We’ve all heard the arguments on behalf of eating healthy breakfast. Eating first thing in the morning jumpstarts your metabolism, gives you more energy to confront the day’s challenges, fuels your brain for better focus and problem-solving. But many people just aren’t into eating breakfast. They’re not hungry in the morning, or they don’t allow themselves enough time to eat before rushing out the door, or their repertoire begins and ends with cereal.
But breakfast is easily the most convenient of the at-home meals, and healthy options abound. Whether you’re looking for some different healthy breakfast ideas or are just plain stuck in a rut, here are five suggestions for breakfast that are high in protein and fibre, low in sugar and saturated fat, and that taste delicious at less than 400 calories each.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Cut Out the Sugar
Many breakfast options contain way too much sugar—think cereals, muffins, donuts, even most yogurts. Cutting back on or finding substitutes for refined sugars will reduce calories and help stabilize your blood sugar (and therefore your energy levels) throughout the morning. A good way to do this without even thinking about it is to choose foods containing natural (rather than added) sugars, like fruit and low-fat dairy products.
1. Plain Nonfat Yogurt with Fruits such as Blueberries: Mix a cup of fruits such as a variety of berries, grapes, or peaches into a cup of yogurt. If you’re not used to this little sugar, squeeze in a tablespoon of honey; you can always use less as your taste adapts.
2. Mix-Your-Own Cereal: This is an easy way to recreate a cereal you love that reduces added sugars without sacrificing healthy fat, fiber, and protein. Pick a plain, high fibre cereal, that has less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Choose a no-sugar-added dried fruit like cranberries or raisins and a type of nut (sliced almonds work well) as your add-ins, pour in a half cup of skim milk, and you’re good to go.
Increase Your Protein Intake
It’s incredibly easy to fit protein into your daily breakfast, but many of us neglect to do so in favor of pastries, bagels, or plain old toast. Other than yogurt (or cottage cheese), some convenient sources of protein for breakfast are eggs, beans, and peanut butter.
1. Eggs with Black Beans and Salsa: This is an incredibly easy meal to make in a hurry. Spray a small skillet with non-stick cooking spray and cook two eggs over medium heat. When the eggs are first starting to set, flip them over with a spatula and top with a layer of beans (the remaining cooking time will heat the beans) and, as an option, a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Top with salsa and serve. Two large eggs, a half cup of beans (make sure they’re the no-fat kind), and two tablespoons of salsa for a tasty breakfast treat.
2. Oatmeal with Butter and Unsweetened Applesauce: Oatmeal is a gold-standard breakfast food, high in fibre and protein but low in calories. You’ve probably had it with raisins and brown sugar; here’s a new twist. Fix a half-cup dry serving of oats according to directions. Stir in one tablespoon of peanut butter until it melts and add a half cup of unsweetened applesauce.
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Speaking of Fibre
Another crucial nutrient supplied by each of these meals is fibre. Fibre aids digestion and is linked to weight loss for its role in helping you feel fuller, thanks to the indigestible bulk it adds to food. An easy way to incorporate fibre into your breakfast, other than through fruits and cereals, is to choose whole-grain bread products.
English Muffin, Peanut Butter, Banana: It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this. Toast a whole-wheat English muffin (preferably a light multigrain version), spread with two tablespoons peanut butter, and have a medium banana on the side.
One more thing: don’t forget what you’re drinking! To keep your calorie intake at breakfast reasonable, stick to tea, black or lightly sweetened coffee, and/or water.