5 Power Breakfast Foods
Jump-start your day with healthy pancakes, peanut butter and more!
How you feel throughout the day often depends on what, or if, you ate starting out. If you skip breakfast, odds are that you’ll end up with an aching head, moodiness, lack of brain power, and even weight gain as you eat more than you should later in the day. Besides, you lose out on the many nutrients your body gets from a good breakfast. And then there’s the flip side, where breakfast is a grab ‘n’ go option that offers little quality nutrition. Or it may be a greasy buffet that contributes more calories and saturated fat than you need in an entire day! These choices can hinder health in both the short and long run. Try these power-packed options instead. They’ll curb your hunger, fuel your body and provide essential fiber and nutrients to start your day off right.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and weight loss expert in New York, says treats like chopped walnuts or slivered almonds give you “healthy fats to provide sustained energy.” Think outside of traditional “breakfast” nuts, too. Pistachios have been shown to reduce cholesterol absorption from other foods.
How much to eat each morning? 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 2 heaping tablespoons slivered almonds, 30 pistachios, or one tablespoon nut butter.
Breakfast tip: Taub-Dix suggests adding nuts to your oatmeal or other whole grain cereal for a flavorful crunch.
2. Fruits and vegetables
“It’s hard to get in all of the fruits and veggies we need if we skip them at breakfast,” says Taub-Dix. For optimal benefits, try for 10 combined servings of fruits and veggies each day, two from each color group: red, white, green, purple/blue, and yellow/orange. (Research shows that eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives you the widest possible range of nutrients.) If 10 daily servings is unrealistic, aim for at least one more fruit and veggie than you’re already getting. In addition to all the other benefits of fruits and vegetables, new research finds that eating more plant foods can help to prevent oxidative stress in the body. That’s a process linked to disease and obesity.
How much to eat each morning? At least two servings: two fruits, two veggies, or one of each.
Breakfast tip: Try what Taub-Dix does: Warm frozen raspberries in the microwave and add them to yogurt to get a high-calcium, protein-rich start. As for vegetables, enjoy sliced tomatoes in an omelet or a grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread.
3. Whole grains
“Whether it’s a whole grain cereal or a chunky slice of whole grain bread, including these foods at breakfast will provide you with fiber as well as vitamins and minerals,” says Taub-Dix. Diets high in whole grain foods and fiber are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. And fiber can promote a feeling of fullness, which may help you reduce your total daily calorie intake.
How much to eat each morning? 1 slice whole grain bread, 1 cup whole grain cereal flakes, 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, or 1 buckwheat pancake
Breakfast tip: Have a slice of whole grain toast with one tablespoon of nut butter.