Better Breakfasts: 8 Healthiest Breakfast Foods

by in Healthy Tips, September 15, 2010

eggs with soldiers

Mom was right when she said breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But what you choose for breakfast can make or break your day (sorry, bacon didn’t make the list). Here are our top 8 foods that help make your morning meal a healthy one.

Nonfat Greek Yogurt
With more hunger-fighting protein than traditional yogurt, it’ll keep those mid-morning hunger pangs at bay. Learn to make your own, or try our top Greek yogurt picks.

Oatmeal
Start your day off with a warm bowl of oatmeal — choose rolled or steel cut oats.
Skip the sugary packets and add a little sweetness with dried fruit,
applesauce
or a touch of honey or brown sugar. Use your slow cooker to make getting a healthy breakfast even simpler.

Berries
Toss blueberries, strawberries and raspberries on cold cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, pancakes or French toast. Berries are high in an anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanins, which may help reduce heart disease and diabetes, and improve eyesight and short-term memory.

Peanut Butter
Need a quick protein boost in the morning? Spread a tablespoon of the stuff on whole grain bread, add to a smoothie, mix into oatmeal or spread on apple slices. Remember to choose the natural kind to keep sugar under control.

Eggs
Easy and versatile, eggs contain vitamins A and D and the antioxidant lutein for healthy skin and eyes. Scrambled, soft-boiled, poached or over easy, serve with whole-grain toast for a stay-with-you breakfast.

Flaxseeds
Sprinkle flaxseeds on yogurt, oatmeal or blend in your morning smoothie or muffin batter. This high-powered seed adds extras omega-3 fat, fiber and protein.

Cottage Cheese
Top low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit for an on-the-go breakfast that will leave you satisfied. Packed with 16 grams of hunger-fighting protein and only 1 gram of fat, it’ll help get your day started.

Whole-Grain Cereal
A bowl of whole grain cereal and low-fat or skim milk takes only minutes to put together. But watch out for whole grain cereal boobie traps, like high calories and sugar. See which popular brands reigned supreme in our cereal taste test.

TELL US: What do you eat to start your day?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (1,819)

  1. Janice says:

    Banana with natural peanut butter ON it.
    Blueberry smoothie with protein powder in it – my husband has it EVERY day.
    Activia yogurt with almonds – my husband makes a baked tamari almond that's amazing.
    Bananas and John's almonds.

    • tony d says:

      me too and I make the peanutbutter with unsalted peanuts 1 cup in blender and add 2 table spoons peanut oil and that's it….. tase great and I know there is no junk in it… try it

  2. Katie says:

    My latest routine is 1-2 slices 35-calorie toast (topped cinnamon sugar-Splenda), an apple and 1/2 c fat free cottage cheese. The fiber in the bread and apple, I guess, keeps me full for a while but the meal tends to spike my blood sugar really high – thoughts? Any ideas to combat this?

    • Pizzagirl says:

      You're eating bread and apple both carbs. That will spike your sugar level! Substitute the apple for another fruit or eliminate altogether Apples are high glycemic, they will spike your sugar level. Also increase your protein a bit.

    • buckigirl says:

      Make sure your bread is real whole grain with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. A dish of strawberries sweetened with Splenda, if desired, might be a better idea than an apple — lower glycemic impact and probably more fiber. You might add a bit of a margarine/butter substitute spread made with a healthy fat like olive oil to help with the satiety side of this meal.

    • Judy says:

      Eat your fruit first and have your toast 20 minutes later! It will keep your blood sugar from spiking. If you have fruit then a protein meal…wait an hour before you eat the protein after fruit. (Suzanne Somers…it WORKS!) :) )

    • linda says:

      Try Aunt Millies Lite wheat or 5 grain it only has about 5 carbs per slice I am diabetic and this is what I eat my sugar does not go out of control anymore also when you eat fruit a small portion is best to keep sugar at bay

    • Cherie Bowman says:

      My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) and was told by several dietitions that Spenda, though a sugar-substitute has something in it that actually spikes the glucose in your system-and urged us to stay away from it. Nutra-sweet or the other 'blue packet' does not do this-give it a try.

    • Victoria says:

      Try Original Ezekiel 4:9® Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Bread (in the orange wrapper). It is low calorie and has a low glycemic level which will not spike blood sugar levels. It is my favorite!

    • Julie says:

      Yes, skip the Splenda (or any fake sugar) and use a tsp of organic cane sugar. Make it 1 slice of spelt wheat bread instead of two low calorie. Spelt doesn't make the blood sugar spike as much and is a much healthier choice.

    • jmids says:

      It seems like you're missing a little bit of fat to keep your blood sugar more stable. It sounds like you have a healthy breakfast there but your body does need a combination of protein, carbs AND fat to keep blood sugar stable and therefore your mood and energy. I would try using a bread with a little more nutritional value [maybe a nut bread?] and a low fat cottage cheese instead of nonfat. Even adding some almonds to the cottage cheese or almond/peanut butter to the bread can make a great change. Almond butter topped with cinnamon is delicious!

    • Tbyrd says:

      Yes, stay away from Splenda, it is a proven toxin. You are throwing your body out of balance. Eat more protein than carbs, add nuts.

    • guest01 says:

      all "fake" and substitue sugars are bad…. just because you're cutting out calories doesn't mean its healthy. ie diet soda is still bad for you…. even if it doesn't have sugar.
      People get too hung up on calories and all that crap they have no idea what they are doing.

  3. Dodies says:

    2 sauted egg whites (don't over cook) on a slice of whole grain toast (at least 3 g. fiber, 4 better), and a few dashes of hot sauce and a glass of low sodium spicy V-8. Keeps me full so all I need is a light lunch. On weekends I splurge and put some grated sharp shredded cheese on top of the egg.

  4. Victoria says:

    Another breakfast choices: 1) I bake or microwave sweet yam; 2) cook in boiling water till soften mix of cut-up yam, rutabaga roots or other exotic roots like yucca (cassava) sweeten lightly with honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or choice of sugar. 3) one medium or large size apples of choice will feel you up.
    4) Chocolate porridge: use 72 % dark chocolate bar, break into pieces or/either use pure cocoa powder mix into boiling water with rice of your choice: brown, white, sweet rice or quinoa, lightly sweeten with honey, maple syrup, agave syrup or sugar of choice to taste, sprinkle with ground flax seeds or wheat germs or both (Philippine style called "champorado").
    5) if you have juicer: choices to juice: carrots, celery, apples & ginger; fennel, apples, & ginger; sweet beet bulbs, beet leaves, celery & ginger;

  5. Adam says:

    make sure the bread is 100% whole grain, lose the artificial sweetener, try a drizzle of agave nectar or pure maple syrup on the toast.. or skip sweetener completely and spread on some nut butter instead, which also gives protein so you could skip the cottage cheese as well

    • ELeigh says:

      Agave syrup has been found to have the potential to affect the body more negatively than sugar or honey or any other type of natural sweetener. Not exactly sure, but I think it's got a much higher glycemic index. I think it got such a good reputation because of the health halo effect that surronds all things 'natural'. Everything in moderation, but this might not be the best type of natural sweetener to use.
      Kind of interesting to look at..

  6. Amber says:

    Rolled oats seasoned with generous amounts of cinnamon, dash of fresh grated ginger (or powdered if u don't have fresh), dash of allspice or clove. Mix in a small amount of raisins or any dried fruit and crumbled walnuts. With lowfat milk, FORGET ABOUT IT! Sweeten with your choice of honey, maple syrup, brown sugar and serve. (But not too much! Naturally sweet w/raisins) The whole family is full and can easily make it past lunch time on a hectic day. The kids beg for it even after school. A real treat: add a drop of vanilla.

  7. Liz says:

    In warmer weather, I like overnight oats: equal parts (for me, 1/4 cup each) plain fat-free yogurt, old-fashioned oats, and milk…then I change it up by adding 1/2 tsp of different preserves and fresh or dried fruit, sometimes nuts or peanut butter. Make it the night before in a cup, put it in the fridge, then it's creamy, delicious, and hassle-free in the morning!

  8. Lisa says:

    FF yogurt with 2 T of low fat granola with raisins. Strawberries on the side…

  9. Paul says:

    2 Egg whites, whipped with onion, green pepper,garlic clove,and chopped sundried tomato, sometimes with a little parmesan sprinkled, and sometime on an organic spelt burrito .. In winter, the same eggs with steel cut oats..

  10. Jenn says:

    2 eggs over easy on a muligrain flatbread topped with homemade pesto..had it this morning! YUM!!

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