If you're a chronic snooze-hitter and find yourself strapped for time in the morning, a healthy breakfast may be low on your list of priorities. Hey, we get it. But stopping for a bagel or grabbing a quick protein bar might not be your best bet.
After all, highly processed foods can leave you feeling sluggish and may even trigger inflammation, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests.
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Before you grab and go, consider one of these breakfast recipes to pack your busy mornings with more nutrition. Not only will these options load up your meal with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats, but they might also help keep inflammation at bay.
1. Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast
If you like a protein-rich breakfast, add some smoked salmon to your avocado toast with this recipe. Not only can smoked salmon give your breakfast a decadent twist, but it's also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for fighting inflammation, Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, says.
If you're not already sold on the many health benefits of avocado, you may be surprised to learn that the fruit (yes, it's a fruit) is loaded with healthy unsaturated fat, which helps fight inflammation in the body, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Get the Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Chia Pudding
If your usual breakfast involves a sugar-laden flavored yogurt, this chia pudding recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing some inflammation-fighting benefits.
Chia seeds are a great plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep inflammation down, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Not to mention, these little seeds are full of fiber, which is slow to digest and will help keep you full throughout the morning.
Free of refined sugar, this pudding is topped with a cup of blueberries as its sweetening agent. The small but mighty fruit is also rich in natural antioxidants and polyphenols (protective compounds in plants), known for helping reduce inflammation, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Get the Chia Pudding recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Hemp Hearts and Coconut Breakfast Bar
Healthy unsaturated fats are a key staple in an anti-inflammatory diet, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The nuts, seeds and coconuts in this grab-and-go breakfast bar are an excellent source of healthy, anti-inflammatory fats — not to mention it's a good source of protein with 8 grams per serving.
While you'll want to generally avoid refined sugar on an anti-inflammatory diet, this breakfast bar provides only 6 grams of sugar from organic maple syrup.
So, if a sugar-packed protein bar is your usual go-to quick breakfast, this is a great alternative. Although you'll need to prep this recipe the night before, you'll be able to grab these bars on the go all week.
Get the Hemp Hearts and Coconut Bar recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Masala Omelet
A good breakfast omelet can make any morning better. Taub-Dix recommends stuffing yours with plenty of produce to start your day off with a nutrient-rich, inflammation-fighting meal. While this omelet recipe already calls for tomatoes and shallots, you can add leafy greens like spinach or arugula for some bonus nutrients.
Turmeric, a spice used in Ayurvedic medicine, is often used as a supplement to fight inflammation, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. This zesty spice will give your omelet a unique flavor while keeping inflammation at bay.
Get the Masala Omelet recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Chocolate Nutter Butter Smoothie
While some dairy products may not be the best for fighting inflammation, this smoothie is made with kefir, a fermented, probiotic-rich dairy product. Kefir is also rich in protein, which will give your smoothie a little more bulk.
The pecans in this recipe will give your smoothie a dose of healthy fats, while the spinach, like other green veggies, provides plenty of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, Taub-Dix says.
Get the Chocolate Nutter Butter Smoothie recipe and nutrition info here.
6. California Breakfast Salad
Eating salad for breakfast is one often overlooked way to boost your veggie intake, and they're packed with anti-inflammatory compounds. This salad, in particular, delivers healthy unsaturated fats with avocado and olive oil, phytochemicals and antioxidants with tomatoes and lutein and zeaxanthin with egg yolk.
Eating more leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale and Swiss chard has been shown to lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and brain deterioration, says Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD, author of Meals that Heal: 100+ Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less.
Get the California Breakfast Salad recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Granola Breakfast Protein Balls
Thanks to those flaxseeds (hi, omega-3s!), this 10-minute recipe is a slam dunk choice for quelling inflammation. Omega-3s may help ease inflammation, according to researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Even though sugar is an ingredient you want to limit, this recipe calls for only a ¼ cup of added sugar in the form of coconut nectar — that's 1 teaspoon per protein ball.
Get the Granola Breakfast Protein Balls recipe and nutrition info here.
8. Honey Berry Toast With Greek Yogurt and Blueberries
The anti-inflammatory power of this 5-minute breakfast comes from those little blue orbs. Blueberries (and other berries, too) are brimming with anti-inflammatory compounds like anthocyanins and ellagitannins.
But also, key nutrients in blueberries like potassium and vitamin C have antioxidant properties that help tamp down harmful inflammation, per a September 2016 study in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.
Get the Honey Berry Toast with Greek Yogurt and Blueberries recipe and nutrition info here.
9. Kale Scramble Breakfast Bowl
As a cruciferous vegetable, kale has some serious anti-inflammatory power, according to a November 2014 study in The Journal of Nutrition. In the study, adults who ate 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables a day (for two weeks) saw an improvement in some inflammatory markers — and more so than when they ate just 1 cup a day or no veggies at all.
Don't sweat that 2-cup recommendation: The 4 ounces of raw kale that this recipe calls for should equate to about 2 cups before you cook it. Now you can knock out that recommendation before 9 a.m.
Get the Kale Scramble Breakfast Bowl recipe and nutrition info here.
10. Steel-Cut Oatmeal Berry Breakfast Bake
Two different whole grains and two types of berries make this breakfast an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Remember, all berries contain anti-inflammatory compounds, such as anthocyanins and ellagitannins.
Whole grains — here, that's oats and quinoa — are full of antioxidants, phytic acid, vitamin E and selenium, all of which may help quell inflammation. Both grains also offer healthy doses of fiber, another nutrient that could help with inflammation, per a June 2021 study in Genome Medicine.
Get the Steel-Cut Oatmeal Berry Breakfast Bake recipe and nutrition info here.
11. Teff Breakfast Bowl
This breakfast bowl has a little bit of everything to perk up your morning: whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, a vegetable, and some probiotic-rich dairy. Each of these items has anti-inflammatory properties, but let's hone in on one in particular — pomegranate.
Like berries, pomegranates contain the compounds ellagitannins. Plus, pomegranate's antioxidant activity has been shown to be more potent than red wine or green tea, per March 2014 research in the journal Advanced Biomedical Research.
Get the Teff Breakfast Bowl recipe and nutrition info here.
12. Smoked Salmon Breakfast Sandwich
Eating smoked salmon in the morning can help you get some omega-3s and vitamin D early in the day. Omega-3s, and particularly those that come from marine sources (which smoked salmon is), are incredibly helpful anti-inflammatory nutrients, per March 2010 research in the journal Nutrients.
EPA and DHA, the two omega-3s in salmon and other seafood, have the ability to tame inflammation flames and help create anti-inflammatory compounds.
Get the Smoked Salmon Breakfast Sandwich recipe and nutrition info here.
13. Banana Breakfast Bars
Made without any added sugars and simply the natural sweetness of bananas and dates, these breakfast bars are a great way to enjoy a sweet baked good with your coffee or tea.
Better yet, they're filled with ingredients that are known to help quell inflammation: flaxseeds, oats and fruits.
Get the Banana Breakfast Bars recipe and nutrition info here.
14. Apple Rounds with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
Between the apples and pistachios, this 5-minute breakfast is full of anti-inflammatory goodness. "Pistachios provide several healthy nutrients including B-vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and selenium," says Chris Mohr, PhD, RD of MohrResults.com.
"Pistachios are a complete source of protein, which supports immune cells that help to eliminate damaged cells, bacteria and viruses. They are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for inflammation."
In fact, replacing some of the saturated fat in your diet with unsaturated fat has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, according to a November 2016 study in BMJ. And chronic inflammation can play a role in spurring heart disease.
Get the Apple Rounds with Goat Cheese and Pistachios recipe and nutrition info here.
15. Waffles With Feta and Smoked Salmon
This recipe is a more fun version of smoked salmon toast or an open-faced bagel. It's also a nice way to shake up your usual routine. For a little more anti-inflammatory umph, swap out some (not all) of the all-purpose flour for any whole grain flour, such as oat flour or white whole-wheat flour.
Pair these waffles with lightly-dressed greens or a bowl of your favorite fruit to round out the meal.
Get the Waffles With Feta and Smoked Salmon recipe and nutrition info here.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "What Is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Foods That Fight Inflammation"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Turmeric"
- Mayo Clinic: "What Is Kefir?"
- Procedia Food Science: "New Measured Weight for One Cup Raw Kale Reduces Nutrient Intake of Individuals Following the Wahls™ Diet"
- AJCN: "Plausible mechanisms for the protectiveness of whole grains"
- Oxid Med Cell Longev: "Dietary Phytochemicals: Natural Swords Combating Inflammation and Oxidation-Mediated Degenerative Diseases"
- J Nutr: "Cruciferous Vegetables Have Variable Effects on Biomarkers of Systemic Inflammation in a Randomized Controlled Trial in Healthy Young Adults"
- Adv Biomed Res: "Potent health effects of pomegranate"
- Nutrients: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes"
- BMJ: "Intake of individual saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: two prospective longitudinal cohort studies"