When my patients start to make diet changes, they often wonder what to eat for breakfast. The Standard American Diet (SAD) typically involves cold cereal. Cereal is often a poor choice because it is processed, involves heating grains to high temperatures, and is high in sugar. We so easily choose cereal but will be swayed to think that eggs or avocados aren’t healthy choices.
For “starters”, think about variations of your favorite breakfast meals. Often people don’t have much time in the morning. My answer: Cook or boil an egg. Eggs are superfoods with good fats and protein. Forget the myth that eggs equal high cholesterol. Eggs literally take only 1-2 minutes to cook. A healthy breakfast on the go, hard-boil an egg (6 minutes) or make a quick breakfast burrito with egg, goat cheese and veggies wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.
Think whole grains, as opposed to processed grains. Start the habit of steel-cut or whole grain oatmeal in the morning. Need a gluten-free alternative? Try hot buckwheat or brown rice cereal. Don’t like the texture? Add fruit or nuts then puree it in a food processor or with an immersion blender until creamy. Need it sweeter? Try natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or agave (Stevia is also a good choice). I like to make a batch of healthy breakfast oatmeal 1-2 times a week to have on hand. Simply reheat with added warm water or coconut milk.
When you eat breakfast, always make sure you are getting 4-8 g protein, good fats and plenty of fiber. Don’t always eat fruit alone; add a protein such as nuts, low-fat meat, protein powder or dairy.
10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas:
1. Oatmeal: Try cooking in coconut milk to add creaminess without butter! Brown rice is a good choice also (hello leftovers!). Add healthy toppings like raisins, fresh fruit, almonds, pecans, chia seeds, ground flax seeds… the variations are endless!
2. Egg Omelet or Breakfast Burrito: Omelets and breakfast burritos are a great way to sneak vegetables in breakfast. Some healthy additions include spinach, mushrooms, artichoke, carrots, broccoli, peppers, onions, cheese, avocado, sauteed kale, or lean breakfast meat.
3. Peanut butter, Almond Butter, or Sunflower Seed Butter: Serve natural or homemade nut butter on sprouted or whole grain bread or in a tortilla. Add banana, honey, cinnamon, raisins and/or apples for a touch of natural sweetness.
4. Smoothie: See smoothie recipe! Smoothies are a great option for a healthy breakfast on the go, and another easy way to sneak more fruits and vegetables in breakfast.
5. Buckwheat Waffles with Fresh Fruit Salad: Homemade waffles freeze very well! This is a great dish to make on a relaxing weekend morning and freeze for later in the week. Top with natural honey or maple syrup and serve with a side of fruit salad— try mangos, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds for antioxidants. Or, try our recipe for Wheat Free Pumpkin Buckwheat Waffles – a healthy alternative to the traditional waffle!
6. Organic Yogurt or Kefir (from cow or goat milk): Organic yogurt topped with berries, granola, chia seeds, or flax seeds is a filling breakfast meal. Choose one-serving containers for an easy breakfast on the go!
7. Avocado: Avocados are a great source of healthy fats. Top with flax seed and sea salt. Eat alone, spread on toast, or try in a whole grain tortilla with tomatoes!
8. Dried Fig or Apricot or Hazelnut Spread: Puree ingredients in food processor and serve on whole grain cracker or toast with apple and slice of cheese.
9. Nitrate-free Turkey or Chicken Slices: For a filling breakfast full of protein, roll turkey or chicken around cheese, avocado, or sliced veggies!
10. Huevos Rancheros: scrambled eggs topped with beans and salsa. Top with light cheese or serve in a wheat tortilla with guacamole.
I hope these healthy breakfast ideas inspire you to put your best foot forward with a wholesome start to the day. If you have suggestions for other healthy breakfast ideas, we’d love to hear them!