As registered dietitians, one of the top requests we receive from clients is for breakfasts that will keep them fueled through their morning, whether they’re heading to the office, out for a workout or to train for a competitive sport. We’re not surprised this is such a hot request given that a satisfying breakfast is critical for mental focus and long-lasting energy, and for preventing weight gain. If you’ve ever eaten a breakfast that leaves you hungry soon after, you’re probably well aware of how a grumbling belly creates a distraction and leads to a short attention span. And you can probably relate to overeating mid-morning or at lunch to compensate, which can lead to weight gain from eating excess calories.
So what’s the secret to breakfast satisfaction? The winning formula includes energy-revving, wholesome carbohydrates that contain fiber (to keep you feeling full for longer and blood sugar stable), along with adequate protein, which takes longer to digest and prevents blood sugar from crashing. In addition to the quality carbohydrate and lean protein, breakfast should also be rich in phytonutrients, which help fight disease, bolster immunity and mop up free radicals created during exercise.
Here are three breakfasts that our clients love. Note: Males and extremely active females may need to have one-and-one-half or two servings of the portions listed.
Banana Cocoa Breakfast Smoothie and Hard-cooked Egg
This sweet and refreshing smoothie is hydrating and the banana provides energy-boosting carbohydrates and potassium, which aids in fluid balance and helps prevent muscle cramps, while the protein in the Greek yogurt helps to stabilize blood sugar. The egg provides an additional boost of protein and extra staying power to help prevent hunger. The cinnamon adds a delicious warm-flavor and research suggests it may help to keep blood sugar levels in check and fight diabetes.
- 2 ice cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 frozen over ripe banana
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
- 1 6-ounce container nonfat strawberry Greek yogurt
- 1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk (or ½ cup and ½ cup water)
- Stevia, to taste, optional
- 2-3 frozen pineapple tidbits, optional
- 1 hard-cooked egg
Place all ingredients except the egg in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy with a hard-cooked egg.
Nutrition Facts (without optional pineapple tidbits)
343 Calories, 49 g carbohydrate, 4 grams fat, 24 g protein, 6 grams fiber
Scrambled Eggs on Whole-wheat Toast With Berries
We’ve found this easy breakfast to be the most satisfying option for those looking to lose weight. The grains in the whole-wheat toast give a fiber-filled boost of carbohydrates to fuel you through your morning, while the protein in the eggs extend the boost and prevent energy dips. Eggs are quick to make and ultra-satisfying so you can pack in a lot of staying power in fewer calories. The yolks are where you’ll find vitamins D and B12, omegas and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that help fight off age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in Americans ages 60 and older. And berries have fewer than 85 calories per cup and rank near the top of the chart when it comes to antioxidant potential—they’ll help mop up damage from a tough day or if you’ve been exposed to too much pollution.
Fun egg fact: A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that when subjects ate eggs for breakfast (versus equal-calorie breakfasts of either cereal or croissants), they consumed up to 438 fewer calories over the entire day. And studies have found that breakfast including eggs may help control hunger for 24 hours.
Note: If you prefer a heartier breakfast, have two to three eggs. You can also have extra berries and add an extra slice of whole-wheat toast to create an egg sandwich.
- 2 slices whole-wheat toast (substitute 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal or quinoa, if desired)
- 1 egg plus 3 egg whites*
- Veggies, any (these are optional, but we highly recommend adding veggies because they boost fiber, antioxidants and make the meal even more satisfying)
- Oil in a spray jar
- 1 cup berries (pick your favorite)
*You can substitute the whole egg for 6 egg whites if you are someone who needs large volumes of food to feel full. The protein content will be higher and the calories will be slightly lower—just be aware that you will miss out on the healthy nutrients in the yolks.
Stove top: Spritz oil in a pan and add veggies and stir until they soften. Add egg and scramble. Toast bread and place eggs on top; add berries on the side.
Microwave: Beat eggs with spices of choice in a microwave-safe bowl until blended. Microwave on high for 45 seconds and then stir. Microwave until eggs are almost set, 30 to 45 seconds longer. Times may vary depending on your microwave. Serve immediately with toast.
Breakfast with 2 slices whole grain bread, using 1 egg, 3 egg whites, 1 cup strawberries: 303 Calories 38 g carbohydrate, 6 g fat, 23 g protein, 2 g saturated fat, 7 g fiber
Breakfast with 2 slices whole grain bread, using 6 egg whites, 1 cup strawberries: 294 Calories, 39 g carbohydrate, 2 g fat, 28 g protein, 1 g saturated fat, 7 g fiber
3-ingredient Energy-revving Cherry Oat Muesli
Whole-grain oats contain healthy, fuel-providing carbohydrates needed to power your brain and your muscles. Soluble fiber found in oats helps to keep you feeling satisfied and also keeps cholesterol levels in check, while magnesium helps to stave off muscle cramps. Greek yogurt is a great source of bone-building calcium that is packed with protein, which extends the energy boost of the oats (and from the cherries). And sweet cherries are packed with potassium, which helps to counteract sodium, helping to restore normal fluid balance. They also contain the antioxidant quercetin, which helps to keep blood vessels relaxed and supple, and anthocyanins, which are believed to help fight cancer.
- 1/2 cup whole-grain oats, raw
- 1/2 cup cherries, sliced
- 6 ounces non-fat plain Cherry Greek yogurt (120-130 calories, at least 12 g protein, this will help to keep sugar lower)
- Dash of cinnamon or ginger
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy.
307 calories, 54 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat, 20 g protein, 1 g saturated fat, 9 g fiber