Eat This, Not That: 6 Healthy and Delicious Breakfast Swaps
To state the obvious, eating a healthy breakfast is crucial. But maybe it isn't so obvious. Despite often being heralded as the most important meal of the day, it's surprising how many of us tend to skip breakfast: 31 million, to be exact. But the whole point of breakfast is to break the fast (you just slept for around six to eight hours), so you need to replenish your body with wholesome foods that are high in nutritional value. Anything that's fatty or sugar-loaded will only fog your mind and make you feel sluggish—there goes your productivity. It's important to feed your mind, body, and soul in the morning with a balanced meal so you're ready to embrace the day ahead with vigor. Scroll down for our picks of the foods to swap out and in.
Before you reach for granola in the cereal aisle next time, take a look at the ingredients first. While you might think this grain-based cereal is a healthy choice, it's often a hidden source of processed sugar and fat. The best option is to make your own using raw or steel-cut oats and mixing in the best nuts, seeds, and freeze-dried fruit. There's no hidden ingredients or nasty chemicals, so you can happily eat it every day guilt-free, but don't go overboard. Dietitian Kate Deppeler told Women's Health & Fitness magazine she recommends half a cup (or 4 ounces) per serving. This superfood muesli recipe is one of our favorites. If you don't have time to make your own, use the ShopWell app next time you're in the grocery store, and scan the products first.
While the taste can't be beat, the fat content can, and consuming a bacon-and-egg muffin every day won't do your heart any favors. According to My Fitness Pal, a homemade bacon-and-egg muffin with cheese has 600 calories and 22 grams of fat. If the recommended daily calorie intake is 2200, that's a huge chunk of it, and the day has only just begun. Not forgetting that the World Health Organization recently added bacon to its list of carcinogens. We recommend replacing the 'ol bacon-and-egg muffin with a grilled-vegetable toasted sandwich on whole-grain bread. Not only does it taste delicious, but it's packed with nutrient-dense ingredients that will carry you all the way through to lunch. We love this Italian grilled cheese with roasted peppers and spinach.
While a glass of orange juice is a quintessential breakfast item, it might be doing you more harm than good. A study published in the journal Nutrition found that fruit juice on average has a "fructose concentration of about 45.5 grams per liter, only a bit less than the average of 50 grams per liter for sodas." The facts hurt. We recommend replacing that tumbler of OJ with a superfood smoothie instead. We urge you to push aside the trendy factor and believe the hype on this one, because they are packed with so much goodness that you'll be skipping your way into the office. We love the Healthy Happened chocolate superfood smoothie with cacao, fresh berries, cashews, maca powder, hemp seeds, and spirulina. Yum!
Breakfast burritos are delicious, we know, but the processed white flour of the tortilla with all that cheese and sour cream can be a little heavy in the morning. Swap that for this gluten-free Tex-Mex lasagna that's packed with protein (it has eggs, pinto beans, and the option to add beef or chicken), low on carbs (these gluten-free oven-ready lasagna sheets are made with almond flour), and you can freeze it. Delicious and nutritious.
Sometimes you just have to get out the door and need something quick. Don't worry; we feel you on this. While an energy or cereal bar seems healthy and tempting, often these are loaded with sugar and other ingredients you can't pronounce. Quick oats are a great option, because you only need to pour boiling water over it and stir. Many grocery chains even stock organic brands now. Oats are the one of the most underrated superfoods; they are just packed with so much goodness. We love this simple oatmeal recipe with caramelized apples. If you're really pushed for time in the mornings, then make a batch of these delicious Karlie Kloss–approved breakfast cookies ahead of time.
While there is a time and place where fried eggs are totally needed, it's not something you should consume every day. If you're looking for a way to cut down on oil and fat content, then baked eggs are the answer. They still have all the nutritional value of eggs (high in protein and omega 3), but without the oil and this recipe combines them with spinach and mushrooms for a jam-packed breakfast that tastes amazing. If you love baked eggs, try them coddled, too.
What are some of your favorite healthy breakfast options? Share them with us below.