Breakfast is a great time to nab a serving of whole grains, fruits, vegetables or superfoods for smoothies. It can also give you energy for exercise or academic endeavors. Here are four ideas to help you wake up on the right side of your nutrition goals.
Make Breakfast Vegetables a Thing
Take a cue from other parts of the world where veggie-centric breakfasts are the norm in curries or rice bowls. Whip up a greens-filled smoothie, and you’ve already tackled your Vitamin A needs for the day, almost met your daily Vitamin C needs, and you’re on your way to meeting the day’s fiber and protein needs. Another option is a super easy spinach-egg whole wheat pita. These migas, with more than 10 percent of your daily needs for protein, fiber and calcium, can work with a variety of vegetables in your crisper. Make a Spanish tortilla on Sunday, and enjoy leftovers hot or cold; it’s a dairy-free, gluten-free vegetable powerhouse (and a good source of protein thanks to the eggs). Quick breads can also showcase carrots, zucchini or pumpkin. A gluten-free, make-ahead muffin or these carrot-apple muffins are great grab-and-go candidates.
Get Your Whole Grains
There’s a reason why nutrition experts talk about whole grains and breakfast: At least 3 of our daily 6 servings of grains should come from whole, intact sources (instead of refined). With hot and cold cereals, pancakes or waffles, nutritious choices abound at breakfast. A warm bowl of steel-cut oats plus rye flakes will fuel and fill you up for the morning with a good source of protein and an excellent source of filling fiber. Stir together a muesli that pairs with yogurt and milk or is cooked like oatmeal. Another option: Make whole wheat blueberry pancakes and freeze leftovers for quick breakfasts later in the week. Extra nutrition points are given when you top whole grain waffles with fruit.
A Fruit-Centric Breakfast
Build your breakfast around whole fruits, which provide fiber and other vitamins and minerals. (Although 100% juice without any added sugars counts toward fruit servings per government guidelines, 100% juices are a concentrated source of natural sugar [and therefore calories] with little of the fiber of their fresh versions since peels and pulp or seeds have been strained out.) Blueberries and banana combine with yogurt and flaxseed for a filling smoothie with plenty of fiber and protein, plus some calcium and vitamin C to start your day. Spread a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter on this hearty banana bread to bump up protein. Or combine unsweetened applesauce with oats for a make-ahead breakfast with enough leftovers to power your mornings all week. Watch our video to learn how.
Daybreak with Dairy
Dairy products, including low-fat milk, yogurt and small portions of cheese, can offer bone-building calcium, vitamin D and some protein. (Fortified soymilks will have the closest nutrient profile to dairy milk, so that’s a good vegan option.) The gateway option: Serve low-fat milk over hempseed muesli. This simple breakfast parfait is a good choice because it uses nonfat yogurt (which keeps calories in check). An even simpler option: Just pile your favorite fresh fruit and 1/4-cup of granola on top of plain (no sugar added) yogurt for a quick breakfast.
For even more ideas to start your day, check out our Healthy Breakfast recipe collection.