There has been a lot of research about breakfast over the years and there are numerous benefits. Starting your day off with a healthy breakfast sets you up to have the energy to get through the day. People that have a healthy breakfast tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI), higher daily fiber intake, higher calcium intake, are more likely to reach nutrition recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, and also tend to consume less fat throughout the day. So, if you are not a regular breakfast eater, those are some reasons to start. Here are 10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas!
Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Oats
Oatmeal with Fruit
Oatmeal with fruit is a classic breakfast and it is great for so many reasons. One of the many reasons is that you can customize it with the fruits you enjoy. I love berries or bananas in my oatmeal. And you do not have to just leave it at fruit, you can add nuts or nut butter for extra added flavor and nutrients. Old fashioned oats or rolled oats can be made on the stove in just a few minutes, just follow the directions on the package.
Overnight Oats, One of My Favorite Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Overnight Oats is oatmeal, but it is another way to prepare oatmeal and is one of my favorite healthy breakfast ideas. I love this method because you can just grab and go when you are going out the door in the morning. And you can eat it cold, which allows you to eat oatmeal in the summer without overheating! Or you can warm it up in the microwave if you prefer it warm.
Soaking the oats overnight basically cuts out the time it takes to cook, which is great if you want something quick, delicious, and healthy! And it is also versatile as I mentioned above. Add any combination of fruit, nuts, milk, or plant-based milk such as almond milk that you love.
How to Make Overnight Oats
All you need to make overnight oats are mason jars or another type of container with a tight-fitting lid, Old fashioned oatmeal, milk, or any plant-based milk such as almond milk, and any additional ingredients like yogurt, fruit, chia seeds, and nuts. Take a ½ cup of oatmeal, add it to the jar, and then add ½ cup of milk. Stir the oatmeal and milk.
If you are adding yogurt and chia seeds, then also mix those in. Then add the other ingredients on top. Do not mix in the nuts and fruit because it will be soggy in the morning. Store in the refrigerator overnight and they are ready to go in the morning! It is preferable to eat it cold, especially if you added yogurt, but you can heat it in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds if you prefer it warm.
Steel Cut Oats
Yes, another oatmeal option! Steel-cut oats are a little different from rolled oats. Steel-cut oats are oat groats, which have been cut into two to three pieces. They do take longer to cook than rolled oats, so keep this in mind. You can make them on the stove or in the slow cooker. I love making them in the slow cooker overnight because I wake up to the aroma of cinnamon in the morning. Yum!
How to Make Steel Cut Oats in the Slow Cooker
Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray or brush with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Then add 2 cups of steel-cut oats, 6 cups of water, 2 cups of milk or plant-based milk, 2 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of brown sugar (or you can leave it out), 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Stir all the ingredients, then cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Then serve with your choice fruits, nuts, or yogurt. This recipe makes 10-12 servings, so cut all the ingredients in half if you need a smaller batch.
Nutritional Benefits of Oats
Oats are known to reduce cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease risk due to the beta-glucan fiber. Beta-glucan fiber also helps to slow digestion, which increases satiety (feeling of fullness) and suppresses appetite. In addition to being high in fiber, they are also rich in phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium, and zinc.
Steel-cut oats are less processed than rolled oats or old-fashioned oats which means they take longer to digest which is good for blood glucose control due to their low glycemic index.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Yogurt and Fruit
Ok, I am done talking about oatmeal! Now on to yogurt and fruit. It is another simple, quick, and healthy breakfast. When I was growing up, yogurt was all kind of the same. The predominant type of yogurt in American grocery stores was the unstrained variety made by Yoplait or Dannon. There was not as much variety as there is today. Now, the yogurt section is huge with Greek yogurt, Icelandic yogurt, Australian yogurt, and even yogurt made from non-dairy alternatives. I could probably write an entire post just about the different types of yogurt!
So now you can choose the style of yogurt you prefer and combine it with fruit. Of course, many come with fruit already, but you will get more fiber and nutrients by adding more fruit. Therefore, it will keep you full longer. And by choosing plain yogurt or yogurt with honey, you can eliminate a lot of the added sugars that many of them have.
Fruit Smoothies are a great option for people that are on the go and prefer to drink their breakfast. It is also customizable, adding any combination of fruits or vegetables, yogurt, and ice. And you get the added benefit of keeping the fiber compared with juicing.
Nutritional Benefits of Yogurt, Fruit, and Smoothies
Yogurt is rich in protein and depending on the type of yogurt, some have higher protein content than others. For example, Greek yogurt can have 15-20 grams of protein per serving, compared to 5-6 grams in regular yogurt. The high protein content in Greek yogurt will keep you fuller longer.
Yogurt is also high in calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins – riboflavin, and B12. Yogurt is also one of the fermented foods that have been shown to have health benefits by promoting healthy gut microbiota, the healthy bacteria that live in your digestive tract. Fermented foods along with a plant-based diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables can prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
The nutrition content of fruit will vary of course depending on the type. In general, fruit is high in fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. Fruit is also naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories. Blueberries make a great addition to yogurt and smoothies and are one of the top 15 nutrient-dense foods!
Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Toast
Whole Grain Toast with Nut Butter and Fruit, Another of My Favorite Healthy Breakfast Ideas
This is a simple, yet still delicious healthy breakfast option. One of my favorite go-to breakfasts is a whole-grain English muffin, natural peanut butter, and fruit such as sliced bananas. But you can use other nut or seed butter if you prefer or have an allergy to peanuts, such as almond butter or sunflower seed butter. And instead of bananas, you can add strawberries, sliced apples, raspberries, blueberries, etc.
Nutritional Benefits of Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Fruit
Whole grain toast provides fiber, iron, protein, and B vitamins. Look for 100% whole grain bread or sprouted bread that has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and protein which will keep you full longer. Peanut butter is also a good source of niacin, magnesium, and vitamin E. And of course, fruit will provide additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals as mentioned previously.
This became an extremely popular breakfast option a few years ago, but it is still a great one. Using 100% whole grain bread that has been toasted and mashed avocados is a delicious and satisfying breakfast. And you can have additional toppings for more flavor and nutrients such as chopped tomatoes, a fried egg, sauces like pesto or chimichurri, or herbs like cilantro or basil.
Nutritional Benefits of Avocados
Avocados are a nutrient-dense food, that is packed with nearly 20 vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate, and copper. Also, they help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are also an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. And one-third of an avocado is about 80 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
After having this Avocado toast from Foxtrot, I had to recreate it at home. Check out my recipe for Avocado Toast with Tomatoes and Corn!
Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Eggs
One of the Classic Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Eggs with Toast and Fruit
Another simple and traditional option is eggs with toast and fruit. Eggs can be cooked using your preferred method such as scrambled, fried, boiled, or poached. Top the toast with eggs or eat it on the side and add a piece of fruit. Simple!
I like to boil a bunch of eggs in advance to have a quick option in the morning. Then I use an egg slicer to slice the eggs and then top my toast with the sliced eggs, making an open-faced egg sandwich. Something about an open-faced sandwich makes it feel like you have a bigger portion compared to a regular sandwich. Add a piece of fruit on the side and you have a complete breakfast that will keep you full for hours!
Mini Egg Frittatas
Mini Egg Frittatas are something you can make in the morning or make in advance and store in the refrigerator or freezer. I love that they are a pre-portioned meal too and you can use a variety of ingredients. Use vegetables you like such as spinach, bell pepper, broccoli, and onions. Also add cheese if you like, such as feta, shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or goat cheese. And if you want to make it a little heartier, you can add chopped bacon, but of course, you can omit the meat and cheese and keep it vegetarian.
How to Make Mini Egg Frittatas
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Then whisk together 4 large whole eggs, 4 large egg whites, ½ cup of 2% milk, 4 cups of fresh spinach, ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of paprika. Once the ingredients are mixed, pour or spoon the mixture into muffin tins until they are 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. You can use any vegetables or cheese that you like to change it up!
For a frittata recipe filled with vegetables, check out this recipe for Mini Vegetable Frittatas!
And last, but not least, the traditional breakfast option, a vegetable omelet. Another healthy breakfast idea and a versatile option as you use your favorite vegetables, make it with whole eggs or just egg whites, and add cheese or go without it. My favorite combination is spinach and feta cheese.
Nutritional Benefits of Eggs
There has been misinformation about eggs for years. While there is 200 mg of cholesterol in egg yolks, there are only 5 grams of fat which is mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. New research has shown that cholesterol in foods does not affect a person’s cholesterol levels as once thought.
Consuming an egg per day has been considered safe. Eggs are also high in protein, choline (which plays a role in brain function), biotin, and vitamin A. And eggs are another nutrient-dense food!
What are some of your healthy breakfast ideas? Share in the comments below.
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