If you're wondering how to put a little more pep in your day, consider what you're eating for breakfast. The best breakfast for energy contains whole, unprocessed foods that fill you up, boost your brainpower and support physical function.
Best Breakfast for Energy
The first meal of the day is important, but not any food will do. Eating a poor quality breakfast can be worse for your health than skipping this meal altogether, according to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in August 2018.
You should pay attention to what you eat first thing in the morning. This means you shouldn't head to the closest drive-through and pick up a meal full of refined carbs and saturated fat. Skip the muffins, doughnuts and bagels, too. These products tend to be low in fiber and high in sugar, leading to blood sugar spikes.
Read more: 10 Myths About Grains — Totally Busted!
Your best energy foods for breakfast include whole grains, quality protein, healthy unsaturated fats and fresh produce. What you eat affects your mental performance and physical health. When you choose the right foods for breakfast, you're more likely to slay your workout, master your work presentation or ace your exam at school.
What to Eat for Breakfast
Oatmeal is ideal for an energizing breakfast as it's minimally processed. Whole grains, which also include oat bran, whole wheat and quinoa, are rich in fiber and may help prevent blood sugar spikes followed by crashes, points out Harvard Medical School. They recommend choosing grains with 5 or more grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
For a twist on oatmeal that offers variety from a standard bowl, try this LIVESTRONG.com recipe for Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal. The taste is delicious!
Protein is also important when you're looking for the best breakfast for energy. Processed meats, such as bacon and ham, do contain some protein but they're high in saturated fats and sodium.
Instead, opt for eggs, which offer 7 grams of protein, according to the USDA. Although each egg boasts 5 grams of fat and 210 milligrams per egg, it won't raise your risk of heart disease, according to Harvard Medical School.
A study published in Nutrients in February 2017 has found that people who had two eggs per breakfast per day for four weeks did not experience any changes in their cholesterol ratios, liver enzymes or triglyceride levels — the biomarkers for heart disease — compared with those who consumed oatmeal for breakfast.
Subjects also reported high levels of satiety following an egg breakfast. When your breakfast is satisfying, you don't have to worry about hunger pangs distracting you or dragging your energy and focus down.
Other good sources of protein are yogurt, nuts and salmon. Cashews, pistachios, almonds and fatty fish are good sources of unsaturated fat that support brain and heart health.
Quick High-Energy Breakfast Ideas
Did you wake up late or have lots of chores to complete in the morning? Some days, you just don't have the time to whip up scrambled eggs or cook up a bowl of oatmeal, but you can make a high-energy breakfast on the go.
Craving a yogurt parfait? Combine whole grains and protein by adding a serving of granola or other whole-grain cereal to a container of Greek yogurt.
A breakfast smoothie can be a healthy choice too. Mix frozen fruits, yogurt and tofu or protein powder in a blender and pour into a glass to take on the go.
Another option is to hard boil a half dozen eggs at the beginning of the week and grab two with a banana on your way out the door. Or you can slather peanut butter on two slices of whole-grain toast and add an apple for a quick, satisfying on-the-go meal.
Need some inspiration? Try this Tropical Parfait from LIVESTRONG.com! A single serving boasts 23 grams of quality protein and 10 grams of fiber. It's the perfect combo for an energizing breakfast.
- Harvard Medical School: "4 Ways to Boost Your Energy Naturally With Breakfast"
- International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: "Eat or Skip Breakfast? The Important Role of Breakfast Quality for Health-Related Quality of Life, Stress and Depression in Spanish Adolescents"
- Nutrients: "Consuming Two Eggs per Day, as Compared to an Oatmeal Breakfast, Decreases Plasma Ghrelin while Maintaining the LDL/HDL Ratio"
- USDA Food Data Central: "Eggs"