Find out what the experts eat for breakfast. (Photo: Rubberball/Nicole Hill/Rubberball/Getty Images)
Breakfast: The most important meal of the day. Or so the old adage goes. There is good research to support the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast – benefits that span from physical (weight management and improved energy) to emotional (better mood) to mental (clearer thinking and memory retention). So what’s the best breakfast to eat to reap all these benefits? Ten of the nation’s top nutrition professionals share their morning meals and how they balance great taste with limited time and solid nutrition. The variety might surprise you!
(Photo: Lili Basic Capaccetti/Moment Open/Getty Images)
1. PLANT-POWERED: Steel-Cut Oats With Hemp Seeds, Walnuts and Seasonal Fruit
“My typical morning breakfast is steel-cut oats with hemp seeds, walnuts and seasonal fruit. In the summer it’s berries or peaches; in the winter it can be apples or bananas. I like to add a bit of spice (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice), and I top this off with unsweetened, plain, organic soy milk. This satisfies me until lunchtime. Plus, it’s giving me a boost of omega-3s every day. I work out in the morning too, so that fuels my workout.” –Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, author of “The Plant-Powered Diet” and “Plant-Powered for Life.”
(Photo: sugar0607/iStock/Getty Images)
2. WARM & COZY: Poached Eggs Shakshouka
“With two toddlers, a calm breakfast is somewhat of a luxury these days. I fell in love with poached eggs shakshouka when I tried them at my local cafe. I go for this dish whenever I can take some time for a warm, cozy breakfast. Eggs are my go-to good-for-you comfort food. You get satisfying protein along with vitamins and minerals, including choline, an essential nutrient for brain and nervous system function. The shakshouka sauce is made with tomatoes, chili peppers, garlic and spices like cumin and paprika. While this is an easy dish to prepare, busy schedules may keep it off the regular weekday breakfast list. Make a batch of the sauce in advance. It can last a week or more in the refrigerator. Or measure out perfect portions to store in the freezer for even longer. Just reheat the sauce and then add the raw eggs and allow them to cook in the sauce for several minutes.” –Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, health and happiness expert and mom of two.
(Photo: Jackie Newgent)
3. SAVORY: Oatmeal With Vegetables, Herbs and Goat Cheese
I don’t have a typical breakfast at all. But if I’m in the mood for something comforting and quick, I often make savory oatmeal. It only takes minutes, and it’s a cool way to get vegetables in the morning. It’s kind of like eating a breakfast version of risotto – made with oats instead of Arborio rice! Plus, it’s a delicious and versatile way to enjoy last night’s leftover veggies. It’s plant-based and provides a good source of protein, whole grains and produce – which I try to get at every breakfast to kick-start my day in a nutrient-rich, balanced and filling way. To prepare it, simply make old-fashioned oats with water or veggie broth; add vegetables, herbs and seasoning of choice; and top with one or two eggs fried in a drizzle of olive oil (or just top with goat cheese)!” –Jackie Newgent, chef, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition.”
(Photo: Sarka Babicka/Moment Open/Getty Images)
4. MAKE-AHEAD: Banana-Pecan Pancakes
“For breakfast I eat banana-pecan pancakes. I usually make these on the weekends and then freeze them to eat during the week. These pancakes are delicious, simple to make and offer a lot of quality food ingredients. They are high in protein and good, quality carbohydrates, and they contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and are loaded with antioxidants. The pancakes are a combination of oats, egg whites, cottage cheese, baking powder, vanilla and cinnamon. I make about 10 pancakes for the week. I use maple syrup, peanut butter or just sliced fruit on the pancakes. Since they are naturally sweet, you do not have to add sugar [syrup] to them.” – Jim White RD, ACSM EP, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios.
(Photo: robynmac/iStock/Getty Images)
5. EASY & EXCITING: Onion, Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Frittata
“One of my favorite breakfasts is an onion, sweet potato and Swiss chard frittata. I make a large frittata on Sunday night so I can eat a piece throughout the week for both an easy and exciting breakfast. I love the combination of flavors. Sweet from the onions and sweet potato and bitter from the greens. Plus, I add a dash of mild chili powder to the egg mixture for a little kick. Nutritionally, protein at breakfast is particularly important, as it seems to blunt our hunger throughout the day. And it’s no secret that eating more veggies is one of the best things we can do for our health. I pair it with a bowl of berries or half a grapefruit and a cup of tea for a very satisfying weekday breakfast in no time at all.” –Rachel Begun, M.S., RDN, culinary nutritionist and special diets expert.
(Photo: Julia_Sudnitskaya/iStock/Getty Images)
6. REHEAT: Oatmeal With Almond Butter and Chia Seeds
“I enjoy a steamy bowl of oatmeal every morning, and when I wind up having a different way to start my day, I’m happy to have oatmeal for lunch! I like my oatmeal steamy with hot milk, a swirl of almond butter and chia seeds. If I have time I add chopped fresh apple and cinnamon. Oats are rich in soluble fiber that helps cut cholesterol and keep blood glucose levels stable. Aside from being a bowl rich in whole grains, the addition of the almond butter and chia seeds boosts the protein value to help keep you feeling fuller longer. Although I adore oatmeal, it doesn’t mean that I have the time to prepare it each day, so I cook up an amount that will last all week. I keep it in the fridge and just heat it up each morning.” – Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, owner of BetterThanDieting.com and author of “Read It Before You Eat It.”
(Photo: BRETT STEVENS/Cultura/Getty Images)
7. VEGGIE JUMP-START: Open-Face Egg and Spinach Sandwich
“One of the benefits of working from home is that I can take a little longer – after my kids are out the door – to prep a more substantial, filling breakfast that will carry me through a typical morning full of conference calls. My new favorite breakfast is an open-face egg and spinach sandwich. I simply scramble one egg plus one egg white with one cup of chopped frozen spinach and season it with a quarter-teaspoon of dried dill and a pinch of salt. I quick-cook this mixture in a small skillet and add two tablespoons of crumbled feta at the end. I spoon the combo over a piece of whole-grain toast and serve with a side of fruit. Eating it as an open-face sandwich makes me slow down while eating because I’m using a knife and fork, and using spinach is a great way to get a jump-start on veggies for the day.” – Regan Jones, RD, founding editor at HealthyAperture.com.
(Photo: Sian Irvine/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images)
8. EUROPEAN: English Muffin With Tomato, Cheese and Mayo
“I am a bit European in my breakfast habits. I have coffee or tea with toasted English muffin adorned with a whole, sliced tomato and a bit of cheese and maybe a little mayonnaise. You can put it under the broiler if you want to melt the cheese. I like something savory for breakfast – plus, it’s got protein from the cheese and a serving of produce with the sliced tomato. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, whole-grain English muffins provide the energy and B vitamins needed for a busy morning, the mayo adds healthy fat for satiety and the cheese contributes protein, calcium, other dairy nutrients and umami for happiness.” –Carolyn O’Neil, M.S., RDN, LD, author of “The Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon”
(Photo: Olha_Afanasieva/iStock/Getty Images)
9. KID-FRIENDLY: Whole-Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Pancakes
“Breakfast is the meal where I sit down together with my kids. As such, I rotate the dishes between my Whole-Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Mama’s Berry Smoothies, easy-over eggs on whole-grain toast and fresh fruit, oatmeal with bananas and raisins and whole-grain cereal and milk. The pancakes are made with whole-grain pastry flour, bananas and Greek yogurt, which helps cut out a lot of the fat you may find in traditional buttermilk pancakes.
Any of the choices are easy to make on a weekday, and all three of my kids enjoy each one. My kids are also at an age that they can help set the table, make the pancake batter or pour the milk and cereal, making breakfast time even quicker. I am also able to spend some quality time in the morning with my little ones, which I love before heading to work.” – Toby Amidor, M.S., RD, CDN, nutrition expert and author of “The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.”
(Photo: Karcich/iStock/Getty Images)
10. LONG-LASTING ENERGY: Egg White and Spinach Omelet
“On the weekends (and some weekdays if I do a heavy workout) I go for an egg white omelet (using a microwave omelet maker!) with spinach, liquid egg whites and blue cheese, with fruit and a whole-grain English muffin on the side. I love how spinach and eggs fill me up for a longer period of time, and I love the crunch of the English muffin (I usually eat it plain and pile eggs on top to avoid needing to use butter or another topping). Nutritionally, eggs give that lasting protein energy to provide more satiety [a feeling of fullness]. Spinach is full of antioxidants and important nutrients like iron and zinc.” –Tara Collingwood, M.S., RDN, CSSD, co-author of “Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies.”
The original article “What 16 Nutritionists Eat for Breakfast“ appeared on LIVESTRONG.COM.
By Patricia Bannan, MS, RD
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