Here’s How to Have a Healthy Breakfast
What you eat first thing in the morning sets the tone for your entire day. Eating a nutritious breakfast is associated with better cognitive function, mood, blood sugar maintenance, heart health, and quality of life.
When people skip breakfast – or worse – eat an unhealthy breakfast high in fats and refined carbohydrates, studies show that their cognition doesn’t work as well and they often come up short on important nutrients.
Don’t let that be you!
The key is having a healthy breakfast, which means including lean protein sources (salmon, eggs, low-sugar protein powder, etc.), nutrient-dense complex carbohydrates (whole oats, whole grain toast), healthy fats in the form of nuts, seeds, and certain plant-based oils, fruits, and vegetables.
Below are some easy, healthy breakfast foods to ensure your first meal of the day works for you, not against you.
6 Healthy Breakfast Foods to Help You Start the Day Off Right!
- Whole Grain Toast
Say goodbye to blood-sugar spiking pastries and donuts that zap your energy and say hello to whole grain toast. High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, whole grain toast digests slowly and doesn’t rapidly raise blood sugar levels. Whole grains are also loaded with B vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, which help fuel your brain and body.
Be sure to choose bread that has no, or very little, added sugar, and/or try a sprouted grain bread for extra fiber and protein.
Healthy breakfast on the go: Spread some organic peanut butter or almond butter on whole grain toast with a little sliced banana. Or try some mashed avocado with a little bit of lemon juice squeezed on it with a dash of sea salt or chili flakes. Avocado consumption was associated with better brain function in adults over age 60 in a 2021 nutrition study!
- Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are miniature treasure troves of nutrition, loaded with fiber, healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. At breakfast time, they’re indispensable when enjoyed in moderate amounts. Be sure to consume them!
Chia seeds, hemp seed, ground flaxseed, and walnuts are some of the greatest plant sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which are the best fats for your brain and the fats that most Americans are sorely deficient in. Any of them make a great addition to homemade granola or on top of oats and cereals.
Some other notable nuts are Brazil nuts, which are a great source of selenium. Almond, cashew, and peanut butters make a great spread on toast, or addition to healthy muffins or smoothies.
Healthy breakfast on the go: Grab a few Brazil nuts and enjoy them with a banana. Or pick up a nut-based, low-sugar energy bar from the health food store.
- Plain Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt is a perfect breakfast food because of its high protein content and probiotic cultures. Greek yogurt’s calcium, protein, friendly bacteria, and additional nutrients are excellent for your health. The protein fuels your brain and its probiotics help to support your gut health, which is closely tied to brain health as the gut is lined with millions of neuron cells that communicate with your brain!
Be sure to get plain Greek yogurt with no added sugar or a brand that’s sweetened with stevia. Low fat yogurt is recommended by the American Heart Association. It can be enjoyed with fresh fruit, over oats, and in smoothies.
Healthy breakfast on the go: Layer plain Greek yogurt in a cup with low-sugar granola, berries,
and perhaps a small amount of maple syrup, sprig of cinnamon, and teaspoon of vanilla.
Berries – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries – with their rich flavonoids and low sugar are particularly good for the brain. Berries help to protect against age-related neurodegenerative health issues, and boost motor and cognitive function, as well as have anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also vasodilators, which is especially good for blood flow.
Berry it up! Add them to whole grain pancakes, healthy muffins, on top of oatmeal and dry cereals, in Greek yogurt or a delicious smoothie. (However, if you have blood sugar issues, check with your doctor about your fruit consumption.)
Having a quality protein like eggs in your first meal of the day helps to balance blood sugar levels, as well as supply your body with several important nutrients.
Eggs are rich in an essential nutrient called choline, which your brain converts to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that supports healthy communication between brain cells. Choline has been shown to play an important role in cognitive function and memory.
For an added health boost, cook your eggs on medium heat with olive oil (rich in monosaturated fats and antioxidants) or coconut oil (rich in brain-healthy medium-chain triglycerides).
Healthy breakfast on the go: For a superpowered breakfast, toss some veggies into your scrambled eggs. Spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, kale, mushrooms, and/or onion all add fiber, nutrients, and flavor to your meal.
Whole oats are full of nutrients, antioxidants, and beta-glucan fiber. They’re also naturally gluten free.
They help to stabilize blood sugar levels and promote satiety. In terms of brain health, they’re loaded with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid that helps to calm electrical activity in the brain. Some research indicates that GABA may have a calming effect, helping to reduce anxiousness.
Enjoy a nice bowl of porridge or oatmeal (with no added sugar). Add a little protein power for some extra nutrition. Rolled oats also are great in muffins, granola, and overnight oats.
Healthy breakfast on the go: Make overnight oats (see recipe below)!
Fuel Your Day
Learning to fuel your body and mind with your first meal of the day can be creative and fun. Take these ideas and build on them. It’s a wonderful health gift to give to yourself each morning.
Overnight Organic Oats
- Organic rolled oats
- Milk or plant milk of choice
- Chia seeds
- Plain Greek yogurt (or vegan)
- Vanilla extract
- Maple syrup (or monk fruit maple syrup)
1 Part Oats + 1 Part Milk + 1/8 Part Seeds
Add all other ingredients to taste
- Combine rolled oats and chia seeds in a mason jar or bowl
- Add the plain Greek yogurt (or vegan yogurt) and vanilla
- Add milk and maple syrup (or maple monk fruit if you prefer)
- Mix and seal, place in refrigerator overnight
- In the morning, add in your favorite fruits and nuts or nut butter
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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