Q: I know that I should eat breakfast, but what’s healthy?
A: Your dietary resolve might be in full swing first thing in the morning, but let that guide you to nutrient-packed options, rather than skipping eating altogether. Research shows that people who regularly eat breakfast tend to be leaner. Breakfast eaters also gain some serious benefits like eating less later in the day, making healthier choices throughout the day, and realizing steadier energy levels.
We have 3 simple rules that we encourage you to follow when it comes to putting together a satisfying, healthy, and delicious breakfast. Here they are:
1. Combine protein, fiber-rich carbs, and healthy fat. This combination of nutrients provides the most satisfying, energizing, not-hungry-for-hours meal. Not sure what belongs in each category? Here’s our guide:
Protein: eggs/egg whites, tofu, soymilk, unsweetened protein powder, nonfat/ low-fat milk, nonfat/low-fat classic or Greek style yogurt, nonfat/low-fat cottage cheese, cheese
Fiber-Rich Carbs: fruit, cooked whole grains, whole grain cereal, potato, sweet potato
Healthy Fat: nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, olive oil, avocado, olives
2. Be ready with sweet or savory options to suit your current craving. The sky’s the limit with breakfast creativity, and that means you can tailor your AM noshing to suit your exact food mood. Sweet and creamy? Salty and crunchy? Sure and sure. Check out our ideas below for some inspiration.
3. Make it between 300 and 400 calories. You don’t want to skimp on calories in the morning because it can lead to making up for it (and more) later in the day/night. Instead, have a breakfast that leaves you satisfied but not stuffed. For people looking to lose weight, try to keep it around 300 – 325 calories. If you’re really active or want to maintain your current weight, aim for 375 – 400 calories.
C&J’s Favorite Breakfasts (around 300 calories)
Yogurt Parfait: Layer 6 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup granola, 1 tbsp chopped walnuts, and a dash of cinnamon.
Elvis Toast: Top a slice of toasted whole grain bread with 1 tbsp peanut butter and a sliced banana.
On-the-Go: Pair a small (8 to 10-ounce) nonfat or soy latte with a KIND bar.
Power Smoothie: Blend 1 banana, 1/4 cup strawberries, 1 giant handful spinach or kale, 1 cup nonfat milk (or dairy alternative), 1 scoop unsweetened protein powder, 1 tbsp hemp or chia seeds, and a few ice cubes until smooth.
Fiesta Potato: Top a small baked sweet potato with a cooked (fried in cooking spray or scrambled) egg + one cooked egg white, 1/4 avocado, and 1 tbsp salsa.
Tofu Scramble Burrito: Sauté 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) of drained cubed tofu with 1/4 cup chopped onion in 1 tsp olive oil until golden. Add 1/2 cup sliced grape tomatoes and 1/8 tsp cumin. Wrap ingredients in an 8 to 10-inch whole grain tortilla.
Egg in a nest: Cut a hole in the center of a slice of whole grain bread. Place the slice of bread, and the cut-out in a skillet with 1 tsp butter over medium heat. Crack an egg into the center of the slice of bread and cook until firm. Flip bread and egg over and cook on remaining side until done. Serve with 1/4 avocado and toast cut-out.
What’s your favorite breakfast? Do you usually go for sweet or savory?