How to Build a Healthier Breakfast

How to Build a Healthier Breakfast

Publish Date July 15, 2023 3 Minute Read
Author Kroger Health Registered Dietitians

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do you know why? The word “breakfast” originates from Middle English, which literally means to “break” the “fast” from your night’s sleep and your previous meal the day before. Just as rain and sunlight fuel flowers to grow, food fuels your body to “go.” When we wake up in the morning, our bodies need nutrients to tackle the day ahead. What kind of nutrients are best to include for breakfast? And, more importantly, how can you make breakfast time an easy routine each morning?

Important Nutrients for a Sustainable Breakfast

When building your plate for breakfast (or any meal of the day), try to keep the MyPlate template in mind: ¼ of your plate including protein-rich foods, ½ fruit and vegetables, ¼ whole grains, and 1 serving of dairy. If you are dairy free, try incorporating a different source of vitamin D, calcium, and/or fermented food, such as a fortified soy product. Select one food from at least three different groups to give yourself a good mix of protein, fiber and color for essential nutrients.

A well-balanced breakfast typically includes fruits and vegetables, whole (unprocessed) grains, and healthy proteins and fats. Grabbing on-the-go convenience foods that are higher in sugar and refined carbohydrates, such as donuts or muffins, might satisfy your hunger temporarily, but they won’t provide the long-lasting energy you need to take on the day. By choosing a more nourishing morning meal, you’ll have sustained energy levels until lunch, helping you ace that test, complete that report, run that extra mile, or accomplish whatever else is on your list—without feeling like you are dragging along and needing a caffeine boost, again, all before noon.

Breakfast Ideas

Building a sustainable breakfast every morning can be easy once you get into a rhythm. Remember, you are aiming for fiber, protein, and color. Try keeping a few of these ingredient pairings with a satiating trifecta on hand for simple, go-to options:

  • Greek yogurt (protein) + raspberries (fiber/color) + whole grain cereal (fiber)
  • Protein powder (protein) + frozen banana (fiber) + handful of spinach (color/fiber) (blended into a smoothie)
  • Egg (protein) + whole grain bagel thin (fiber) + apple (fiber/color)
  • Steel cut oats (fiber) + nut butter (protein) + strawberries (color)
  • String cheese (protein) + almonds (protein/fiber) + pear (fiber/color)
  • Whole grain toast (fiber) + nut butter (protein) + banana or strawberries (fiber/color)
  • Egg (protein) + sautéed vegetables (fiber/color) + avocado (fiber/color)

Start your morning with nourishing foods to give you the energy you need to tackle your day, and explore even more healthy living advice.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider

Easy, Healthier Breakfast Favorites

For more healthier breakfast ideas, explore these better-for-you breakfast recipes below.