Let’s face it — getting out of bed can sometimes feel impossible. If you frequently feel groggy in the morning, keep in mind that the food you eat can make a big difference in giving you the energy and motivation to get through your day.
A balanced breakfast includes protein, slowly digested carbohydrates, and healthy fats, along with some fruit or vegetables. Here’s why they’re important:
Proteins. These are used to build and repair tissue in your body, transport and store nutrients, and provide your body with energy.
Carbohydrates. These are the main source of energy for your body. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that aids in digestion.
Fats. These supply energy and also help your body absorb some vitamins. Get plenty of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, avocados, and olive oil.
Adding the following foods or a combination of these items to your breakfast can give you the energy boost you need to power through your day.
Your body processes food to release the energy it contains. Foods high in carbohydrates may be the easiest to convert into fuel. But simple carbohydrates, like sugar, tend to be used very quickly. This means they’ll give you only a short burst of energy that’ll run out quickly.
For long-lasting energy, add a complex carbohydrate, like oats and grains, to your breakfast.
Oatmeal without added sugar is one of your best options. Oats are a whole grain food and a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, along with some protein and fat.
Oats are also loaded with vitamins and minerals, including:
Due to their fiber content, oats will make you feel fuller longer. In other words, oatmeal will provide long-lasting satiety to get you through your day.
Oatmeal can be eaten by boiling oats with water to make a porridge. You can then add a wide variety of toppings or mix-ins, including:
Oats can also form the base of baked goods or pancakes.
- Almond butter
Almonds are a good source of:
Almonds also contain some protein.
Though high in fat, this is the kind of fat you’d want for breakfast. Almond butter is high in monounsaturated fat, a type of fat linked to a reduction in heart disease and better blood sugar control.
Two tablespoons of almond butter have roughly 3.3 grams of fiber and 6.7 grams of protein, which can mean you’ll feel full for longer.
You can easily incorporate almond butter into a smoothie or mix it into a hot bowl of oatmeal. When shopping for almond butter, be sure to buy a brand that doesn’t have any added sugar, trans fats, or artificial ingredients. Moderation is key when it comes to nut butters, since they’re often high in calories.
Eggs are another power food that are a good breakfast choice. One egg contains 75 calories, along with 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats.
They’re a great option to form the base of a super healthy breakfast. Eggs are also extremely versatile. They can be made into an omelet with vegetables, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled — the list goes on.
- Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is a good source of probiotics. These are living microorganisms that help your gut stay healthy, so you won’t have to worry about feeling sluggish during the day due to poor digestion.
What’s great about Greek yogurt is how many different power foods you can add on top. Berries, nuts, oats, granola, seeds, honey, apples, papaya, mango, coconut, and over a dozen other fruits can make breakfast an enjoyable and satisfying way to start your day.
Papayas are an excellent addition to a complete breakfast. This tropical delight is high in vitamins C and A, fiber, and antioxidants known as carotenoids.
Vitamin C can help with the absorption of non-heme iron, which is the type of iron found in plant-based foods. It can also help support your immune system.
However, it’s a water-soluble vitamin, which means it’s not easily stored in your body. So, you’ll need to regularly eat foods rich in vitamin C to replenish your stores.
Another way to increase your intake of vitamin C is by taking a supplement. Nature Made vitamin C comes in the form of:
Papaya works great in a smoothie with coconut milk or added to yogurt. You can also cut it in small pieces and eat it as a side dish.
- Ground flaxseed
Ground flaxseed can take your breakfast to the next level. Flax is high in soluble fiber, which can help slow digestion and lower your blood sugar. If you tend to snack between meals, adding flaxseed to your breakfast may work to stave off hunger pangs.
Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed onto your oatmeal or yogurt, or try adding it to a smoothie or to baked goods. You can make a flax “tea” by mixing it with hot water, lemon juice, honey, and spices.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are often considered superfoods. They’re high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C.
Though they may taste sweet, berries are generally low in calories, so you don’t have to skimp on them. Even people on a low carb and ketogenic diet can enjoy berries in moderation.
Berries can be easily incorporated into smoothies made with almond, oat, dairy, or coconut milk, or can be added to oatmeal or yogurt. They also make a great mid-morning snack.
- Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a high source of fiber. The type of fiber in chia seeds is a viscous fiber, which means it absorbs water. As the food moves through your digestive tract, it will expand in volume.
Adding just a spoonful or two of chia seeds to your breakfast can mean feeling satiated for much longer.
You can also experiment with a variety of different chia seed puddings made by adding chia seeds to milk. As the chia seeds absorb the milk and expand, it creates a pudding-like consistency.
Here’s a recipe for a protein-packed chia seed pudding that’s sure to make your day better:
3 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. protein powder
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup (or equivalent amount of sweetener of choice)
pinch of salt
In a bowl, mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Before eating, you can top with berries or coconut flakes or mix in 1 tbsp. almond butter for an extra energy boost.
There’s a good reason why avocado toast became the latest breakfast craze. Avocados are a fruit containing a wide variety of nutrients, including healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Avocado can be added atop an omelet or smashed onto whole grain toast. You can also add it to a smoothie to give the drink a creamy consistency.
Coconuts provide mostly fat, but they also have several important minerals and small amounts of B vitamins. The high fiber content of coconut meat can also help slow digestion and regulate blood sugar levels. Flaked or shaved coconut adds a pleasant flavor to sweet breakfast dishes. Try it on top of yogurt, oatmeal, or cottage cheese along with other fruits, like mangoes or berries.
Adding any of these foods to your breakfast may give you the extra boost you need to make it through a busy day.
Many of these foods contain a healthy dose of fiber to slow down digestion and keep you satiated. The vitamins and antioxidants combined with protein and healthy fats are sure to make you feel energized as you go about your day.
To get the most out of your morning meal, aim for a breakfast that includes a protein along with slowly digested carbohydrates, healthy fats, and fruits or vegetables.
Last medically reviewed on November 9, 2020