The benefits of beginning each day with a balanced breakfast are numerous. For starters, it gives you the energy required to make it through the morning. But also: Eating a healthy breakfast sets you up for success later in the day by curbing overeating at lunch, dinner and all the snack-time in between.
MyFitnessPal recommends eating 1/4–1/3 of your daily calories at breakfast, but what’s the best way to hit that mark? To find out, and provide you with some inspiration, we asked a bunch of registered dietitian nutritionists what they eat in the morning. Spoiler alert: They really like oatmeal and eggs.
And lest you think you don’t have enough time for breakfast, most of the meals here can be made in just a few minutes.
“I eat this every day of my life, plus coffee with milk. Rich in fiber, healthy fat and protein, this breakfast keeps me satisfied and my blood sugar stable all morning. Not to mention, there are so many different ways to mix and match nut butters, nuts and seeds to keep variety. Plus, it’s delicious!”
—Amy Goodson, a RDN based in Dallas
“It’s a delicious, low/no-sugar breakfast that takes less than five minutes to make. This breakfast provides a balance of healthy fats, energizing carbs and quality protein to keep mid-morning hunger at bay.”
—Elle Penner, RDN, Nutrition Consultant, Recipe Developer and Writer
“I make instant plain oatmeal, cooked in 1% or 2% milk. For flavoring, I will add about one teaspoon brown sugar or honey, three teaspoons chia seeds and will sprinkle in some ground flaxseed. Oatmeal has soluble fiber, while chia and flaxseeds have additional fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Flavored instant oatmeals have more added sugar, which is why I like to customize my own.
“On weekends or days off, I will make an egg scramble with spinach, mushrooms, red onions and/or bell peppers. I am generous with the spinach (typically about one cup), to get in my veggies. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A and K, along with other nutrients like iron, folate, vitamin C and fiber. Mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D and have other vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, selenium and potassium.
“If I’m on the go, I will usually grab a KIND bar. I like trying different varieties, but will typically look for something with more than 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber, and less than 5 grams of added sugar.”
—Louise Chen, a Dallas-based Registered Dietitian
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“Overnight oats are the bomb! You start your day off with wholesome fiber and protein with enough staying power to last you until lunch. While some folks prefer plain yogurt to cut back on sugar, I like to use fruit-flavored yogurt. A little sugar goes a long way if it makes me look forward to my morning meal.”
—Trinh Le, MPH, RDN, and Blogger at FearlessfoodRD
“Breakfast is arguably the most controversial meal of the day. We have entire restaurants devoted to egg, pastry and pancake-filled menus. Personally, I start with bran or oats soaked in plain, whole milk kefir and loaded with wild blueberries — it provides a fiber-rich prebiotic, protein-rich probiotic and antioxidant-rich berries. What’s important here is the lack of added sugars. Think of the classic American breakfast — typically cake-like muffins, sugar-loaded pastries, syrup-drenched pancakes and sweetened, flavored lattes. All sugar. Research shows that the most unfavorable start to your day after a 10–12 hour fast is refined flour and sugar. You’re sending your blood sugar into shock on an empty stomach, which will cause your energy levels to crash by mid-morning.”
—Sidney Fry, MS, RD, Writer and Recipe Developer