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Good Breakfast Foods to Get Your Day Off to a Healthy Start

Updated on March 11, 2013
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Kathy is a busy mom of two teens who loves to cook tasty and simple food for her family and friends.

A healthy breakfast gets your day off to a great start!
A healthy breakfast gets your day off to a great start! | Source

Why is a Healthy Breakfast So Important?

We've all heard that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." After "fasting" all night while we sleep, our bodies need to be refueled and rehydrated in the morning to keep them running properly. A healthy breakfast provides us with the necessary energy to help us get through our busy day.

Grabbing a coffee on the way out the door to work, or picking up high fat and high sugar foods at the drive-thru or coffee shop does nothing to help our bodies start the day off right. Loading up on sugar and fat in the morning throws our blood sugar levels out of whack, resulting in sluggishness or cravings later in the morning - often resulting in refueling with more sugary or fatty snacks!

So why do so many of us either choose such unhealthy foods for breakfast, or skip it altogether?

The usual reason given is lack of time, but when you consider the difference eating a healthy breakfast can make to your energy levels and overall health, it's definitely worth trying to make time for it.

What are Good Breakfast Foods?

The key components of a healthy breakfast are whole grains, protein and fruits or vegetables. This combination will increase your energy levels and keep you feeling full and satisfied longer throughout the morning. If you try to incorporate choices from each of these groups in your first meal in the morning, then you will be well on your way to a healthier and more energetic you.

Egg Facts - Did You Know?

There is no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs.

The majority of an egg's vitamins and minerals are found in the yolk.

Eggs contain iron, Vitamins A, D, E and B12, folate, lutein, selenium and are a complete protein source.

Source: http://www.eggs.ca


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Protein

Protein is an important component of a healthy breakfast. Protein gives your body energy, helps maintain healthy muscles, builds and repairs tissue, fights infection and much more.

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein. A whole egg contains about 6 grams of protein. If you're watching your cholesterol, you may want to use egg whites instead of whole eggs at least some of the time. However, recent studies suggest most people can eat one egg per day without increasing their risk of heart disease.

Boiling or poaching your eggs are both very healthy choices, since these methods don't require the use of any fats for cooking. Omelettes or scrambled eggs can be made with a small amount of olive oil and are healthy options too.

Other good sources of protein for breakfast are:

  • low fat or greek yogurt
  • protein powder (add to smoothies or hot cereals)
  • peanut or almond butter
  • lean Canadian style peameal bacon


Whole Grains

Whole grains are complex carbohydrates which help to stabilize our blood sugar levels, provide energy and keeping you feeling full longer after eating. They are high in fiber and improve digestion. They are a very important part of a nutritious breakfast.

Oatmeal is an ideal breakfast food. It's high in fiber and will keep you feeling full for a long time. It also contains important nutrients such as protein, silicon and phosphorus. Try to avoid the packages of single serving oatmeal though - they are typically full of sugar and additives, and you'll pay a lot more for them too.

Other good sources of whole grains include:

  • whole grain toast
  • rye toast
  • whole wheat english muffin
  • whole wheat tortilla
  • quinoa

Fruit is part of a healthy breakfast.
Fruit is part of a healthy breakfast. | Source

Healthy Tips

  • Choose fruits over fruit juices whenever possible
  • Eat a wide range of colours of fruits and vegetables every week
  • Keep berries and chopped fruits in the freezer for smoothies
  • Fresh and frozen fruit are both good for you - use whatever is most convenient for you

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits provide the body with energy and a wide variety of vitamins, nutrients and anti-oxidants. A good healthy eating goal is to try to eat two fruits or vegetables with every meal.

Try these ideas to incorporate more fruit into your breakfasts:

  • Add frozen or fresh berries to your yogurt, cereal or oatmeal
  • Make a fruit smoothie part of your regular breakfast menu. Try using different fruits every day for variety - the possibilities are almost endless!
  • Keep your fridge stocked with a variety of fresh fruits. Chop some up the night before if you think you will be rushed in the morning.

Vegetables also make a wonderful addition to a healthy breakfast. Try any of the following to increase the nutritional level of your breakfast:

  • Make a green smoothie, using leafy greens such as spinach or kale.
  • Add vegetables like red peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach to an omelette or scrambled eggs.
  • Add a slice of tomato to an egg sandwich.

Eat A Rainbow of Colours to Stay Healthy

Red Fruits and Vegetables
Yellow / Orange Fruits
Blue / Purple Fruits
Green Fruits and Vegetables
Raspberries & Strawberries
Peaches
Blueberries
Honeydew Melon
Cherries
Oranges
Blackberries
Green Grapes
Watermelon
Mango
Black Currants
Kiwi
Grapefruit
Canteloupe
Purple Grapes
Spinach
Pink / Red Grapefruit
Nectarines
Plums
Kale
Cranberries
Pears
 
 
Red Peppers
Papaya
 
 
Tomatoes
 
 
 
Smoothies made with fruit and yogurt help you get your day off to a healthy start.
Smoothies made with fruit and yogurt help you get your day off to a healthy start. | Source

For a Nutritional Boost

To add an extra nutritional boost to your breakfast, try adding any of the following to your smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal or cereal:

  • flax seed
  • wheat germ
  • hemp seeds
  • white chia seeds
  • nuts

Healthy Breakfast Options - Mix and Match

Protein
Whole Grain
Fruits and Veggies
Poached egg
Whole grain toast
1/2 grapefruit
Scrambled egg whites
Whole wheat tortilla (make a breakfast wrap)
Tomatoes and spinach cooked with the eggs
Peanut butter
Whole wheat english muffin
Strawberry banana yogurt smoothie
Greek yogurt
Uncooked oats
Mixed berries and chopped apple
1/2 cup of low fat milk
Oatmeal
Blueberries and banana
Soft boiled egg
Rye toast
Sliced cantaloupe or peaches
Omelette
Whole grain toast
Red peppers, onions, mushrooms (in omelette)
Ace Your Health: 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck
Ace Your Health: 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck

Theresa Albert's book is a great resource for anyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

 

Magic Muesli - A Healthy Way to Start the Day

Try Theresa Albert's Magic Muesli recipe for a healthy and nutritious breakfast. It is loaded with protein, nutrients and fiber, and will keep you feeling full for hours.

Best of all - it tastes good too!

Yogurt, almonds, oatmeal, blueberries, chopped apples and flax seed is a quick and nutritious breakfast.
Yogurt, almonds, oatmeal, blueberries, chopped apples and flax seed is a quick and nutritious breakfast. | Source

In a Hurry? Ideas for Breakfast on the Go

Just because you're in a hurry in the morning, doesn't mean you should skip eating a healthy breakfast. The ideal solution is to get up ten or 15 minutes earlier to make time to eat a nutrititious meal. However, this is often easier said than done. If you don't have time to sit down to eat, try one of the following ideas for a healthy breakfast you can eat while you're running out the door:

  • PB&B Wrap - Spread peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla, add a banana and roll it up
  • Fruit Smoothie - Mix up your favourite fruit with some yogurt and flax, hemp or chia seeds
  • Hard boiled egg, a handful of red grapes or an apple, and a piece of toast
  • A turkey sandwich on rye or whole grain bread
  • Breakfast Wrap - Wrap scrambled eggs and some salsa in a whole wheat tortilla

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    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You're welcome Linda! I'm glad to hear that you got some new ideas from it!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Great hub. As a diabetic, I am always looking for alternative breakfast ideas; ways to get that protein in early. I got some great ideas from this hub. Thanks for writing it!

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Betty! I'm glad you found this helpful.

    • Bettyoverstreet10 profile image

      Betty (Alawine) Overstreet 4 years ago from Vacaville, Ca.

      Great hub! I am watching my cholesterol and the info I have is pretty much what you have here. oatmeal has become my main breakfast with fruit and nuts, need to add an egg for my protein. Thanks so much for your time that went into this. I know it takes me a while to put one together and this is more info than I gather.

    • savingkathy profile image
      Author

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Bill! I'm glad you clarified that you didn't eat everything every day - that wouldn't be quite so healthy ;)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm feeling pretty healthy after reading this; I actually eat all of these things, Kathy....not all of them everyday, but a combination each day. Great hub and a must read for anyone interested in good health.