Healthy Breakfast Ideas: How to Make Popular Meals More Nutritious

If you’re crashing only hours after eating breakfast, it’s probably because of what you ate. 

Your first meal of the day can set the tone for how you’ll feel later on. While our post about nutrition myths  and misconceptions debunks breakfast as the most important meal of the day, what you eat still matters. 

Unfortunately, many popular breakfast foods lack vital nutrients, contain too much sugar, or are highly processed. 

Here are 7 healthy breakfast ideas that will make your favorite morning foods more nutritious:

1. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Pancakes

Pancakes are an American staple, especially at chain restaurants and on Sunday mornings. However, their basic ingredients are loaded with sugar and lack fiber, which helps regulate the sugar you consume.

Don’t use a box of Bisquick and Mrs. Butterworth. Try one or more of these instead: 

  1. Substitute refined white flour with whole wheat flour, almond flour, or oat flour. These flours are high in fiber, and therefore more filling. 
  2. Trade out syrup made with high-fructose corn syrup for pure maple syrup. Then, pour that syrup in a ramekin on the side instead of directly onto your pancakes. Often, you’ll consume less of it, but still enjoy it 
  3. Use a little bit of honey or peanut butter instead of syrup 
  4. Top your pancakes with plain yogurt or fruit, then add a lower quantity of pure maple syrup for extra flavor

2. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Granola

Many popular granola bar brands  have the nutrition equivalency of a candy bar. Instead of being packed with fiber and protein, they contain added sugars and corn syrup. This can lead to high blood sugar, inflammation, and that midday crash. 

Eat this instead: 

  • Granola bars made with oats, nuts, and seeds 
  • Make your own granola bars with fresh fruit  
  • Go minimalist with these delicious ideas 

3. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Muffins

Muffins are perfect grab-and-go baked treats, and they’re about as versatile as food comes. Unfortunately, most of the muffins we’re eating are terrible for you. Muffins you buy at stores or bakeries can easily clear the 400 calorie mark (Costco muffins are often over 700 calories!). They also contain tons of added sugar. 

Here are a few ways to make muffins healthier: 

  1. Trade white flour for whole wheat or almond flour 
  2. Add Greek yogurt in your recipes 
  3. Include fresh fruit  
  4. Substitute almond milk

For inspiration, here are a few healthy muffin recipes  to consider. 

4. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Smoothies

By definition, breakfast smoothies should be healthy. However, many fruit juices contain small quantities of actual fruit, and substitute sugar or high-fructose corn syrup for flavor. Even 100% fruit juices  can contain high amounts of natural sugar without the fiber you need to feel full. 

Try one or more of these instead: 

  • Substitute whole fruits 
  • Add Greek yogurt–it pairs well with most fruits 
  • Add power greens. They’re healthy and filling 
  • Include a little water or seltzer to help dilute the smoother for easier drinking

5. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Yogurt

“Yogurt” does mean “healthy.” Flavored yogurts and yogurts that are “low-fat” or “fat-free” contain added sugar for flavor. Sometimes, these yogurts  contain so much sugar that you might as well eat a scoop of ice cream  instead! 

Try this instead: 

  • Substitute plain Greek yogurt  
  • Top with fresh berries, bananas, or whatever your favorite fruit may be  
  • Add nuts for texture 
  • Add a little honey for sweetness

6. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Cereal

Your Lucky Charms may be “magically delicious,” but they’re not magically nutritious. While many cereals contain plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, processed cereals lose a lot of their vitamin content, and are often loaded with sugar and refined grains. Instead, try eating whole grain cereals.  They often contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, E, and K. 

Here are a few ways to get the most of your cereal: 

  • Add fresh fruit to your cereal to curb your appetite. 
  • Mix your cereal with plain yogurt instead of milk  
  • Avoid cereals that aren’t made of whole grains or are high in sugar

7. Healthy Breakfast Ideas: Toasted Pastries

PopTarts or Toaster’s Strudel are great for breakfast on the run. However, they’re low in protein, loaded with sugar, and will do little to curb your appetite. 

Healthy alternatives include: 

  • Bobo’s  toaster pastries, which are made of 100% wholegrain rolled oats and natural sweeteners 
  • Homemade Pop Tarts  made with a jam filling of your choice 

For more healthy breakfast ideas, send a message  or schedule a visit with one of our nutrition counselors.

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