Breakfast doesn’t just set the tone for your day, it sets the tone for your health. Since breakfast is the first meal you put into your body at the start of each day, it’s important to eat nutrition-rich, easy-to-digest foods. Here are 16 dos and don’ts of what you should eat every morning to consistently meet your health goals. A great day starts with a great breakfast.
1. Worst: Conventional Fruit Juices
Most fruit juices you can find at the grocery store are filled with added sugar, artificial flavors, coloring, and preservatives. Some even contain more sugar than soda (1)! These juices boost your blood sugar levels, leaving you energized only for a short period of time. Shortly after, your blood sugar crashes and you begin to crave another sugar-filled snack. Instead of fruit juice, snack on some fresh fruit to get all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that will keep you satisfied, without the excess sugar. Better yet, make your own fruit and veggie juice!
2. Best: Oatmeal
Oatmeal is rich in carbohydrates and protein, which means it provides both short-and long-term energy. Its high fiber content keeps you full while also lowering your cholesterol and improving digestion.
3. Worst: Tomatoes
If you are prone to acid reflux or stomach ulcers, you may want to skip out on acidic tomatoes first thing in the morning (2). Tomatoes are incredibly beneficial and make a great side dish for breakfast, but they just shouldn’t be eaten on their own. Instead, place them on a slice of sourdough bread or whip them into a fresh salsa and serve over scrambled eggs.
4. Best: Eggs
Eggs are a great source of protein and good cholesterol, so they’re perfect for keeping you full and providing plenty of energy first thing in the morning. Try them sunny-side up, poached, or as a lovely omelet.
5. Best: Blueberries
Blueberries are full of incredibly potent antioxidants, including anthocyanins, the antioxidant responsible for the fruit’s lush color. These antioxidants improve blood pressure and arterial stiffness, and boost concentration and memory (3,4). These berries are also rich in vitamin K, C, and Manganese, a mineral that 37% of Americans don’t get enough of (5,6). Manganese is important for the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones and plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Enjoy them in a delicious smoothie, as an oatmeal topping or as a mid-morning snack.
6. Best: Watermelon
Watermelon is a great way to hydrate your body after a long sleep. It’s perfectly sweet and full of powerful antioxidants and amino acids like L-citrulline,which promotes muscle recovery after exercise (7). It also contains lycopene, which reduces inflammation, enables the body to rid itself of toxins, and promotes cell health (8). The substance also protects your body from cancer, diabetes, macular diseases, and cardiovascular disease (9).
7. Worst: Coffee or Tea
Coffee and tea may improve wakefulness, but relying on caffeine isn’t a great idea, as it actually works as a diuretic that will leave you feeling dehydrated and sluggish. Caffeine can also increase anxiety, raise blood pressure, and cause mood swings (10). Plus, coffee is acidic and can worsen acid reflux, ulcers, and other digestive issues. But you don’t have to cut out coffee and tea completely, just drink it after a hearty breakfast instead of before.
8. Best: Nuts
Nuts are full of nutrients and protein, which help you feel fuller for longer. Hence, they make a great breakfast food or mid-morning snack. Plus, their healthy fats are great to control inflammation and boost brain health, so spread some nut butter on your toast or grab a handful of almonds for your commute to work!
9.Worst: Sugary Cereal
Most cereal marketed towards children contain more sugar than sweets and desserts. They also contain wheat enriched with synthetic vitamins and minerals, as well as artificial flavors, colors and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose (11). These cereals cause a rapid peak in blood sugar levels, causing an energy crash later in the day and, over time, contribute to insulin insensitivity.
10. Best: Citrus Fruits
Drinking lemon water can do wonders for your digestion, energy levels, and appetite, so why stop there ? Slice up some fresh grapefruit or add lime juice to our morning smoothie to get the best that citrus fruits can offer.
11. Best: Papaya
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which reduces inflammation of the throat and pharynx, improves digestion, and fights parasitic worms (12). Plus, its high fiber content clears away waste from your intestines to prevent digestive cancers. The fruit is also great for controlling blood sugar, lowering blood pressure, and promoting heart health (13).
12. Worst: Pastries
Croissants, danishes, and brioche bread are delicious, but it’s best not to eat them regularly, especially not as your first meal of the day. Not only are they full or butter and, typically, sugar, they’re also full of yeast. Yeats isn’t bad, but it can worsen conditions like candida. Replace these sweets with whole grain sprouted bread or get your carb fix with home-style potatoes instead.
13. Best: Buckwheat
Buckwheat is a seed high in B6, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, thiamin, and choline. As a resistant fiber, it boosts weight loss, reduces food cravings, and improves diabetes (14). Buckwheat can be boiled to make porridge, sprouted for a quick snack, and used as a flour to make healthy waffles or crepes.
14. Worst: Carbonated Drinks
It’s no secret that soda is far from a health food. Not only does it contain ridiculous amounts of sugar, but it’s also full of artificial flavoring agents as well as food coloring and preservatives. Soda is never a good idea, but it’s especially bad in the morning.
15. Best: Whole Grains
Whole grains like rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet, Kamut, and spelt are chock-full of important vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and protein. These grains promote regular bowel movements and work to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer, according to Web MD (15). Eat them as a porridge or enjoy them in a multi-grain bread base for avocado toast or a filling sandwich.
16. Best: Yogurt
Yogurt contains plenty of protein, which promotes muscle growth and recovery and supplies long-term energy. Plus, its combination of fat and protein leaves you full and satisfied long after breakfast. Yogurt is also a great source of gut-healthy probiotics that support healthy digestion and support proper immune function. Best of all, yogurt never gets old: add honey to sweeten in, give it texture with crushed seeds and nuts or add some color with fresh berries and fruits.