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Breakfast Ideas to Start the Day Right

Research shows that the benefits of taking time to eat a balanced breakfast are worthwhile for all ages. Breakfast gives your brain the essential energy it needs for a full day ahead, and breakfast eaters tend to struggle less with their weight than those who skip breakfast. A large number of observational research studies also show that people who regularly eat breakfast may have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins, calcium, and other minerals, as well as lower intakes of fat and total calories. And there’s more. An article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that simply eating breakfast may also decrease disease risk. The researchers reviewed the eating patterns of more than 29,000 men that were followed for 16 years. Skipping breakfast resulted in a 20 to 25 percent increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

Build A Balanced Breakfast
The key to starting the day out right is to ensure you have a combination of carbohydrates needed for brain fuel and satisfaction as well as protein needed for fullness. The easiest way to think about breakfast is to ensure you have the following three components:

  1. Grains/Starches such as whole wheat toast, high-fiber breakfast cereal, oatmeal or leftover whole wheat pasta, brown rice, or other whole grains from dinner.
  2. Fruits/Vegetables such as fresh fruit, canned unsweetened fruit, dried fruit, frozen unsweetened fruit or even raw or cooked veggies if you prefer.
  3. A source of protein, such as eggs, nuts, nut butter, cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, soy milk, protein powder, tofu, meat, poultry, or seafood.

Breakfast Ideas with a Twist
Looking for some breakfast ideas? Here are three common breakfast themes with a traditional option and a few new ones with a twist.

Yogurt parfaits:
• Traditional: vanilla yogurt, chopped nuts, and fresh/frozen berries
• Tropical: plain yogurt, diced fresh/frozen thawed mango and fresh/canned unsweetened drained pineapple topped with sliced almonds and bran cereal.
• Banana split: plain or vanilla yogurt, sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, and crushed peanuts.

Hot cereals:
• Traditional: rolled oats, diced apples and raisins served with milk.
• Pumpkin porridge: rolled oats, canned pumpkin, raisins, milk/soy milk, cinnamon, vanilla, peanut butter/nut butter served with maple syrup.
• Cranberry crunch: steel cut oats, dried cranberries, and cinnamon; top with toasted pecans/almonds/walnuts, milk, and maple syrup.

• Traditional: scrambled, poached, boiled eggs with whole grain toast and fresh fruit.
• Southwestern: whole grain tortilla wrap stuffed with scrambled eggs made with turkey sausage, (optional), onions and red peppers topped with grated cheddar cheese and salsa.
• Mediterranean: whole-wheat English muffin with a pan-fried egg, sautéed spinach with onions and olives and topped with feta cheese.

For more ideas on how to build a balanced meal for any time of day, contact the dietitians at

Content submitted by Janyce Gately – MS, RD, LDN, CHWC