Skip to Content
UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital
DONATE Donate
SHARE TEXT

Tips for a Healthy Breakfast

Oatmeal; Tips for a Healthy Breakfast

Do you consider the cup of coffee you drink on your way to work breakfast? Or, maybe it's the protein bar you managed to eat between getting the kids fed and yourself ready for the day.

 

We heard it from our own moms - breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And they certainly knew what was best. Breakfast is the first opportunity of the day to fuel your body, get your metabolism going, and can actually influence what you eat the rest of the day.

Share This Story

 

Three Key Elements

 

Whether you eat on the go, or at home, there are a few key elements you should include with your meal:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits/vegetables
  • Protein

Whole Grains

 

Whole grain cereals are rich in fiber and will leave you feeling full longer. When looking for whole grain foods, look for the word "whole" as one of the first items on the ingredient list and make sure there are at least 3 grams of fiber or more per serving. Some examples of whole grain products include:

  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread
  • ½ cup oatmeal - best choices are the 'old fashioned' or steel cut oats with no added sugar
  • 1 small whole grain waffle
  • 1 small muffin (look for products made with a fiber-rich flour like oat, bran or wheat)
  • ½ English muffin or whole grain bagel
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal (look for varieties with 8 grams of sugar or less)
  • 1 whole grain breakfast bar

Protein

 

Protein will help improve the 'staying power' and satisfaction of a meal. Choose items with a small amount of unsaturated fat for additional, long-term energy. Yogurt is a versatile option, but avoid those with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Try to find yogurt with 10 grams of sugar or less per 6-oz serving, which you'll find in plain varieties. Add honey, vanilla, berries or other diced fruit to add a touch of sweetness.

 

Some suggestions for protein choices include:

  • 1 cup skim or 1% milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup nuts (or 1 ounce)

Fruits and Vegetables

 

For adults, the recommendation is to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. They help provide necessary vitamins and minerals, fiber and an added bonus, a touch of sweetness to your meal. Ways you can include fruits and vegetables in your morning routine are:

  • 1 medium banana
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • Fruit smoothie made with one cup fruit
  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable juice
  • ¾ cup 100% fruit juice
  • ¼ cup dried fruit
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers, diced tomatoes and onions added to an omelet

Tips for a Nutrient-Rich Breakfast

 

The possibilities are limitless, but here are a few ideas to make your breakfast meals a little healthier:

  • Top a bowl of whole grain or high-fiber cereal with blueberries, strawberries and sliced bananas
  • For a calcium boost, make oatmeal with fat-free milk
  • Use whole wheat flour in pancakes, waffles or muffins
  • Add a tablespoon of dried fruit to your cereal or muffins to add a touch of sweetness
  • Top whole wheat toaster waffles with peanut butter
  • Make breakfast wraps with whole wheat or corn tortillas, egg, low-fat cheese, diced peppers and onions
  • Add a tablespoon of nuts to your low-fat yogurt. Nuts are a great source of healthy fat
  • Drink 6 ounces of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice to boost your intake of vitamin C, folate and potassium
  • Use an egg white substitute in your omelet if you're cholesterol conscious
  • Enjoy 100 percent wheat or bran, oat bran or barley cereal
  • Skip the sausage and add turkey bacon to your omelet
  • Switch your coffee for a fruit smoothie made with yogurt
  • Switch up your usual cereal with low-fat Greek yogurt, granola and berries

 

What's Your Favorite Breakfast?

 

Whether you enjoy the same cereal every morning, or like to spice things up, we'd like to hear what are your favorite breakfasts.