For many, breakfast is seen as the most important meal of the day. It sets you up for the next 24 hours of work and play. But if you’re not careful, a bad breakfast can ruin your productivity and scupper your plans. So, why not ensure your breakfasts are healthy and hearty by using our healthy breakfast grocery list, along with 10 scrumptious breakfast ideas?
- Break(fast) it Down
- Healthy Breakfast FAQs
- Breakfast Food To Eat and To Avoid
- Breakfast Ideas
- Breakfast Drinks
- Healthy Breakfast Grocery List
Break(fast) it Down
When you sleep, you’re not eating. If you’re getting that recommended 8 hours of sleep every night, that’s a long time to go without eating anything. It’s why breakfast is called breakfast: because you’re breaking the fast that our bodies go through at night.
Breakfast is the first thing you do each day to replenish your body with nutrients. So it’s important that you get breakfast right. An unhealthy breakfast can make you tired and hungry, causing you a whole host of problems, including a higher chance of gaining weight.
Therefore, we’ll take you through some questions you might have about what makes a healthy and unhealthy breakfast, 10 delicious healthy breakfast ideas, and a breakfast food list of what to eat and what to avoid. Then we’ll present the all-important healthy breakfast grocery list for you to use in supermarkets. You can, however, skip straight to the free printable breakfast shopping list template if you want to.
Healthy Breakfast FAQs
What makes breakfast healthy?
What makes a meal generally healthy applies to breakfast too:
- High in fiber
- High in protein
- Low in saturated fat
- Low in sugar
- Low in sodium
Fiber is probably the most important thing here. Fiber is going to keep you nice and full until your next meal, meaning you’ll be less likely to reach for those snacks in the meantime. Also, many food that’s naturally high in fiber is made up of complex carbohydrates. This means that it takes the body longer to break down the energy stored in these, meaning you get a more prolonged and steady release of energy from them.
Its other main benefit is helping to reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) and keeping your digestive system nice and healthy.
What makes for an unhealthy breakfast?
Essentially, the opposite of the above. But you really need to avoid the following:
- Saturated fat
Saturated fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and high LDL. Whereas sugar is linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity. Most sugar, especially refined sugar, is a basic carbohydrate. This means it doesn’t take your body long to break them down and access the energy inside. You’re likely to get a quick “sugar-rush” where you’ll feel quite energetic for a short while. But then it will be followed by a “sugar-crash” where you’ll be feeling very tired and craving for more food to lift your energy levels back up.
Is a good healthy breakfast the key to losing weight?
It has long been thought that a good healthy breakfast set the body’s metabolism up for the rest of the day. It also meant that you were less likely to overeat if you had a good breakfast. Therefore, a good breakfast was considered to be better for weight loss.
However, a recent study earlier this year may quite possibly debunk this. Recent research has shown that skipping breakfast has no effect on your weight loss. In fact, the studies found that people who regularly ate breakfast ate on average 260 calories more per day, and weighed nearly 1lb (0.5kg) heavier than those who didn’t.
The researchers themselves have expressed some caution over their findings. But it certainly does support the growing fad of intermittent fasting, where people will only eat during certain hours of the day to lose weight.
However, the key is to make sure you’re keeping to a daily calories deficit. So, whether you skip breakfast or not, just make sure you’re not eating more calories than your body naturally burns. To help, also make sure you increase your daily activity levels.
Is fruit juice good for breakfast?
You will get vitamins and minerals that you get from whole fruit, but none of the fiber. As mentioned above, fiber is key to keeping you full and brimming with energy. What’s more, store-bought brands often load their juice with added sugar and artificial ingredients.
The best advice is to make sure you eat whole fruit for breakfast or blend whole fruit and any edible skin/peel (where most of the fiber and nutrients live) into a smoothie.
If you really want to continue to include fruit juice as part of a healthy breakfast, make sure you chose a brand that contains the following:
- No added sugar – fruit juice will already have a moderate sugar content due to natural sugar. This is why added sugar can make fruit juice particularly bad for you.
- Not from concentrate – juices made from concentrate have had the natural juice reduced and then diluted at a later stage. This makes it less healthy than fresh juice, although it does make it cheaper.
- Contains pulp/bits – whilst the texture might not be to everyone’s liking, the “bits” contain extra fiber. However, you will still get more fiber from eating the fruit whole.
Breakfast Food To Eat and To Avoid
Breakfast Food to Eat
Breakfast Food to Avoid
Now you’ve got a bit of tasty knowledge about breakfast, let us provide you a breakfast list of 10 delicious ideas to get you ready for brekkie. We highly recommend taking ideas found here and looking through the plethora of recipes available online. That way, you can tinker and tweak these to something that is perfect for you.
#1 Smoked Salmon and Quark Bagel
A traditional favorite with a healthy twist. Smoked salmon itself is high in protein and also chock full of vitamins and Omega-3, making it one of your recommended two portions of fish a week. However, instead of fatty cream cheese, use healthier, leaner quark instead. Also, use a wholegrain bagel to get that extra fiber in. Season with black pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
#2 Avocado Toast
Derided by baby-boomers as the Achilles Heel of many a Millennial’s bank account, avocado is not only damn tasty but damn healthy! Avocados are full of fiber, and also packed with healthy fat (monounsaturated) which lowers your LDL, thus helping you ward off heart disease. All of the above will keep you nicely full. Not to mention they have more potassium than bananas.
What better way to have it than smashed up and spread on toasted wholegrain or wholemeal bread.
Avocados can be a little tricky to store, so don’t forget to check out our “How to Store Avocados” article for some pro tips.
#3 Oatmeal (Rolled Oats)
How versatile is oatmeal? Let me count thy ways.
Hot or cold. Made overnight or in the morning. Plain with some honey or loaded with nuts, seeds, berries, and fruit. You can even make savory oatmeal, mixed with things like kale and eggs.
One of the great things about oatmeal is that if you ever get bored of one way of making it, it’s super easy to find a completely different take on this breakfast staple. Overnight oats can also fit nicely into a hectic morning routine, saving you a lot of time.
These are some other versatile little breakfast buddies. You can boil them, poach them, scramble them, or fry them. They’re packed full of protein that will keep your tummy happy until lunch.
Poaching and boiling them is certainly the healthiest way to make them. If you do want to scramble or fry them, make sure you use a healthy Omega-3 rich oil such as olive, linseed/flaxseed, or rapeseed oil.
#5 Loaded Yogurt
Yogurt can just be had by itself with a scattering of berries and sweetened with some honey. But why stop there?
You can make your yogurt even better by putting extras like:
- Chia seeds – this will give your yogurt an Omega-3 boost
- Nuts – adds extra protein. Almonds work particularly well.
The best yogurt to go for is either natural yogurt (low in fat, but contains some sugar.) or Greek yogurt (a little higher in fat, but lower in sugar). Absolutely avoid fruit-flavored yogurt as these tend to have a lot of added sugar in them. Also, stay clear of “Greek-style” yogurt. This has been thickened using artificial ingredients rather than the traditional straining method.
#6 Supercharged Smoothie
Just like the fact you can improve your yogurt, you can also take your smoothies to the next level. Why not:
- Add chia seeds or linseed/flaxseed – again, a great way to get extra Omega-3 into your breakfast
- Add oatmeal – give your smoothie a fiber boost
- Add nuts – a good smoothie blender will incorporate these smoothly into your smoothie giving you a nutty extra helping of protein and fiber
- Add greens – get extra vitamins and fiber in by adding mild-tasting greens like kale or spinach. It’ll make your smoothie look a little a little off-color, but will certainly make it better for you and won’t alter the taste much.
- Replace your banana with half an avocado – instead of thickening your smoothie with a banana, try half an avocado instead for lots more potassium and a hearty helping of good-for-you monounsaturated fat
TIP: you can save extra time when making your smoothie by using a frozen fruit mix. These often contain berries and sliced/cut fruit. You needn’t worry that the convenience is coming at a cost to your health either, as it’s been proven that frozen fruit and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh, losing very little, if any, of their nutrients by comparison.
#7 Homemade Breakfast Bars and Breakfast Muffins
These are particularly good if you don’t have much time on a weekday morning, but enough time at the weekend to prepare these in advance. These are often packed with dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, which will get your off to a damn good start. Some might even include some dark chocolate as a naughty, but healthy, kick.
When making these, look for recipes that use wholewheat flour for extra fiber. But more importantly, look for those that use as little refined sugar as possible. The best recipes are ones that use honey or agave syrup to sweeten things.
#8 Cereal and Milk
We know this is as basic as it gets, but cereal and milk can be as good for you as any other suggestions on this list. Just make sure the cereal you choose is high in fiber and low in sugar. Even some “healthy” cereals like granola can have added sugar snuck in.
Whilst cow’s milk is generally good for you, you can make it even healthier by using a milk alternative such as soy, rice, or almond milk. You can even eat your cereal mixed with yogurt instead.
You can also add little extras such as dried fruit, nuts, and chia seeds or linseed/flaxseed to make it more filling and nutritious.
#9 Peanut Butter on Toast
Whilst this might not be the most filling of breakfasts compared to other ideas on this list, it’s still decent. Peanuts, being legumes, are packed full of fiber and protein. Just make sure you’re using a brand that puts the peanuts through as little processing as possible, and also doesn’t add extra sugar or artificial ingredients. Spread on wholegrain/wholemeal bread for even more fiber.
You might also want to consider using almond butter instead of peanut butter. Almonds are said to reduce blood sugar, bad cholesterol, and also helps to keep your blood pressure low. This makes it even better for you than peanut butter.
#10 Beans on Toast
No, we haven’t gone mad. Neither have we run out of ideas.
Baked beans are absolutely fine, although be sure you’re picking a brand with minimal salt and sugar in the sauce. Alternatively, make your own with some white beans and tomatoes. Or even make your own three-bean chili to crown your toasted wholegrain/wholemeal bread.
If you’re going to be avoiding the fruit juice, what should you drink with breakfast?
Be sure to have some java to jumpstart your day!
The caffeine hit certainly is the most obvious effect of improved energy, concentration, and mental performance. But did you know caffeine can improve your metabolism? Just 100mg a day (approximately 1 cup of strong coffee) can help you burn an extra 80-150 calories alone.
Green tea won’t give you the buzz that coffee does. Whilst the energy boost might be less, still helping you burn extra calories, it has additional benefits. Specifically, green tea is full of great antioxidants. It can help you lower blood sugar and insulin levels, whilst also helping preserve your nervous system and preventing cell damage. Steep for 4-5 minutes to get the maximum release of these miracle chemicals.
This is a new beverage on the block and has been causing a bit of a buzz over the past few years. It has less caffeine than coffee, but more than green tea. It’s great if you want a little more buzz without going overboard.
But what marks Yerba Mate out as a viable breakfast drink is the crazy amount of antioxidants in it. These will help reduce the risk of developing diseases, as well as helping to lower your bad cholesterol. It also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
One of the most astonishing claims is that Yerba Mate may actively aid weight loss beyond that of what caffeine does. A study showed that overweight participants given 3g of yerba mate a day lost 1.5 pounds (0.7kg) and reduced their belly fat by 2%!
Some people find the taste of pure yerba mate quite bitter. If you’re having it for the first time, try some flavored varieties to get used to the taste.
Healthy Breakfast Grocery List
Now that you know the ins and outs of what makes a good healthy breakfast, we present to you our free printable healthy breakfast shopping list. Feel free to add or remove anything on this list to make it your own.
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Breakfast Food List
Dairy, Fish, & Eggs
Dried fruit, Nuts, & Seeds
Fat & Oil
Are we missing anything off our breakfast list? Has yerba mate helped you lose weight? What’s your ultimate breakfast smoothie recipe? Let us know in the comments.