Many people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters have more nutritious diets, by eating more vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and lower amounts of unhealthy fats. Furthermore, eating breakfast is associated with better health-related quality of life, lower stress, and depression. Breakfast also helps boost energy levels and brain-power, leading to more focus throughout the day.
Breakfast is important; however, to reap the most benefits, it should be #prettybalanced. Whether its cereal, toast, or eggs, there are simple ways to make your breakfast full of balanced nutrition, leading you to start your morning off right.
A pretty balanced breakfast should have at least 3 of these components:
Fruits and/or veggies
Here are some of my favorite ways to make any “typical” breakfast pretty balanced:
Cereal (hot or cold)
Add milk for protein, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and phosphorus (can use fortified-non dairy as well, but it may not have protein).
Sprinkle nuts and seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, almonds, or cashews for added heart-healthy fats, plant-based protein, fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants. Making a warm bowl of oatmeal? Try topping it with your favorite nut butter for a drool-worthy meal.
Add fruit like bananas, fresh or frozen berries, canned peaches in 100% juice, pomegranate arils, etc. for added vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
Eggs contain riboflavin, selenium, and vitamin D, and is a complete protein. Pair them with whole-grain toast w/ some olive oil in place of butter for heart-healthy fats.
Change it up by making an omelet or scrambled eggs, and adding vegetables like spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, or tomatoes.
Sprinkle on your favorite cheese, which adds protein and calcium.
Serve with a side of fresh fruit or a small glass of your favorite juice for a vitamin and antioxidant boost.
Top your favorite whole-grain toast with your favorite nut butter or avocado for heart-healthy fats.
If you are using nut butter, try topping it off with some berries for some added sweetness and texture.
Serve with a glass of milk for a protein and calcium boost - or a side of peas for some added fiber and vitamin K ;)
Smoothies are an excellent option for people who have a hard time eating in the morning, or who want something to take on the run.
Choose yogurt or your favorite protein powder for protein.
Add veggies like frozen zucchini, frozen cauliflower, or spinach (start small, you may not even know it is there!)
Add your favorite fruits like berries, peaches, pineapple, and mango. Different colors of fruits provide different nutrients, so get some variety!
Strive for heart-healthy fats like your favorite nut butter, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, or even a handful of mixed nuts. These will also add fiber and plant-based protein.
Try one of my favorite smoothie recipes here.
Top with your favorite granola for some fiber-rich whole grains.
Sprinkle on your favorite nuts or seeds, which will also add a fun texture.
Add fruit (fresh, frozen, or canned in 100% juice). I love making my own “fruit on the bottom” yogurt by placing frozen berries in a Tupperware, adding vanilla greek yogurt, leaving it in the fridge overnight, and topping it off with granola in the morning.
Pancakes and Waffles
Choose pancakes or waffles that are whole-grain. The fiber in whole grains keeps things "regular", helps you stay fuller for longer, and can help reduce cholesterol.
Top with your favorite nut butter. It will melt and make your waffles or pancakes sooo rich and yummy.
Top off with fruit, such as sliced bananas, fresh or frozen berries, or diced apples with cinnamon.
Serve with a glass of your milk of choice, and bam you have a balanced breakfast.
Whatever your breakfast of choice is, there are endless ways to make them pretty balanced.