The 4 Healthiest Foods to Eat for Breakfast, According to a Registered Dietitian
Start your year—and your day—strong with these RD-approved healthy breakfast ideas.
Ask any nutrition expert what their favorite meal of the day is, and I guarantee they'll respond with breakfast. After all, eating in the morning gives you the mental and physical energy you need to make it to lunchtime, and multiple studies have shown that kids and adults that eat breakfast get more fiber, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, zinc, and iron in their diets than those that skip their morning meal. Eating breakfast helps your heart, bone density, metabolism, and digestion—and who wants to skip the opportunity to down a plate of poached eggs or peanut butter pancakes before you jump into your to-do list for the day?
According to Whole Foods' 2021 trend report, breakfast is going to be bigger than ever this year. It makes sense: Working from home has provided many of us with the time to *finally* sit down and enjoy a real breakfast during the week—waffles on a Wednesday, anyone?—over the old protein-bar-in-the-car routine of a past life. We're welcoming this silver lining with open arms.
To make sure you're eating the healthiest foods for the most important meal of the day, we tapped nutrition expert (and breakfast superfan) Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, for the most nutritious morning meals to jumpstart your day.
Perhaps the most versatile food out there, eggs make a delicious, quick, and nutritious breakfast in any form—from scrambled to soft-boiled to served on avocado toast, in quiche, or alongside tortillas for huevos rancheros. According to Largeman-Roth, eggs are one of the few food sources of vitamin D. “This is essential for proper immune function, especially because most of us don’t get enough vitamin D (and even less so in the wintertime),” she says. Each egg contains 44 IU of vitamin D, as well as 6 grams of protein, plus choline for brain health. “I love them sunny side up with some sriracha on top. I also serve them with a side of sauerkraut for a probiotic boost.”
RELATED: Yes, Eggs Are Healthy—Here’s Why
“Oats are just wonderful as an ingredient,” says Largeman-Roth. “You can use them in baked goods, overnight oats, and of course in oatmeal. You can also blend them up and use them as flour.” No matter how you choose to use them, oats are wonderful for your heart. The soluble fiber they contain, beta-glucan, has the ability to lower cholesterol levels naturally. Plus, oats contain resistant starch, which acts like a fiber, helping you feel fuller longer. That means if you have a bowl in the morning, you won’t be reaching for a snack before lunch.
Green juice may be sugar-laden snake oil, but green smoothies are packed with health benefits. “I love smoothies because you can pack so much into one glass,” says Largeman-Roth. “One of my favorites is the Banana-Avocado Zinger (see below) from my book, Smoothies & Juices: Prevention Healing Kitchen. It’s a blend of fruit, veggies, and herbs and loaded with B vitamins. It’s great as a pre-workout pick-me-up.” Pro tip: You can also add a little bit of jalapeño to make it even more eye opening (literally).
Makes 2 servings
1/2 cup chilled coconut water
1 chopped frozen banana
1 small avocado, pitted and peeled
1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Blend and serve.
Whole Wheat Sourdough Toast With Fruit and Nut Butter
“There are few things more satisfying than sinking your teeth into a piece of toasted sourdough,” says Largeman-Roth. “I like whole wheat sourdough bread from Bread Alone smeared with almond butter or sesame seed butter. Then I’ll top it with fresh fruit like sliced grapes or pomegranate seeds, and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, peanuts, or hemp seeds for extra nutrients and crunch.” Because sourdough is so chewy, Largeman-Roth explains that it takes an extra long time to eat, and eating slowly helps you be more mindful about what you’re putting into your body.