A healthy breakfast plays a crucial role in health and fitness. That is probably the reason why breakfast is called the most important meal of the day. Many people do not give enough importance to a healthy breakfast. But if followed correctly, it can solve a lot of health and fitness issues that too by just providing delicious food! However, people should be mindful of the fact that the amount of benefits a healthy breakfast offers is almost the same as the amount of harm an unhealthy breakfast can bring. It is better not to eat breakfast at all if you want to eat an unhealthy breakfast. But healthy breakfast meals refills the body, give your day a kickstart, and may even be a boon for your overall health. Hence it is wise not to skip this important meal. These quick and flexible options give you several ways to put a healthy breakfast back on your daily routine.
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The Benefits of A Healthy Breakfast
Early morning meals give you a chance to start each day with a healthy and nutritious breakfast. Adults who eat a healthy breakfast regularly have good chances to:
- Get more vitamins and minerals
- Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
- Keep a check on their weight
- Perform daily activities better
Children who eat a healthy breakfast daily are more likely to:
- Meet their ideal nutrient requirements
- Improve concentration and focus
- Maintain healthy body weight
- Perform better in studies and other school activities
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Must-Haves for Eating the Healthiest Breakfast
What exactly is a healthy breakfast? Here are some essential foods which make up the healthiest breakfast.
- Whole grains– Examples of whole grains include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, whole-grain roti, whole grain muffins, etc.
- Lean protein– Examples of lean protein include lean meat, eggs, legumes, and nuts.
- Low-fat dairy– Examples of low-fat dairy include milk, plain or flavored yogurts, low-fat cheeses, such as cottage cheese and other natural cheeses.
- Fruits and vegetables– Examples include frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice drinks with pulp and without added sugar, and smoothies of fruits and vegetables.
Together, these food groups offer a range of essential nutrients like complex carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and a small amount of fat (mostly healthy). This combination packs health benefits and provides a satiating effect that helps you feel full for longer. Find suitable options from these core groups as per your tastes and nutritional preferences. Try to choose food from at least three food groups of the four to round out a healthy breakfast.
Best Breakfast Foods
After understanding the importance and basics of a healthy breakfast, let us now dive straight into the healthiest breakfast foods and understand the importance of adding these foods to the breakfast meals.
Eggs are undeniably one of the most healthy breakfast food. Studies reveal that eating eggs at breakfast gives a satiating effect, making one fuller for longer. They also reduce calorie intake for the next meal and helps maintain steady blood sugar levels. In one study, men who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and took fewer calories during the rest of the day as compared to those who consumed bagels.
Also, egg yolks contain zeaxanthin and lutein. These are antioxidants that help prevent eye disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts. Eggs are one of the best sources of choline and an essential nutrient for liver and brain health. Although they have high cholesterol content, eggs do not shoot cholesterol levels in most people. Not only this, but egg white also has different types of protein which have high potentials for health. Hence, eggs are the best options for a healthy breakfast and good for maintaining decent cholesterol and sugar levels.
2. Tea or Coffee
It is amazing to start your day with a caffeinated beverage. Caffeine has records to improve mood, mental performance, and alertness, making it suitable to add to a healthy breakfast. Even small amounts of caffeine that are present in tea can achieve these effects. An analysis of 41 studies revealed that the most effective dose is 38–400 mg per day to maximize the benefits of caffeine with minimal side effects. This is roughly 0.3 to 4 cups of coffee per day but also depends on how strong the coffee is.
Caffeine is also good to increase metabolic rate and stimulates fat burning. In one research, 100 mg of caffeine per day helped people burn an extra 79–150 calories in just 24 hours. In addition to all of this, coffee is rich in antioxidants, reduces inflammation, may regulate diabetes, protect the cells lining the blood vessels, and liver disease risk. While most Indians do include tea or coffee in their breakfast, these beverages prove to be ideal for a healthy breakfast.
It is the best breakfast option for cereal lovers. Oatmeal is made from ground oats, which consist of a unique fiber called oat beta-glucan. This fiber has many splendid health benefits, like reducing cholesterol. The fiber also promotes a feeling of fullness. Oats are also rich in antioxidants, which defend their fatty acids from going rancid. These antioxidants may regulate blood pressure and benefit heart health.
Though generally, oats are gluten-free, they are sometimes processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains. Some studies have found that most oats are contaminated with other grains, particularly barley. Therefore, people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease should choose gluten-free certified oats. For ensuring a healthy breakfast with oats, it is best to prepare them in milk and serve it with any protein-rich food.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely nutritious superfoods and one of the best sources of fiber. The high nutrition present in chia seeds makes them attain a good position among foods of healthy breakfast. In fact, just one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides a decent 11 grams of fiber per serving. The fiber present in chia seeds is terrific, absorbs water, increases the volume of food moving through the digestive tract, and provides a satisfying feel. In a small, 12-week research, people with diabetes who consumed chia seeds experienced reduced hunger and better blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Hence chia seeds side effects are minimal, and they offer multiple health benefits.
Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, which protect the cells from unstable molecules known as free radicals produced during active metabolic activity. In another study, chia seeds decreased the inflammatory marker CRP by 40% in people with diabetes. Hence Chia seed smoothie or chia seeds with oats is one of the healthiest breakfasts one can have.
Nuts are tasty, nutritious, and one of the most satisfying options for a healthy breakfast. They are certainly an enrichment to the breakfast, as they also help prevent weight gain. Even though nuts have high-calorie content, studies suggest that people do not absorb all their fats. In fact, the human body only absorbs about 129 calories of a 28-gram serving of almonds.
Furthermore, nuts have been shown to reduce the risk factors of heart diseases, decrease inflammation and reduce insulin resistance. Mostly all types of nuts are high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Nuts are also very healthy for people with diabetes. Adding nuts to oatmeal in the morning meal can enrich the healthy breakfast with more nutrients.
Flaxseeds have abundant health benefits and are a great option for a go-to healthy breakfast. They have high viscous fiber, which helps you feel full for several hours after eating. This is why many nutritionists recommend flaxseeds for weight loss. These tiny powerhouses of nutrients may also improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood sugar levels, and even protect against breast cancer. Two tablespoons (14 grams) of ground flaxseeds consist of about 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Flaxseeds smoothie is a viable, healthy breakfast option to increase your meal’s fiber and antioxidant content. Just make sure to choose ground flaxseeds or grind them before consuming them because whole flaxseeds may not pass from the gut easily.
Fruit can be a delicious part of a healthy breakfast. All types of fruits contain vitamins, fiber, potassium and are generally low in calories. One cup of chopped fruit provides nearly 80–130 calories, depending upon the type. Citrus-rich fruits are also very high in vitamin C. One large orange can provide more than 100% of the daily recommended intake for vitamin C. Fruits are also very satisfying due to their high fiber and water contents. Nutritionists recommend fruits for diabetes as they have minimal side effects. One can pair fruit with eggs, cottage cheese, or yogurt for a well-balanced and healthy breakfast that will satiate you for hours.
8. Cottage Cheese or Paneer
Cottage cheese or Indian paneer is fantastic breakfast food. It is rich in protein, which increases metabolic rate, produces feelings of fullness, and decreases the hunger hormone or ghrelin levels. In fact, cottage cheese is said to be as fulfilling and satisfying as eggs. Cottage cheese is also famous as one protein-rich vegetarian food. Full-fat paneer also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may help in obesity and weight loss. One cup of cottage cheese provides nearly 25 grams of protein which is quite impressive. One can eat a healthy breakfast by adding chopped nuts, ground flaxseeds, or berries to cottage cheese.
A healthy breakfast makes sure the body is fueled for the rest of the day. While skipping breakfast may not harm much, but eating a healthy breakfast can help abundant health benefits of which one may not need to worry about risks of various health problems. Hence it is wise to make eating healthy breakfast a daily habit.
FAQs About Breakfast
Q.1 What time should I eat breakfast?
Ans. It is ideal for eating breakfast within 2 hours of getting up in the morning. The sooner one eats breakfast, the better is the metabolic activity.
Q.2 What do I eat for breakfast every morning?
Ans. Eating eggs, oats, caffeinated beverages, etc., are good options for breakfast meals.
Q.3 What is the best breakfast for a person with diabetes to eat?
Ans. Eggs, oatmeal, berries, chia seed pudding, etc., are good breakfast options for people with diabetes.
Q.4 Is fruit good for breakfast?
Ans. Yes, fruits are great for breakfast. They provide ample nutrition and make one feel fuller for longer, which also ensures weight loss.