This article was co-authored by Pouya Shafipour, MD, MS and by wikiHow staff writer, Kira Jan. Dr. Pouya Shafipour is a Family Medicine Specialist, Primary Care Physician, and a Weight Loss Specialist based in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Shafipour specializes in dietary, nutritional, behavioral, and exercise counseling to manage obesity and medical conditions related to excessive weight gain or loss. Dr. Shafipour received a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, an MS in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University, and an MD from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He completed his internship in general surgery at UC Irvine and a residency in family medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and became board certified in family medicine in 2008.
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Balancing your nutritional needs in the morning will give you more energy, boost your brainpower, and stop you from getting hungry before lunch. However, a pancake breakfast with bacon or a bowl of sugary cereal isn't always the best way to go. Forget the pastries, fried foods, breakfast sweets, and swap those foods out for healthier alternatives. We’ve compiled ten science-based ways and quick ideas for making a healthy breakfast, so you can start the day off right.
1 1 of 17:Make eggs for a protein-rich option.
- Try scrambling eggs, hard boiling them, or making an omelet. By eating protein in the morning, you’ll feel full for a long time without adding excessive fat and calories.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source Choosing eggs means that you’ll help your body out with plenty of amino acids, selenium, vitamin D, and other crucial nutrients to support your overall health.XResearch source
- A serving of protein is 1 egg (or 2 egg whites).XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
- Scramble your eggs, and keep them soft by continually stirring them. Add veggies like spinach and bell peppers to the mix for additional nutrients and fiber.XResearch source
- Poach your eggs to get a runny yolk that’ll taste great on salads or toast.
- Fry your eggs to make a quick toast topping.
- Bake a frittata with veggies like spinach, onions, and peppers.XResearch source
2 2 of 17:Scramble tofu for a nutritious vegan option.
- Make your own tofu skillet for a filling breakfast choice. Whipping up a batch of tofu will give you a healthy serving of all nine amino acids that your body needs. You’ll also get calcium, magnesium, and of course, protein to keep you fueled until lunch. XResearch source Choose extra firm tofu for your scramble, slice it into cubes, and then scramble it up once it’s cooked.XResearch source
- Season 14-ounces tofu (400g) with ½ teaspoon turmeric (1.5g), ½ teaspoon cumin (1.5g), and 1 tablespoon (16g) soy sauce for extra flavor.XResearch source
- Add sauteed veggies like spinach, chives, or scallions to the mix if you’d like to boost the flavor.
3 3 of 17:Add lean poultry like chicken, or turkey for a protein boost.
- Get your daily iron and magnesium with lean protein. Put your chicken or turkey in a veggie skillet, a breakfast burrito, or a breakfast salad. Eating lean protein sources gives your body nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin E, and zinc, which support your immune and muscle systems.XResearch source Choose chicken or turkey instead of cured/processed meats like bacon, which cause water retention and can push blood pressure up.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School's Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
- Add lean ground turkey to your skilled of sauteed veggies or a breakfast burrito.
- Put sliced chicken breast on your breakfast sandwich.
- A serving of cooked lean meat is 3 oz (80g).XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
4 4 of 17:Make a breakfast burrito to combine multiple filling foods.
- Put beans, eggs, and cheese into your burrito. Adding beans will give you fiber and minerals without adding to your saturated fat intake.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source Meanwhile, eating cheese will add to your protein and calcium consumption. Choose corn or whole-wheat tortillas instead of processed flour tortillas to take advantage of complex carbohydrates’ appetite-satisfying power.XResearch source
- Try any of these toppings for extra flavor: salsa, cilantro, red onion, red bell pepper, and chili flakes.XResearch source
- A serving of cooked beans is ¼ cup (15g).
5 5 of 17:Fill leafy greens with protein for a paleo-inspired wrap.
- Stick to un-processed foods in this low-carb option. Pick collard leaves or lettuce, and fill your greens with lean meat, eggs, and fresh avocado salsa. Add beans on the side or in the wrap, and throw avocado in for extra healthy fat.XResearch source
- If you’re using collard leaves, steam the leaves for 3-4 minutes so that they’re tender.
6 6 of 17:Create a breakfast sandwich with veggies and lean protein.
- Eat your veggies raw if you don’t have time to cook them. Pop a piece of toast (or two, depending on the serving size) in the toaster, and add cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, and a lean meat protein (like sliced chicken or turkey).XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source Opt for bread that is 100% whole grain instead of enriched-flour products (which are mostly white flour).XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- For a vegetarian option, add minced chives and parsley to a skillet of scrambled eggs, and top your sandwich with the eggs.XResearch source
- For a vegan option, blend tofu with nondairy milk, nutritional yeast, tapioca flour, turmeric, garlic and onion powders, salt, and pepper, and chives before cooking it like an omelet.XResearch source
7 7 of 17:Mash avocado on wheat toast for a dose of healthy fat.
- Pick avocado for a toast-topping option with lower sugar content. Skip the jam, jelly, or butter, which all contain empty calories.XResearch source Instead, get plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids (crucial for heart health), and reduce your caloric intake with this tasty, natural spread.XResearch source
- Throw on non-starchy veggies like radish or cucumber slices, arugula, sprouts, and pickled onions.
- Drizzle lemon juice or hot sauce for extra flavor.
- Add salt, pepper, and red chili pepper flakes for classic spice.
- Put a fried egg on top for added protein.
8 8 of 17:Spread almond butter on whole wheat toast.
- Pick this nut butter for a lower-fat spread. Compared to nut butters like peanut butter, almond butter contains less saturated fat.XResearch source Top your toast with almond butter and fruit, unsweetened coconut shavings, or chia seeds.XResearch source
9 9 of 17:Try hot cereal for a filling, high-fiber option.
- Cook an old-school option like oatmeal, farro, buckwheat, or millet. Eat these grains to stay full, since they take longer to break down than simple carbs from foods like white bread. As a bonus, these grains are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health.XResearch source
- Consume oatmeal regularly to lower your cholesterol through oatmeal’s supply of beta-glucan, a special type of fiber that prevents cholesterol absorption.XResearch source
- For the healthiest oat option, choose steel-cut oats (which contain more fiber). However, rolled or instant oats are quicker to cook and still healthy, as long as they’re unflavored.
- Add flavor to your hot cereal with healthy toppings like frozen fruit, a handful of nuts, dried fruit (like mulberries, goji berries, or dates), seeds (like pepitas, chia seeds), and toasted coconut.XResearch source
- Try this option for a bit of sweetness: Top your oatmeal with a pinch of cinnamon and 1 fresh apple. Add milk if you prefer a thinner texture.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service (UK)Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
10 10 of 17:Pick a cold cereal for a quick and easy breakfast.
- Choose an option with low sugar and high fiber. Check the nutrition label values to make sure that the cereal you’re buying has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving (and preferably at least 5 grams of fiber per serving). Avoid cereal marketed at children that may be high in added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other sweeteners.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Verify that you’re buying whole grain cereal by looking for the words "100% whole wheat" or "whole grain," and/or the certified Whole Grain Stamp, a yellow logo with a grain image.XResearch source
- Check the serving size of each cereal to avoid overeating.
- Try these healthy topping ideas: Pour in low-fat milk and choose either a handful of blueberries, a sliced banana, nuts (like sliced almonds), or cinnamon to your taste preferences.XResearch source
11 11 of 17:Grab a nutritious breakfast bar if you’re on the go.
- Buy bars with 6-10g of protein, and at least 3g of fiber. While most breakfast bars are full of added sugar, sometimes you just don’t have time for a proper meal! Carefully read the ingredient list to make sure they don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol, isomalt, and mannitol, which aren’t good for you when eaten regularly.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source Only select bars that contain under 20g of sugar.XResearch source
12 12 of 17:Round out any breakfast with fruit.
- Add this low-calorie food group to boost your vitamin intake. You’ll get potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate by eating 1.5-2 cups (337-450g) of fruit per day, so jumpstart your day with a 1/2 cup (112g) serving. Add fruit as a side to your meal or put it on top of your oatmeal or cereal.XResearch source
- Choose grapefruit or berries for a boost of antioxidants.XResearch source
- Eat a banana for a starchy fruit that’ll keep you full for longer.XResearch source
- Try this: Fill a bowl with frozen fruit (up to 3.5 cups or about 770g), and top it with a handful of nuts/seeds and a dollop of low-fat yogurt.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School's Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
13 13 of 17:Make a hash out of squash instead of potatoes.
- Reduce the calories in a traditional breakfast hash with this option. Bake grated seasonal squash or zucchini in the oven at 375 °F (191 °C) for about 7 minutes. Then, spread the squash in an oven-safe skillet, crack your desired amount of eggs over it, and put it back in the oven for 10-12 minutes.XResearch source
- To add flavor, add sauteed parsley, seeded jalapenos, and scallions to the squash before cooking.
14 14 of 17:Sauté vegetables for a vitamin-rich, savory breakfast.
- Add vegetables to your omelet or sauté them for a side dish. Eat vegetables to get potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and to reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease.XResearch source Create varieties of vegetable omelets with peppers, chopped white/green onions, mushrooms, spinach, kale, and more.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Try this quick veggie wrap: Heat up a whole-wheat tortilla, and fill it with vegetables and a serving of salsa. Top your creation with a serving of low-fat cheese.
15 15 of 17:Toss together a green salad for a low-carb breakfast.
- Stock up on leafy veggies like romaine, spinach, and arugula. Who says salad is only for lunch and dinner? Improve your morning vitamin intake by eating leafy greens, which contain vitamins A, C, E, and K. Choose dark leafy greens like kale or spinach to boost your iron consumption.XResearch source
16 16 of 17:Add low-fat dairy for protein and calcium.
- Go for skim or low-fat milk and low-fat, plain yogurt. Reduce your saturated fat intake and cut down on sugar by moderating your intake of full-fat dairy products like whole milk or flavored yogurt. It’s okay to occasionally consume full-fat milk products, but try to balance out your consumption.XTrustworthy SourceHarvard Medical SchoolHarvard Medical School's Educational Site for the PublicGo to source
- For a dairy alternative, pick soy milk or almond milk, which both contain a fine amount of healthy, unsaturated fat. Choose soy milk for higher protein content (7g per 8 fluid ounces (240 ml)) versus almond milk (1g per 8 fluid ounces (240 ml)).XResearch source
- Eat non-fat, plain Greek yogurt for protein, calcium, and probiotics to keep your gut healthy.XResearch source
- Pick cottage cheese if you’re struggling to find a filling breakfast. Cottage cheese contains casein, a protein that’ll keep you full for longer than whey protein (found in yogurt).XTrustworthy SourceConsumer ReportsNonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testingGo to source
- Try this: Boost your morning protein intake by adding a handful of nuts to a serving of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt.
17 17 of 17:Drink homemade smoothies instead of processed juice.
- Make your own juice at home. Reduce your sugar consumption by blending or juicing fruits instead of drinking store-bought juices with added sweetener. No matter what type of juice you consume, limit your intake, since juice can contain a lot of sugar and less fiber than consuming fruits or veggies whole.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Try this blueberry cashew smoothie: Blend 2 pitted Medjool dates, 16 fluid ounces (470 mL) coconut water, 1 cup (150g) cashews, 1 cup (190g) fresh or frozen blueberries, ⅓ cup (90g) plain Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp (15mL) fresh lime juice, and 1 large pinch of kosher salt with ice until you’ve reached your desired consistency.XResearch source
- Try this green smoothie: Blend 1 medium banana, 1/3 cup (40g) of mango slices, 1/3 cup (40g) of peach slices, 1/3 cup (40g) of frozen spinach, and 6.7 fluid ounces (200 mL) of water until smooth.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service (UK)Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source
- QuestionDoes a healthy breakfast need to have protein?Pouya Shafipour, MD, MSDr. Pouya Shafipour is a Family Medicine Specialist, Primary Care Physician, and a Weight Loss Specialist based in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Shafipour specializes in dietary, nutritional, behavioral, and exercise counseling to manage obesity and medical conditions related to excessive weight gain or loss. Dr. Shafipour received a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, an MS in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University, and an MD from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He completed his internship in general surgery at UC Irvine and a residency in family medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and became board certified in family medicine in 2008.
Board Certified Family Medicine SpecialistBoard Certified Family Medicine SpecialistExpert AnswerA healthy breakfast can include a combination of complex carbohydrates, fat and protein that provides sustained energy levels and avoids rapid rise and fall of blood glucose which can result in hunger. Examples of this include omelettes (eggs, cheese, avocados), whole grain granola with full fat yogurt and mixed with some raw nuts and seeds, or protein shakes (whey or pea or hemp protein) mixed with some milk or almond milk and some chia seed or flax seed as well as berries.
- QuestionWhat's the healthiest breakfast for kids?wikiHow Staff EditorThis answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Staff AnswerwikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerJust like adults, kids need good sources of protein, fiber, and complex carbs. Try an egg scramble with plenty of veggies, or a bowl of yogurt with berries for sweetness, or spread some peanut butter and banana slices over wheat toast.
- QuestionI don't like bread or cereal. What are some other breakfast ideas?Community AnswerMake a fruit smoothie, or have an egg, a breakfast burrito, porridge or yogurt.
- QuestionIs honey better for you than sugar?Community AnswerYes, honey is a better option for sweetening things like coffee, tea, and cereal/oatmeal. It contains beneficial antioxidants and flavonoids. Keep in mind that honey does contain sugar, so you still want to use it in moderation.
- QuestionIf I fry an egg in oil, does that reduce the benefits of the egg? Is it better to eat a raw egg?Community AnswerIf you add oil, you're adding calories and fat, so yes, this would be less healthy. Raw eggs, however, may contain bacteria that could make you very sick. Your best option is to hard boil, soft boil, or poach your egg.
- QuestionI've heard orange juice isn't all that good for you. Is there another option for a healthy drink?Community AnswerIf you have time, you can make fresh squeezed orange juice. Leave the pulp in for some extra fiber. You can also drink unsweetened almond milk, which is often fortified with more calcium than dairy milk. Of course, water is never a bad choice if you're thirsty.
- QuestionHow do I make a healthy breakfast meal on a budget?Community AnswerTry to make do with what you have. Try bread with some peanut butter stashed in your pantry or a smoothie with fruits and some leftover honey.
- QuestionHow can I get my brain working before school if I don't have anything for breakfast?Community AnswerMake something the night before so you have breakfast ready in the morning. If you can't do that, then try some quick exercises in the morning for ten minutes or so to jump start your body and mind.
- QuestionIs coffee good for a diet?Community AnswerAlthough coffee gives you energy, it doesn't provide it through any nutrients. The caffeine in the coffee does. As far as calories go, there is one calorie in one cup (may vary), so try not to add sugar and you should be fine.
- QuestionIs it healthier to freeze fruits before eating them?Community AnswerNo, freezing fruit has no effect on its nutritional value, but it tends to make the taste and texture worse. It's best to just eat fresh fruit unless there isn't any available.
- Try to reduce the amount of syrup you use. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Eating a sugary breakfast spikes your insulin levels quickly, which leads to a sugar crash later in the day. Keep away from those empty calories by avoiding refined, sugary carbs.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source