Many people believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it breaks the nighttime fast and kick-starts a person's metabolism.
However, popular American breakfast foods, such as donuts, pastries, and pancakes, are laden with saturated fat and sugar and contain little protein or fiber.
A healthful breakfast is one that contains nutritious foods that provide energy and make a person feel full, which can help prevent overeating later in the day. In this article, learn about the best foods to eat in the morning.
Oatmeal is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains beta glucan, which is a thick, sticky fiber that helps a person to feel full for longer and may also lower cholesterol.
One study revealed that people who ate oatmeal for breakfast felt fuller and ate less at lunchtime than people who ate cornflakes. This was particularly true in people who were overweight.
Oats are also rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Steel-cut oats, which contain more protein and fiber than other types of oats, are a good option because they have a lower glycemic index (GI). A low GI means a person's blood sugar will not increase as much.
Eggs are a popular breakfast food. They are nutritious and contain high-quality protein.
Some people think that eggs are unhealthful because of the amount of cholesterol they contain. However, research has shown that the dietary cholesterol from eggs has only a minor impact on bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), in the blood.
A small study on people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease found that eating whole eggs and moderately reducing carbohydrate consumption resulted in improvements in blood cholesterol levels. It also reduced waist circumference, weight, and body fat.
If a person does not eat animal products, eating nuts is another excellent way to get enough protein. Nuts also contain antioxidants, magnesium, potassium, and heart-healthful fats.
According to a 30-year-long study in the New England Journal of Medicine, people who consumed nuts seven or more times per week had a 20 percent lower risk of death compared to people who did not eat nuts.
Nut butter is very versatile. People can spread nut butter on whole grain toast, mix it into oatmeal or yogurt, or use it as a dip for fresh fruit.
Healthful kinds of nut butter include:
- peanut butter
- almond butter
- cashew butter
- unsweetened cocoa and hazelnut butter
One review from the American Diabetes Association suggests that drinking either regular or decaffeinated coffee could decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers also suggested that some components of coffee improve glucose metabolism.
However, adding cream or sugar will reduce the beneficial effects of coffee. It is best to reduce or avoid adding sugar to coffee and choose nonfat or plant-based milk instead of cream.
Berries of all kinds, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are an excellent way to start the morning. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain disease-fighting antioxidants.
Sprinkle berries on cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt, or blend them into smoothies. If fresh berries are expensive or not in season, buy frozen berries, which are just as nutritious. However, it is best to choose frozen berries without any added sugar for optimal health benefits.
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber.
People can sprinkle flaxseeds on yogurt or oatmeal, or blend them into smoothies. It is essential to purchase ground flaxseed or to grind the seeds at home, as whole flaxseeds will pass through the body without breaking down.
Greek yogurt is another excellent source of protein to eat in the morning. Greek yogurt is thick and creamy and contains more protein than regular strained yogurt.
Greek yogurt is also rich in calcium and contains probiotics that help support a healthy gut and immune system.
People can pair this low-fat, high-protein food with other foods on this list, such as berries or nut butter.
These teas contain some caffeine but not as much as coffee. Tea can also help a person stay hydrated.
Cottage cheese is another protein powerhouse. One study showed that cottage cheese could curb hunger just as efficiently as eggs do.
Bananas are a quick and convenient addition to a nutritious breakfast. They also make a good mid-morning snack to keep hunger at bay.
Bananas contain resistant starch. The body does not digest resistant starch, so it travels through the body unchanged, which helps support digestive health. Unripe bananas contain more resistant starch than ripe bananas, which have more natural sugars.
Bananas are also a great source of potassium, which may support healthy blood pressure in some people. Bananas are great with nut butter or on top of oatmeal or cereal.
When eating breakfast in the morning, make sure to choose foods that are filling and contain lots of nutrients. Choosing the best foods to eat in the morning can help curb hunger and kick-start a person's metabolism for the day.
Most of the foods listed in this article are available for purchase in grocery stores and supermarkets. Some are also available for purchase online.