10 Healthy Breakfast Options - Quick Meals To Eat In The Morning
If you've been following a fitness plan, working out hard and trying to stick to a healthy nutrition regimen but you still wake up every morning and struggle with the dilemma of what to eat for breakfast, then this article is perfect for you! So many people have a difficult time choosing the right foods to eat in the morning when their overall goal is to lose body fat and get lean. Whether you are in a rush for time or just have no idea about which breakfast foods to fit into your diet plan, this article will give you some quick and easy healthy breakfast ideas that you can make in a matter of minutes. Nobody likes to eat the same foods all the time, so its nice to have a list of nutritious choices to pick from when you get up in the morning and want to start your day off the right way.
The Importance of Breakfast
Eating a nutrient dense breakfast is absolutely critical for a number of reasons. The most important thing about eating first thing in the morning has to do with hormones. While you're sleeping, your body is basically fasting for 6-8 hours overnight. When you wake up in the morning, the hormone cortisol is elevated and it will be at the highest levels of any time during the day. Cortisol is the stress hormone and its "catabolic" which means it breaks tissue down and this is not a good thing when your goal is to increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. Since you have been fasting for several hours during sleep, cortisol give your brain and body the energy needed to stay alive. Cortisol is also elevated during stress, whether its stress from a hard-core workout or even stress due to working too long at your job or other personal issues related to daily life.
Your main goal in the morning is to eat something in order to reduce the amount of cortisol in your body. The best way to do this is by eating a nutrient packed breakfast with lean protein, healthy carbs and good fats. So many people run to the coffee machine to brew up a caffeine packed cup of coffee but this is actually detrimental since caffeine also raises cortisol. So, one of the worst things you can do to hinder your physique goals is to drink a bunch of coffee in the morning and eat nothing! This is the perfect storm for your cortisol levels to shoot through the roof and stay there until you eat some food which might come hours later at lunch time. This is the reason why its absolutely crucial to choose the right foods in the morning. Even if you aren't hungry after you wake up, you still really want to try to get some type of quick and healthy food into your body.
Top 10 Healthy Breakfast Options:
#1. Oatmeal with Egg Whites:
A quick and easy option for a healthy breakfast is to make oatmeal with egg whites. Make sure to use quality oatmeal when making this meal. A very high quality oatmeal to use is called "Bob's Red Mill". You want to avoid the instant oatmeal that comes in the little packets. These are loaded with sugar and will have your insulin levels raging out of control. A good rule of thumb to go by is the bigger the flakes, the better. If you have a little extra time, choose oatmeal called "steel cut oats". This takes about 20-30 minutes to cook but they are very hearty and delicious. If you can't find "Bob's Red Mill" oatmeal, then choose the "Old Fashioned" rolled oats by Quaker which will be found in the cereal isle at your local grocery store. The last option is to choose is the "Instant Oats" which are smaller flakes but they come in the barrel style packaging versus the packets and they contain zero added sugar. Always look at the ingredients and make sure it reads "100% whole grain rolled oats" only and avoid any oatmeal with a bunch of sugar added to it. These will be the packets that are labeled "Maple & Brown Sugar" and "Apples & Cinnamon". These might taste great but you want to avoid them due to the extra sugar that has been added to flavor them.
- Coat a pan with non-stick spray and heat on medium.
- Use 6 eggs and separate the egg whites from the yolks.
- Pour the egg whites into the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of old fashioned oatmeal into a microwavable safe bowl.
- Microwave the oatmeal for 60-90 seconds.
- Add the cooked egg whites to the bowl of oatmeal.
- Stir everything up and enjoy!
- Optional: you can add cinnamon or flaxseed oil for taste.
- Calories: 402
- Protein: 32 grams
- Carbs: 55 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
#2. Ezekiel Toast with Natural Peanut Butter
Choosing the right bread is very important if you're goal is to eat a nutrient dense meal. The reason why Ezekiel bread is so great is because it is flourless sprouted grain bread. Sprouting grains and seeds before baking produces living, nutrient rich food. Sprouted grain bread has numerous advantages over "enriched" wheat flour breads. These breads are made from the endosperm of the wheat kernel (the inside portion), which contains primarily carbohydrates and few vitamins and minerals. The milling of grain into white flour requires the removal of the bran and the germ. This results in the loss of natural fiber, bran and 22 vitamins and minerals. Ezekiel bread has increased vitamin content generated by the sprouting process and contain a superior quality protein that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs, containing all 9 essential amino acids. In total, there are 18 amino acids present in this unique bread. The only place in the grocery store you can find Ezekiel bread is the frozen food section because its that fresh. All the other "regular" bread can sit on the isles for days and even weeks because of the preservatives. The other great thing about Ezekiel bread is that it tastes amazing! Give it a try and see what you think. Your body will thank you.
The choice for peanut butter is to make sure its 100% all natural with absolutely no additional ingredients. Most peanut butter brands on the market are loaded with sugar. All you need to do is turn the can around and look at the ingredients. It should just have one main ingredient listed, "peanuts". A great brand to look for is Laura Scudder all natural peanut butter. Put 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on each piece of toast and you will have a nutritious protein packed breakfast that you can make in minutes!
- Place 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread in the toaster.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of all natural peanut butter on the toast.
- Calories: 250
- Protein: 16 grams
- Carbs: 42 grams
- Fat: 13 grams
#3. Oatmeal with Protein Powder
One of the most fiber packed and filling healthy breakfast meals you can make in the morning is oatmeal with protein powder. It not only is packed with healthy carbs but when you use a chocolate protein powder, you get a nice sweet tasting treat in the morning. Make sure to use quality oatmeal like organic 100% whole grain rolled oats along with a quality protein powder. One of my favorite protein powders to cook with oatmeal is Elite XT 12 hour protein made by Dymatize Nutrition. The chocolate flavor tastes amazing and its thick enough to mix with oatmeal to make a perfect meal. The Elite XT is a blend of different proteins (whey, casein and egg albumin) to allow an extended release of protein to your body. This is a great source of protein to use anytime which will help enhance and prolong the positive balance your body needs to repair, recover, and grow.
- Add 1 cup of oatmeal into a microwavable safe bowl.
- Add 1 cup of protein powder to the bowl.
- Add 1-2 cups of water to the bowl and mix.
- Place bowl into microwave for 60 seconds.
- Stir and re-heat if needed.
- Calories: 429
- Protein: 31 grams
- Carbs: 60 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
#4. Protein Packed Fruit Smoothie
One of the staple breakfast foods in many healthy households is the protein fruit smoothie. Why is it so popular? Well, its a popular choice because its quick, nutritious and delicious! Its one of the easiest healthy breakfast meals to make. There is no cooking needed! All you need to do is choose a quality protein powder and some of your favorite fruit and you're all set. A great protein powder to choose is whey because its a very fast acting protein. In the morning, you really want protein to get into your system and working quickly because you want to decrease those high cortisol levels that are heightened after fasting overnight for 8-10 hours. Whey is a fast acting protein where the body can absorb it and use it within 20 to 40 minutes of being taken, so this is ideal in the morning. Whey protein is also great for drinking right after an intense workout since you want that protein to get to your muscles right away to start rebuilding and repairing them.
For this smoothie recipe, we are going to use strawberries and bananas for our fruit. Feel free to substitute other fruit in place of these two if you would like. Any fruit really works great in a protein smoothie including blueberries, raspberries and mangos! We are also going to use 1 cup of non-fat milk which gives thickness to the shake when you blend it up. If you don't want to use milk, then you can substitute it with a fat free yogurt which will add that extra thickness to the smoothie as well.
- Pour 1 cup of non-fat milk and 1 cup of water into a blender.
- Add 1 scoop of whey protein powder.
- Add 1 cup of sliced strawberries and 1 medium banana.
- Add 1-2 cups of ice.
- Blend on high for 30 seconds and enjoy!
- Calories: 353
- Protein: 35 grams
- Carbs: 53 grams
- Fat: 2 grams
#5. Protein Bar
If you're really in a rush and literally only have a few seconds to grab something, then a high quality protein bar will come in very handy. The key is a good protein bar is in the protein and the sugar content. So many protein bars on the market today are simply glorified candy bars with a little extra protein in them. Its actually very difficult nowadays to find a protein bar that has a minimal amount of sugar. The companies do this simply for the taste since they know that nobody is going to eat a protein bar if it tastes like cardboard. One of the few quality protein bars on the market that I recommend are "Nitro-Tech" bars made by a company called "MuscleTech". The bars taste great, are packed with high quality protein and have just a few grams of sugar. They come in a variety of different flavors like Chocolate Caramel Nut Crunch, Chocolate Crisp, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Smores Sensation, and Strawberry Cheesecake. These flavors will easily cure any hard-core sweet tooth you might have. Its truly like having a candy bar without all the fat and sugar. A great way to enjoy them is to buy and box and throw them in the freezer. When you wake up in the morning, grab a bar out of the freezer and enjoy a nice sweet tasting protein packed bar on your drive to work.
- Tear open the package and enjoy!
- Calories: 310
- Protein: 30 grams
- Carbs: 29 grams (only 4 grams of sugar)
- Fat: 8 grams
#6. Veggie Egg White Omelette
A veggie egg white omelette is a great breakfast choice in the morning if you have a little more time to cook (10-15 minutes). You can choose a variety of different veggies to add to it like spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini. We will be using 6 egg whites for this omelette with a little extra virgin olive oil to cook the veggies with. If you want to reduce the fat and make the omelette a little quicker to cook up, then I highly recommend using Ziploc Zip'n'Steam bags. These are super convenient to use when you want to cook up veggies quickly. Just throw some broccoli and carrots into a bag, throw it into the microwave for 2-3 minutes and you're all set. If you want some healthy fats in your diet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to your stir fry pan and then add the veggies. Cook for 3-5 minutes and then add them to your cooked egg whites which will be in another pan. With a spatula, flip over one side of the egg whites overtop the veggies and you have a perfect omelette. The other way to make this omelette is to cook the veggies in a pan for 3-5 minutes and then add the egg whites directly over the veggies. Let this cook for another 3-5 minutes and flip over one side of the egg whites to make your omelette.
- Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a stir fry pan.
- After the pan is heated, add 1 cup of broccoli and 1 cup of mushrooms to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Using another pan, add some cooking spray and heat on medium.
- Pour 6 egg whites onto the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- When the veggies are fully cooked, add them onto one side of the egg whites in the other pan.
- Take your spatula and flip over one side of the egg whites over top of the veggies.
- Place the omelette onto your dish and enjoy.
- Calories: 266
- Protein: 27 grams
- Carbs: 9 grams
- Fat: 13.5 grams
#7. Ezekiel Toast with Egg Whites and Swiss Cheese
This is another great option for a quick and healthy breakfast that is packed with protein. Choose any variety of Ezekiel bread since they are all very nutrient dense and they taste great. The different types are Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread, Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Sesame Bread, Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Low Sodium Bread. One of the best tasting breads to choose is the raisin bread but they actually all taste amazing! You can find this bread in your frozen food section of your grocery store. For eggs, try to choose the organic kind for the healthiest option. A very good brand to choose is called Organic Valley since they are truly organic and their eggs have a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids which are the healthy fats. When trying to choose the right cheese, a very good choice is low-fat or reduced fat Swiss cheese since its very low in fat (2-4 grams per slice) and high in protein. A few great choices are either Sargento or Berner Valley reduced fat Swiss cheese.
- Add some cooking spray onto a skillet and heat on a cook top (medium heat).
- Crack open 5 eggs and pour out the egg white portion into a cup. The best way to do this is to crack the egg in half and then pour the yolk back and forth over a cup. This will allow the egg whites to pour into the cup. You can also pour the whole egg into your hand and let the egg whites drain through your fingers but this is a little messy.
- When you have the egg whites drained into a cup, pour them onto the skillet and let the egg whites cook for about 3-5 minutes on low to medium heat. You will see the liquid start to become solid after a few minutes. After a few minutes, take 1 piece of cheese and cut it in half. Place both pieces of cheese onto one side of egg whites. Let this cook for another 1-2 minutes and then take a spatula and flip one side of the egg whites onto the side with the cheese on it. Let this cook for another 30-60 seconds.
- Put 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread into toaster.
- When the toast is finished, place it onto a dish.
- Take your spatula and cut the egg whites down the middle into 2 pieces. Place the egg whites onto the two pieces of toast and enjoy!
- Calories: 295
- Protein: 37 grams
- Carbs: 32 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
#8. Kashi GoLean Cereal
I'm not a big fan of using pre-packaged cereal for a healthy breakfast, but if you're really in a rush and don't want to cook a meal or make a protein smoothie, then choosing Kashi GoLean cereal is a good choice to start your morning off right. The original GoLean cereal is a lightly sweetened mix of crunchy fiber twigs, crispy soy protein grahams, and honey-toasted 7 whole grains and sesame puffs. They have several different flavors of cereals to choose from including Toasted Berry Crumble and Honey Almond Flax. Kashi also makes delicious tasting hot cereals that come in different flavors like Creamy Truly Vanilla and Hearty Honey Cinnamon. All of Kashi cereals come with real nutrition, whole grains, toasty good taste and nothing artificial. If you have a real need for cereal in the morning, Kashi GoLean is a very good choice for a nutrient dense breakfast!
- Add 2 cups of GoLean cereal to a bowl.
- Add 1 cup of non-fat milk.
- Calories: 366
- Protein: 34 grams
- Carbs: 72 grams
- Fat: 6 grams
#9. Turkey Breast and Mushroom Omelette
If you're looking for a protein packed, low carb breakfast in the morning, then a turkey breast and mushroom omelette is your perfect choice. This is a very filling meal that will give you the protein your body needs to rebuild muscles and give you the energy for a long day. Ideally, you want to choose high quality turkey breast such as Boar's Head along with organic eggs. Boar's Head uses the finest ingredients and their meat contains no fillers, gluten, artificial colors, flavors or trans fat. We will also be getting some healthy fats included in this meal from 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. The health benefits of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids (MFA's) and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that olive oil protects against heart disease by controlling LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels while raising HDL ("good" cholesterol) levels. Along with a tablespoon of olive oil, we will be using 5 egg whites for this omelette with 4 ounces of Boar's Head Ovengold Roast breast of turkey.
- Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a stir fry pan and heat on medium heat.
- Add 1 cup of mushrooms to the stir fry pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Spray some cooking spray onto another pan and place on medium heat.
- Add 5 egg whites to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- When egg whites are cooked, add 4 ounces of turkey breast to one side of the egg whites.
- Pour the cooked mushrooms onto the turkey breast.
- Using a spatula, flip one side of the egg whites over the top of the turkey and mushrooms.
- Place the omelette onto a dish and enjoy!
- Calories: 339
- Protein: 46 grams
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fat: 15 grams
#10. Non-Fat Yogurt with Fruit
A perfect breakfast meal in the morning to satisfy your sweet tooth is a bowl of yogurt mixed with fruit. This is a super easy and convenient meal to make which takes about 30 seconds and its packed with protein and tastes delicious! Just choose your favorite non-fat yogurt along with your favorite fruit and enjoy. The most important health benefit of yogurt and what sets it apart from other healthy foods is that it contains a high amount of probiotics, which are bacteria that have been established to have a positive affect on the digestive system. For this meal, we will be using plain non-fat yogurt along with blueberries. Feel free to use any type of fruit you would like for this breakfast meal. Different fruit like sliced bananas, strawberries and mangos work great and taste amazing. You can also try freezing your fruit the night before which adds a nice little crunch to your yogurt mix!
- Add 1 cup of non-fat yogurt to a bowl.
- Add 1 cup of blueberries to the bowl.
- Mix and enjoy!
- Calories: 192
- Protein: 12 grams
- Carbs: 37 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams