Choosing the right foods for breakfast can help boost energy and curb hunger.
Eating a healthy breakfast really can set the stage for healthier eating all day long. The right foods in the morning can provide you with the energy you need to power through until lunch. And with a healthy breakfast in your system, you’re less likely to experience mid-morning cravings for unhealthy foods. Eating the right foods can help keep you satisfied and energized until your next meal or snack.
What Is a Good Breakfast?
The foods you eat for breakfast can affect how you feel and perform throughout your morning. There are several things that a good breakfast can do for you.
A healthy breakfast can…
- Keep you fueled up until your next meal or snack. A well-balanced breakfast should provide you with staying power. Foods with protein help to satisfy hunger and high fiber foods help to fill you up.
- Supply your body and brain with energy. In the morning, your body’s gas tank is running close to empty. When you eat the right foods for breakfast, you’re providing your muscles and brain with the fuel they need for optimal performance.
- Help avoid blood sugar swings and reduce cravings. A balanced meal that contains both protein and healthy carbohydrates can provide sustained energy throughout your system, and help prevent wild swings in your blood sugar that trigger cravings for sweets or other unhealthy foods. (This applies as long as you don’t have any medical issues regarding your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar.)
- Help you make better food choices throughout the day. Breakfast skippers often experience food cravings for sweets and fats that can persist throughout the day. When breakfast is eaten, the cravings for sweets drop dramatically. If the breakfast is high in protein, it tends to also reduce cravings for salty, fatty foods. So, the right foods in the morning can help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods later in the day and steer you towards healthier choices.
- Provide enough protein to help support muscle health. Eating enough protein in the morning not only helps satisfy hunger, but it can also help maintain muscle health. For many people, typical daily meals tend to provide little protein at breakfast, a bit more at lunch, and a much larger amount at dinner. This is a pattern that may not provide the best conditions for building and repairing muscle tissue. Muscle protein synthesis can improve when protein intake is more evenly distributed throughout the day.
10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas
A balanced breakfast should provide you with a decent amount of protein (20-30 grams is a good target). This helps satisfy hunger and supports muscle health, and along with some healthy carbohydrates can provide sustained energy and fiber. Carbohydrates should include, at the very least, some fruits or vegetables. If your calorie budget allows, add some whole grains as well.
With these simple guidelines, it’s easy to put together a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. Here are 10 healthy breakfast suggestions:
- Cook some fresh or frozen spinach in the microwave, top with scrambled eggs or egg whites and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, fresh fruit on the side
- Protein shake made with protein powder, low-fat milk or soy milk and fruit
- Plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese topped with fresh fruit and cinnamon, or chopped raw vegetables and some fresh black pepper
- Rolled oats prepared with milk or soy milk; stir in protein powder and fruit after cooking
- Corn tortillas, heated and spread with black beans; top with grated low-fat cheese and salsa; fresh fruit
- Whole grain toast spread with avocado and topped with slices of turkey breast; fresh fruit
- Scramble extra-firm tofu, drained, crumbled in a little olive oil with fresh vegetables and herbs; fresh fruit
- Whole-grain crackers spread with nonfat ricotta cheese and topped with sliced berries
- Salmon patty on a toasted whole-grain English muffin; fresh fruit
- Leftovers: whole grains, protein, and veggies make a great breakfast