Morning person or not, the earliest part of the day can be hectic. I mean, you just woke up, you’re thinking about the million things you need to get done, and you somehow have to come up with a healthy, energy-boosting breakfast idea, too.
Even if you’re not a breakfast person, you should consider making a nutritious meal happen in the morning, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Your mom was right when she said breakfast is the most important meal of the day, even more so when it comes to losing weight, according to Amanda Baker Lemein, RD, Women’s Health advisory board member.
Why? Because it’s best to front-load your caloric intake by eating more food in the first half of your day. This way, your body will be burning those calories all day before hitting the hay (your metabolism slows down while you sleep). Skipping breakfast also ups your chances of snacking later in the day to make up for those missed morning calories.
So, eating breakfast is important, but what you eat for breakfast matters too. “For a breakfast to be sustaining and healthy it needs to be balanced with some protein, fat, and fiber,” says Lemein. (Think: a veggie omelet with cheese and a side of fruit or toast.) Not sure where to start? Here’s some useful guidance, plus the best breakfast foods to add to your plate to keep you full and satisfied.
How much should you eat at breakfast if you’re trying to lose weight?
Your breakfast should contain at least 25 grams of protein if you are looking to feel and stay full until lunchtime, according to Gabrielle Tafur, RD, an Orlando, Florida-based dietitian. Starting the day with a carbohydrate-dense meal may fill you for the short term, but without adequate fat and protein, you will likely end up eating more over the course of the day.
Everyone’s individual caloric needs are different, so talk to a dietitian to determine what’s right for your body, activity level, and goals. As a general recommendation though, Tafur recommends around 400-500 calories. “This amount allows for enough food to prevent unnecessary snacking or grazing throughout the day,” she says.
What are the best proteins to have for breakfast?
- Eggs. Eggs are a great option because they are inexpensive and can be eaten in a variety of ways, says Tafur. These can be a great quick breakfast that’s high in protein and iron.
- Plant-based yogurt. Plant-based yogurt such as Siggi’s can add protein and creaminess to a smoothie or granola bowl and tend to be less processed than dairy-based yogurts, Tafur says.
- Organic chicken sausage. If you’re a meat-eater who still likes to stick to natural ingredients whenever possible, organic chicken sausage is a lean option that can be a great low-fat and low-sodium alternative to pork. Cook and accompany with some fruit to keep breakfast on the lighter side, says Tafur.
- Nut butter. As long as you don’t overdo the servings, nut butters can be a satisfying way to get a healthy dose of good fat and protein. You may be most familiar with peanut and almond butters, but Tafur also recommends trying pecan butter with a plant-based yogurt or mixed into smoothies.
- Seitan. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, this meat alternative can add a chewy, sausage-like texture to savory egg scrambles or omelets. It can be found at most grocery stores, says Tafur.
What are the best fruits and vegetables to have for breakfast?
- Melon. When it comes to getting the most volume for the least amount of sugar, melons like cantaloupe or honeydew can be your best friend in the morning, says Tafur. She recommends freezing up chopped melon to add to your smoothies as well.
- Berries. In season, berries such as strawberries, blueberries and cherries can be a delicious way to add natural sugar and sweetness to bowls or even on the side of a protein-packed omelet.
- Kiwi. “Kiwis are such an underrated fruit—one to two can provide you a day’s worth of vitamin C,” says Tafur.
- Bananas. Paired with a hard-boiled egg, they can make for a perfect breakfast in a hurry.
- Papayas. Papaya contains enzymes that aid the digestive process, not to mention they’re sweet and taste fantastic, says Tafur. Add them on top of a plant-based yogurt for a tropical twist.
- What are the best grains to have for breakfast?
- Oatmeal. Oats are a great option if you’ve gone gluten-free, says Tafur. They’re a warm option for breakfast on cold winter days, or they can be eaten cold after being refrigerated overnight if you prefer them that way.
- Quinoa. Who knew this high-protein option could be eaten at breakfast too? Don’t be afraid to cook this and combine with your favorite plant-based milk for a hot cereal alternative, says Tafur. “Adding cinnamon to this mixture can be the perfect alternative to a sugary granola,” she says.
- Rice. Another non-traditional breakfast item, you can prepare rice pudding with coconut milk and a little nutmeg and cinnamon for a simple breakfast with lots of flavor, says Tafur.
- Amaranth. This may be another grain you’re possibly not familiar with. “Amaranth is a great alternative to oats and eaten in a similar manner,” says Tafur. “It has a nuttier, courser texture and is still packed with fiber to aid digestion.”
What are the best drinks to have at breakfast for weight loss?
- Black coffee. Caffeine can obviously assist you in feeling more alert in the morning, but black coffee is also an excellent way to finish off your breakfast meal and aid in satiety while avoiding added fat and sugar.
- Black tea. If you’re not a coffee drinker, black tea is a great alternative to aid in satiety in the same way, says Tafur.
- Matcha tea. Matcha contains powerful antioxidants that can fight cell damage. It can also be added into smoothies if you don’t enjoy it in tea form, says Tafur.
- Green tea. If you want a caffeine boost that’s not quite as intense as coffee, green tea is an excellent option that’s packed with the same antioxidants in matcha. “I use green tea as the base of my smoothies as an alternative to fruit juices to provide an extra flavor kick,” says Tafur.
Here are 50 (yup, 50) delicious, healthy recipes from bloggers and nutritionists to get you started.
Egg, Tomato, and Scallion Sandwich
Enjoy a morning egg sandwich, but a BLT doesn’t quite fit into your diet? Sub it with this egg, tomato, and scallion sandwich. It’s just as tasty and super easy to make. Plus, you’ll get some protein bright and early.
Per serving: 213 cal, 9.5 g fat, 21 g carbs, 13.5 g protein, 5.5 g fiber
Who says pizza can’t be a breakfast option? It can when you top it with the usual breakfast go-tos: eggs and bacon. The four-ingredient dough in this recipe calls for Greek yogurt, which is a good source of fiber and calcium.
Per serving: 271 cal, 9 g fat, 27 g carbs, 20.5 g protein, 1.5 g fiber
Healthy Bacon, Egg, and Potato Breakfast Casserole
Here’s a good option for when you’re craving something more brunch-y, as opposed to a traditional breakfast. This casserole is made with low-fat cheese, lean turkey bacon, and loads of veggies.
Per serving: 184 cal, 7 g fat, 16 g carbs, 15 g protein, 1 g fiber
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
Who can pass up a serving of eggs benny in the morning? If you’re thinking, not me, then make sure you’ve got some smoked salmon on hand and serve these babies up on a bed of arugula instead of an English muffin to cut some carbs out of the traditional dish.
Per serving: 388 cal, 17.2 g fat, 31.5 g carbs, 33.5 g protein, 9.3 g fiber
Chai Baked Oatmeal
This dish is a true flavor bomb made with baked oatmeal, pecans, and shredded coconut. Oats can help improve your gut health, since they’re full of soluble fiber that can aid in managing blood sugar levels and promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Per serving: 273 cal, 13 g fat, 34 g carbs, 5 g protein, 5 g fiber
Easy Hemp Granola
Making your own granola will help you ensure that it isn’t packed with tons of sugar, like many store-bought granolas. To build this granola dish, you need a variety of nuts and seeds, maple syrup, and dates, plus a serving of hemp hearts.
Per serving: 235 cal, 17 g fat, 16 g carbs, 5 g protein, 4 g fiber
Butternut Squash Protein Pancakes
You can taste the fall season all year long with these butternut squash protein pancakes. Butternut squash is loaded with nutrients, including vitamins A and C and magnesium.
Per serving: 236 cal, 32 g fat, 22 g carbs, 5 g protein, 3 g fiber
Sweet Potato and Spinach Quinoa Skillet
This supercharged dish only requires you to use one pan. You’ll cook a ton of veggies, including vitamin-packed spinach, and some fiber-rich quinoa to keep you full and satisfied until lunch time.
Per serving: 223 cal, 9.7 g fat, 24.4 g carbs, 11.1 g protein, 3.3 g fiber
A dish common in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, Shakshuka is typically made from a combination of eggs and tomatoes. You can customize your plate by adding some of your fave toppings. This recipe specifically adds in some feta, parsley, and crushed pepper.
Per serving: 165 cal, 9.2 g fat, 14.4 g carbs, 9 g protein, 3.8 g fiber
Vegan Breakfast Tacos
These vegan tacos don’t skimp out on the flavor. In place of eggs, it calls for scrambled tofu, smoky chickpeas, and the usual taco toppings, like cilantro, radishes, and avocado.
Per serving: 245 cal, 9.3 g fat, 31.6 g carbs, 12.3 g protein, 7.1 g fiber
Crispy Hash Browns
Pair these up with some sunny-side eggs, a tasty frittata, or some protein-powered pancakes. This side dish is an instant flavor boost to any breakfast meal, and depending what you pair them with, are a healthy and delicious choice.
Per serving: 211 cal, 14.1 g fat, 20.8 g carbs, 2.5 g protein, 1.5 g fiber
This bircher muesli subs in almond milk for cream and features homemade applesauce, though store-bought’s okay if you don’t feel like spending extra time in the kitchen.
Per serving: 409 cal, 15.1 g fat, 59.8 g carbs, 9 g protein, 10.7 g fiber
Tropical Acai Bowl
By now you’ve probably heard about the superfood properties of acai berries, thanks to their antioxidant content. Though you probably won’t find the actual berry in your local supermarket, the frozen puree may be a little easier to track down. This bowl combines the puree with other fruits to create a tropical and healthy burst of flavor.
Per serving: 257 cal, 5.8 g fat, 52.1 g carbs, 2.3 g protein, 8.1 g fiber
Cheesy Potato Fritters with Zucchini
These potato fritters kick it up a notch by adding some zucchini into the mix. Zucchinis are full of soluble and insoluble fiber, which make them a good choice for improving digestion and aiding the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Per serving: 94 cal, 4 g fat, 11 g carbs, 5 g protein, 1 g fiber
Bacon Egg in a Hole with Smashed Avocado
Choose your bagel (this recipe uses whole wheat) and toast it, while frying your egg in its center hole. Sounds tough, but it’s really not. Plus the end result is totally worth it.
Per serving: 304 cal, 19 g fat, 28 g carbs, 0 g protein, 6 g fiber
Curried Chickpea Hash with Broccoli and Spinach
Chickpeas, the special ingredient in this dish, are great for curbing your appetite for longer, since they’re full of fiber and high in protein. Though the hash is tasty enough to eat on its own, you can def grab some pita, too.
Per serving: 360 cal, 21 g fat, 32 g carbs, 15 g protein, 9 g fiber
Almond Butter Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups
These oatmeal cups are so tasty you’ll want to keep a stash on hand, and you can since they’re freezer-friendly. So go ahead and prep a bunch of these ahead of time, warm them up when you’re ready to eat, and have them with a scoop of your favorite nut butter.
Per serving: 143 cal, 7 g fat, 17.3 g carbs, 4.8 g protein, 3 g fiber
Healthy Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Avocado Breakfast Burritos
A protein-packed burrito for breakfast? Count me in. These are a meatless twist made with black beans, sweet potatoes and avocado, wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla.
Per serving: 398 cal, 13.8 g fat, 54.3 g carbs, 18.1 g protein, 10.5 g fiber
Zucchini Breakfast Pizza
A pizza but with zucchini as the crust. Trust me, it works. It has a semi-crunchy texture reminiscent of that of an actual pizza crust made of dough.
Per serving: 140 cal, 2 g sat fat, 11 g carbs, 8 g protein, 2 g fiber
Keto Egg Wraps
Think of these as tortillas made with eggs instead of flour. You can fill these wraps with anything you want, from black beans to spinach and feta. So basically you can use these to create endless dishes.
Per serving: 70 cal, 20 g sat fat, 0 g carbs, 24 g protein, 0 g fiber
Butternut Squash and Apple Hash with Sausage
This recipe calls for making your own breakfast sausage, which, tbh, is a more nutritious choice than opting for the store-bought kind, since you’ll know just how much sodium is going into it.
Per serving: 308 cal, 13 g sat fat, 24 g carbs, 25 g protein, 5 g fiber
Sausage Hash Brown Egg Muffins
Take out your muffin tins because you’ll need them for this breakfast. To make these muffins, you’ll combine and bake some eggs, sausage and really any veggies you have on hand, though this particular recipe adds in onions and peppers.
Per serving: 255 cal, 17 g fat, 10 g carbs, 14 g protein, 2 g fiber
Gluten-Free Berry Fruit Pizza
You could have a boring cup of Greek yogurt topped with fruit for breakfast or you can have this berry fruit pizza instead–Greek yogurt and fruit still required. To make it, you’ll bake up a shortbread crust, slather it with yogurt, and top it with your favorite berries.
Per serving: 178 cal, 13 g fat, 12 g carbs, 5 g protein, 3 g fiber
Paleo Crepes Cake With Lemon Strawberry Coconut Cream
Dessert and breakfast don’t have to be polar opposites. This crepes cake is a tasty breakfast option that calls for sweet strawberries. Good thing strawberries are full of of vitamin C and antioxidants like manganese.
Per serving: 238 cal, 15.8 g fat, 18.5 g carbs, 5.7 g protein, 2.6 g fiber
Gluten-Free Pancake Skewers With Hazelnut Meal, Bananas and Chocolate Dip
These pancake skewers are a great way to practice portion control. Their star ingredients are hazelnut meal, bananas and chocolate–a flavor combo that can’t be beat.
Per serving: 238 cal, 15.8 g fat, 18.5 g carbs, 5.7 g protein, 2.6 g fiber
Spinach Parmesan Baked Eggs Recipe
Perfect for people watching their calorie intake, this dish combines baked eggs with your favorite greens. You can always sub the spinach in the directions for kale or Swiss chard.
Per serving: 149 cal, 10 g fat, 3 g carbs, 12 g protein, 1 g fiber
Hummus Breakfast Bowl
This dish is technically called a breakfast bowl, but tbh you can probably snack on it all day. To make your hummus bowl, you’ll need veggies, a healthy grain like quinoa, sunflower seeds and your favorite kind of hummus.
Per serving: 354 cal, 18 g fat, 34 g carbs, 14 g protein, 5 g fiber
White Bean Avocado Toast
Avocado toast is hard enough to pass up on its own. This recipe makes it that much harder. It adds extra protein for a tasty twist. In addition to mashing up avocado for the spread, you’ll also create a white bean mixture to throw on it as well.
Per serving: 140 cal, 5 g fat, 19 g carbs, 6 g protein, 5 g fiber
The applesauce is the key ingredient in this recipe, of course, but you can customize your muffins by mixing in other ingredients, like raisins, walnuts or shredded coconut.
Per serving: 84 cal, 0.3 g fat, 19.6 g carbs, 2.1 g protein, 2.2 g fiber
Paleo Bars with Nuts and Chocolate Drizzle
A granola bar is the breakfast of champions, and you can make your own at home using this recipe. It calls for a mixture of nuts including cashews, almonds and pecans, and a yummy chocolate drizzle as the finish.
Per serving: 232 cal, 17 g fat, 16 g carbs, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber
Smoked Salmon Breakfast Flatbread
Salmon packs in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in this delicious take on lox bagels. Plus, the red onions that top the flatbread are high in vitamin C as well as B vitamins.
Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Burrito
These vegan burritos pack a ton of flavor and are easy to take on the go. Plus, they’re high in protein and fiber (Hi, kale!) to keep you full longer.
Per serving: 441 cal, 19.6 g fat, 53.5 g carbs, 16.5 g protein, 8 g fiber
Spicy Breakfast Fajitas with Eggs and Guacamole
These vegetarian fajitas are loaded with flavor and healthy fat from the avocado. The red peppers that fill these fajitas are also chock-full of vitamin C to support your immune system.
Per serving: 227 cal, 13 g fat, 19 g carbs, 9.5 g protein, 4.5 g fiber
Chocolate Chia Overnight Oats
Cocoa powder is a great way to get a low-cal chocolate fix, especially when you combine it with filling Greek yogurt and chia seeds.
Per serving: 272 cal, 8 g fat, 48 g carbs, 11 g protein, 9 g fiber
Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Cups
These baked oatmeal cups combine mashed banana with rolled oats and a few yummy spices to warm up your morning. The chocolate chips are optional, obviously…but you know you want to leave ‘em in.
Per serving: 202 cal, 13 g fat, 25 g carbs, 4 g protein, 6 g fiber
Oatmeal Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes
Making these pancakes—using rolled oats and protein-rich Greek yogurt—couldn’t be easier: throw all the ingredients in a blender, then pour. Toss in a handful of ripe blueberries and you’ll be leaving your blender out on your counter for another batch tomorrow morning, too.
Per serving: 208 cal, 3.8 g fat, 30 g carbs, 13.6 g protein, 3.3 g fiber
Breakfast Baked Sweet Potatoes
Baked sweet potatoes? For breakfast? By the time you bake up these sweet potatoes and top them with almond butter, banana slices, and chia seeds, you might never go back to eggs and toast again.
Per serving: 273 cal, 9.4 g fat, 44.7 g carbs, 7.7 g protein, 9.4 g fiber
Breakfast Acorn Squash
Squash isn’t only reserved for boring Thanksgiving side dishes. Use acorn squash for breakfast by slicing one in half, baking until tender, then stuffing it with tasty (breakfast-y) items like Greek yogurt, pecans, and cinnamon.
Per serving: 255 cal, 7.5 g fat, 37 g carbs, 14 g protein, 4.3 g fiber
Spinach Goat Cheese Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
If you don’t have time to cook a veggie omelet every morning, a quiche is a great make-ahead way to fill up on protein and fiber. With a sweet potato crust and savory veggies mixed with goat cheese, you can make this quiche once and slice it up for a healthy breakfast all week. Meal prep, anyone?
Per serving: 143 cal, 11.3 g fat, 25 g carbs, 10.5 g protein, 2.3 g fiber
Rainbow Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowls
Taste the rainbow with this beautiful breakfast bowl packed with protein-rich cottage cheese and fiber-loaded fresh fruit. Sprinkle on a handful of granola and chia seeds, and you’ve got a breakfast that’s colorful and well-rounded.
Per serving: 387 cal, 9 g fat, 60 g carbs, 21 g protein, 11 g fiber
5-Ingredient Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Everyone needs a little energy boost in the a.m. Pair one or two of these energy bites—loaded with healthy fats and protein—with a serving of plain Greek yogurt and you’ll have no problem being a boss all the way until lunchtime.
Per serving: 229 cal, 16 g fat, 19 g carbs, 7 g protein, 4 g fiber
Healthy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Made with whole wheat and flaxseed, these chocolate chip pancakes will satisfy your sweet tooth and your appetite. Add a little fruit on the side and it’s two thumbs up for guilt-free indulging, right?
Per serving: 121 cal, 3 g fat, 18 g carbs, 7 g protein, 3 g fiber
Greek Yogurt Waffles
Leggo your Eggos and whip up a batch of these super-filling waffles, which swap the usual oil for protein-packed Greek yogurt. Pile on some fresh berries for a fiber-boost. Oh, and here’s another tip: Don’t skip the cornstarch in these, since that’s what makes them crispy, not soggy.
Per serving: 286 cal, 3 g fat, 52 g carbs, 10 g protein, 1 g fiber
Very Berry Spinach Smoothie
If you prefer to drink your meals instead of eating them with a fork and spoon, this healthy breakfast recipe is for you. You get loads of fiber and vitamins from the spinach and berries, plus protein from Greek yogurt.
Per serving: 141 cal, 2 g fat, 29 g carbs, 6 g protein, 6 g fiber
Savory Oatmeal with Fried Egg
Isn’t oatmeal supposed to be sweet? Not always. You’ll be singing the praises of savory oatmeal after one cheesy bite of this recipe, which combines heart-healthy steel cut oats with diced red peppers and a runny-yolk fried egg. Try it and thank me later.
Per serving: 262 cal, 16 g fat, 18 g carbs, 13 g protein, 3 g fiber
Grown-Up PB&J Toast
Admit it: You still secretly love PB & J, right? Whip up this grown-up version of the lunchbox classic for a hearty and healthy breakfast toast.
Per serving: 404 cal, 13 g fat, 64 g carbs, 12 g protein, 9.5 g fiber
Citrus and Honey Power Breakfast
This breakfast bowl capitalizes on flavorful favorites like grapefruit and blood orange to give you a breakfast sky-high in fiber as well as protein. Plus, the vitamin C is a great immunity boost, so power up.
Per serving: 343 cal, 12 g fat, 53 g carbs, 11 g protein, 6 g fiber
Heck yes, you can eat Mexican food for breakfast. Warm up your broiler, scramble some eggs, and mash some black beans to assemble this yummy and satisfying morning tostada. Did I mention it’s topped with cheese and bacon?
Per serving: 327 cal, 17 g fat, 28 g carbs, 16 g protein, 6 g fiber
Apple Cinnamon Peanut Butter Breakfast Toast
Choosing a sprouted grain bread for this breakfast toast means that it’s a super smart pick, especially once you top it with healthy fats (peanut butter and nuts) and high-fiber fruit (a juicy apple).
Per serving: 386 cal, 21 g fat, 43 g carbs, 10 g protein, 6 g fiber
Strawberries and Cream Overnight Oats
Remember those strawberries and cream instant oatmeal pouches from your childhood? This recipe is kind of like that, only way healthier. Combine vanilla protein powder with rolled oats, Greek yogurt, and unsweetened almond milk before going to bed, then wake up to a ready-made breakfast just begging for a handful of fresh strawberries.
Per serving: 347 cal, 8 g fat, 56 g carbs, 15 g protein, 6.5 g fiber
Healthier Carrot Cake Muffins
You know you’ve called carrot cake a “health food” before (because carrots), but it’s not even a stretch with these muffins. There’s loads of shredded veg and heart-healthy walnuts, plus an applesauce/Greek yogurt combo that reduces the amount of oil you need. Pair with some fresh fruit for a fiber boost.
Per serving: 216 cal, 12 g fat, 24 g carbs, 4 g protein, 1 g fiber
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