet and light
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16. Go for skim or low-fat milk and low-fat, plain yogurt. Reduce your saturated fat intake and cut down on sugar by moderating your intake of full-fat dairy products like whole milk or flavoured yogurt. It’s okay to occasionally consume full-fat milk products, but try to balance out your consumption.
- For a dairy alternative, pick soy milk or almond milk, which both contain a fine amount of healthy, unsaturated fat. Choose soy milk for higher protein content (7g per 8 fluid ounces (240 ml)) versus almond milk (1g per 8 fluid ounces (240 ml)).
- Eat non-fat, plain Greek yogurt for protein, calcium, and probiotics to keep your gut healthy.
- Pick cottage cheese if you’re struggling to find a filling breakfast. Cottage cheese contains casein, a protein that’ll keep you full for longer than whey protein (found in yogurt).
- Try this: Boost your morning protein intake by adding a handful of nuts to a serving of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt.
17. Make your own juice at home. Reduce your sugar consumption by blending or juicing fruits instead of drinking store-bought juices with added sweetener. No matter what type of juice you consume, limit your intake, since juice can contain a lot of sugar and less fiber than consuming fruits or veggies whole.
- Try this blueberry cashew smoothie: Blend 2 pitted Medjool dates, 16 fluid ounces (470 mL) coconut water, 1 cup (150g) cashews, 1 cup (190g) fresh or frozen blueberries, ⅓ cup (90g) plain Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp (15mL) fresh lime juice, and 1 large pinch of kosher salt with ice until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
- Try this green smoothie: Blend 1 medium banana, 1/3 cup (40g) of mango slices, 1/3 cup (40g) of peach slices, 1/3 cup (40g) of frozen spinach, and 6.7 fluid ounces (200 mL) of water until smooth.
18. More tips
Try to reduce the amount of syrup you use. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.
Eating a sugary breakfast spikes your insulin levels quickly, which leads to a sugar crash later in the day. Keep away from those empty calories by avoiding refined, sugary carbs.