04 Aug The Best Breakfast Foods
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 some of 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.
Though high in cholesterol, eggs don’t raise cholesterol levels in most people. Eating whole eggs may reduce heart disease risk by modifying the shape of “bad” LDL cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity.
Delicious and nourishing, Greek yogurt is 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 — the basics of weight loss.)
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.
An analysis of 41 studies found the most effective dose to be 38–400 mg per day to maximize the benefits of caffeine while reducing side effects. This is roughly 0.3 to 4 cups of coffee per day, depending on the coffee’s strength.
Caffeine has also been shown to increase metabolic rate and fat burning.
Oatmeal is the best breakfast choice for cereal lovers. It’s made from ground oats, which contain a unique fiber called oat beta-glucan, which reduces cholesterol.
What’s more, oat beta-glucan is a viscous fiber that promotes feelings of fullness.
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.
Though oats don’t contain gluten, they’re often processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains. Researchers have found that most oats are indeed contaminated with other grains, especially barley. Therefore, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should choose oats that have been certified as gluten-free.
Bear in mind that one cup (235 grams) of cooked oatmeal contains only about 6 grams of protein, which won’t provide the benefits of a higher-protein breakfast. 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.
Berries and Other Fruits
Berries are delicious and packed with antioxidants. Popular types include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.
- Berries are lower in sugar than most fruits, yet higher in fiber.
- Raspberries and blackberries each provide an impressive 8 grams of fiber per cup or 120 and 145 grams, respectively.
- Depending on the type, one cup of berries contains only 50–85 calories.
- Berries 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.
Let’s not forget all the other kinds of fruit out there!
- 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.
- Due to its high fiber and water contents, fruit is also very filling.
Pair fruit with eggs, cheese, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt for a well-balanced breakfast that will sustain you for hours.
Nuts are 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. In fact, your body only absorbs about 129 calories of a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of almonds. This may be true for some other nuts as well, though at this time only almonds have been tested.
- 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.
- 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. In one study, replacing a portion of carbs with 2 ounces (56 grams) of nuts led to reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
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, which we discussed above — but 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. A review of 17 studies found that green tea drinkers had reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.
It also contains an antioxidant known as EGCG, which may protect your brain, nervous system and heart from damage.
Another great way to start your day is with a protein shake or smoothie. Several types of protein powders can be used, including whey, egg, soy and pea protein.
Whey has also been studied the most and provides several health benefits. Additionally, it seems to reduce appetite more than other forms of protein.
One study comparing four high-protein meals found that the whey protein meal reduced appetite the most and led to the lowest calorie intake at the next meal.
Whey protein can help lower blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a carb-containing meal and preserve muscle mass during weight loss and aging.
Regardless of the type of protein powder used, a high-protein shake can be satisfying and filling. Add fruits, greens, nut butter or seeds to provide fiber and antioxidants.