The question of what to eat for breakfast is a tough one for many. My husband often says, with a smile, that I’ve done a horrible job finding him a suitable healthy breakfast options for his lifestyle. So much of the food that is marketed as standard, quick breakfast food is nutrient depleted. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (hey, they’re all important. Let’s not play favorites!), I would say that eating a good breakfast will do wonders for your energy level and your waistline.
Having a good breakfast does two things.
- First, it helps stabilize your blood sugar. Have you ever felt good in the morning, only to want to curl up in a ball and nap at 2pm? This could be due to a blood sugar low, which could, in part, be prevented by eating breakfast.
- Additionally, studies have shown that eating breakfast reduces hunger signals for the rest of the day.
Many conventional breakfast options are made from refined carbohydrates. Examples might be pancakes, waffles, cold cereals, toast and most granola. These options will quickly turn to sugar in the body, leaving you hungry and lethargic in the afternoon. And we definitely don’t want that!
Additionally, most breakfast meats are of the unhealthy variety. There are numerous studies finding a strong correlation between the consumption of smoked meats and the development of cancer and leukemia. So this leaves bacon, sausage and ham out of a healthy breakfast. I know and I’m sorry
And while this is all well and good to know, what are you supposed to actually eat? Let’s start with one basic principal. A good breakfast must include a good source of protein. And it should be low in refined carbohydrates. So, I’ve brainstormed some ideas to help give you a good start to your day.
Good sit-down breakfast ideas
- Hot quinoa cereal (quinoa is the only grain that is also a complete protein!), mixed with nuts and fruit.
- Almond flour protein pancakes – pancakes made from just almond flour and eggs, flavored with a little vanilla extract, fresh fruit or stevia.
- Sweet potato and turkey hash seasoned with fresh herbs.
- Breakfast Chili – beans, avocado, salsa, and vegetables served on top of a sprouted corn tortilla, topped with an egg!
- Homemade granola made with nuts, fresh fruit, dried coconut and toasted quinoa. Serve with your favorite unsweetened milk variety.
- Tempeh and avocado scramble. There are different opinions on including soy in the diet, but all studies show that if you are going to eat it, eating it when it is fermented like in tempeh is the way to go!
- Turkey and vegetable omelet, cooked in butter or coconut oil.
- Scrambled eggs and veggies.
Many people complain that they have trouble finding a good breakfast on work days. And they want something that is portable. This often leads them to the fast food drive-through, or to a pastry at their favorite coffee bar.
Better breakfast options to take to work.
- Unsweetened yogurt with fresh fruit.
- A slice of homemade vegetable quiche made without almond flour crust and prepared without cheese.
- Homemade turkey patty – heated.
- Unsweetened instant oatmeal packet with added fresh fruit and lots of nuts (not a super source of protein, but a better option.)
- Sprouted grain toast topped with sliced chicken and avocado (yes, this can be breakfast food!)
- Homemade frozen breakfast burritos. Mix scrambled eggs, veggies, turkey, avocado and salsa, wrap into a sprouted grain tortilla and freeze. Just grab and go!
And what happens on the days when there isn’t even time to sit? So the only logical option must be a doughnut, right? Ok, you probably know me well enough to know I’m gonna say no. You just have to keep it simple. And hopefully there are other days in the week where you do have time for a real sit-down breakfasts.
Here are some better options for when there is no time to break for breakfast. Since these on-the-go options are more like snacks, you may want to combine a couple to feel fully nourished.
Better options for breakfast on-the-go
- A few pieces of chicken or turkey in a bag with a handful of nuts.
- A baggie of homemade granola, but leave out the milk.
- A protein smoothie – super portable!
- A protein bar made just from fruit and nuts (I’m a big fan of Larabars.) You might want to make these at home as the majority of store-bought bars are full of sugar and heavily processed.
- Hard-boiled eggs.
- Healthy quinoa muffins – mix quinoa, an egg, almond flour, applesauce, stevia and dried fruit and bake.
Ok, so with all these options, even a super picky eater should be able to find something suitable. If you aren’t used to having a good breakfast in the morning, try one of these options and see how you feel. And to my husband, “Honey, I gave you 20 choices, so what’s your excuse now?”
Patricia Weber says
Erica you’re making me hungry all over again and it’s after lunch! hahaha I love quinoa – cooked and even incrackers and now have found a quinoa chip. But my favorite breakfast because it’s so filling is an egg (usually over medium) with an organic, gluten free turkey sausage patty, on occasion topped with cheese.
The Pure Protein bar is a staple for our traveling – low sugar (3 gr), low carbs (21gr) high protein and 200 calories, and delicious.
I have to try that turkey hash you mention – sounds yummy.
Sorry for making you hungry! It sounds like you enjoy breakfast and that you have a good one. I would definitely recommend Larabars and Kits Organic (by Cliff) if you like protein bars. They are much less processed than the Pure Protein bars, made exclusively from whole foods and with no artificial sweeteners.
I’m always fighting cholesterol so my go to breakfast is cooked oatmeal, topped with fruit and ground almonds. Your suggestions for quinoa may move the oatmeal to second place and quinoa to first. I am going to have to find some good breakfast recipes using quinoa.
Yes, you should definitely try the quinoa, Lenie! I’m pretty sure you will like it and it will give you an extra protein boost compared to the oatmeal. You can cook quinoa as you normally would and then add dairy and/or your toppings as well as sweetener if you need it. Super easy.
Donna Janke says
All of these breakfast options sound delicious. I know that I feel better and my day seems to go better when I get a good healthy breakfast.
I think you are in company Donna. My clients are often surprised at how much better they feel when nourishing themselves in the morning.
Doreen Pendgracs says
I think breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and same goes for my husband, so we always have a fabulous and healthy breakfast. We’ll often have up to 5 fruits as part of it, along with a whole grain baked good. I still love my yogurt, but he can no longer eat it due to a lactose intolerance (even the lactose free yogurts still seem to bother him.) Cheers!
That is great that you enjoy fruit in the morning. And you definitely shouldn’t eat dairy if it bothers you. It is probably the casein (milk protein) that you are reacting to. Somehow lactose gets all the media attention, but casein is often just as problematic. If you don’t want to include meat or eggs in your morning, I would try to at least add some nuts. That will give you at least a little protein to start your day.
I tend to eat breakfast around 10am and it usually consists of two slices of toast (brown bread) or porridge.
Some mornings I wake ravenous and other mornings I do not feel hungry at all.
Phoenicia, your morning hunger probably waivers based on your blood sugar levels. The mornings when you are ravenous, your blood sugar is probably a bit more imbalanced. If you could add a good source of protein to your breakfast, it will help your blood sugar throughout the day!
Ken Dowell says
I think I’d go for the breakfast burrito. Someone would just have to twist my arm to force me to leave the chorizo out.
Give it a try Ken! You might end up surprised and not even miss the chorizo!
Jacqueline Gum says
The turkey hash sounds heavenly! I love breakfast food…my favorite being eggs! Oatmeal and cream of wheat too! And I can fruit anytime.
Those sound like good breakfast choices Jacqueline! And give the turkey hash a try!
Pamela Chollet says
I’m glad you mentioned Larabars because I wanted to try them, but didn’t know if they contained a lot of sugar. Two of my breakfast faves is, egg-whites with spinach and a slice of vegan cheese on a sprouted tortilla.When I’m in a hurry I have oatmeal and add a bit of vanilla whey protein and some berries. Should I be adding the yolk to the omelet?
Pamela, the Larabars do contain sugar, but most of the bars only have sugar from dried fruit. Just stay away from the options with chocolate chips. I would prefer someone eat that, rather than the chemical-filled, highly processed, artificially sweetened low-carb bars. Just my take on it.
And yes, I would say that there is much benefit to eating the yolk. It has quite a bit of the protein in the egg and also many of the vitamins. The only exception would be in the case of somehow who has an extreme problem with cholesterol.
Mina Joshi says
I tend to eat Muesli (with either nuts or dry fruits) served with either yogurt or milk in the mornings and I do not have to snack in between as it keeps me feeling full until lunchtime.
Sounds good, Mina! And don’t be afraid of snacking. Just choose snacks with protein and a little fat.
Marquita Herald says
Not good Erica – it’s midnight I’m still working and now thinking abut a snack since I just happen to have the ingredients on hand to make a couple of these yummy sounding breakfasts! Seriously, they all sound great, especially the homemade granola. I fell in love with Muesli on my first trip to Europe and it’s been a favorite ever since. For on the go I especially like the breakfast burrito since I have this bad habit of dropping food all over myself. 🙂
Haha, I totally drop food all over myself too. My little dog has become brazen enough to jump up on me while I’m eating in hopes of getting a front row seat to catch any crumbs that may fall. How embarrassing. Now, go get some sleep!
Thanks for this post, Erica.
I often search aimlessly for the ‘perfect’ breakfast diet in the internet. Since you have explained in details about the various diet plans, this post is worth bookmarking.
I have a question- is it injurious to take fruit juice in early morning on an empty stomach?
Tuhin, I’m not a big fan of fruit juice in general. It is much healthier to eat fruit whole so the fiber can slow the blood sugar rush. Fruit juice is pure sugar, and the body responds to juice similarly to how it responds to any other sugary drink. Having said that, I feel if you are going to drink juice, it is no worse to have juice in the morning than any other meal of the day, but you definitely want to have it with some protein and fat. Having juice with other carbohydrates like cereal, pancakes, waffles etc. would be really hard on your body.
Thank you so much…
I was totally unaware of the things you said here.