Are you in a breakfast rut? If you're tired of eating the same cold cereal, oatmeal or toast every morning, then it's time to get a little adventurous. Banish breakfast boredom by upgrading your morning meal with these nine delicious and simple swaps.
1. If You Like Scrambled Eggs … Try Egg Waffles
One day, Lindsay Livingston, RD, blogger at The Lean Green Bean, poured scrambled eggs into a wafflemaker instead of a skillet, creating a quick-cooking, healthy breakfast. Get creative by "adding your favorite mix-ins like an omelet" (think chopped peppers, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and cheese), she offers. Eggs are a healthy breakfast for people trying to lose weight -- a 2008 study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating two eggs for breakfast as part of an eight-week reduced-calorie diet helped overweight adults lose 65 percent more weight and feel more energetic than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories. The mix of high-quality protein and fat in the eggs helps you feel satisfied, so make sure to eat the yolks, not just the whites (nearly half of an egg's protein is in the yolk).
Related: Full recipe: Egg Waffles
2. If You Like Smoothies … Try a Smoothie Bowl
Bye-bye straw, hello spoon. Make a thicker smoothie, pour it into a bowl and add your favorite healthy toppers, says Brittany Mullins, health coach and blogger at Eating Bird Food. Get creative and top your bowl with a combination of shredded unsweetened coconut, fresh fruit, seeds, cacao, nuts, nut butter, dried berries or low-sugar granola. On the health side, since smoothie bowls are only semi-liquid, you need to chew them. Chewing can help you slow down and eat more mindfully, giving your stomach time to feel full. Mullins' gorgeous bowl "is loaded with nutrients from the fruit, has protein powder for an added boost of protein and nut butter and chia seeds for some healthy fat," she says.
Related: Full recipe: Smoothie Bowl
3. If You Like Pancakes … Try Cottage Cheese Protein Pancakes
Traditionally, pancakes are made with a delicious combination of refined grains, sugar, eggs and high-fat dairy. But if you feel like your diet is a little too heavy on the flapjacks, consider these outside-the-box protein pancakes, which retain the fun factor but are also a totally acceptable way to eat pancakes on a Tuesday morning. If you want to jazz them up, spread nut butter or fruit preserves on top, pile on the fresh fruit or lightly drizzle maple syrup for sweetness. With only four ingredients, a bowl and a spoon, you get a filling combination of fiber and protein as well as calcium to keep your bones strong (and to help absorb the bone-boosting vitamin D found in the egg yolk) and lutein, a nutrient in eggs that promotes eye health.
4. If You Like Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches…Try Egg Burritos
Frozen factory-made breakfast sandwiches take the long road from farm to table; and you can taste it. In 2014, Consumer Reports tried 16 supermarket varieties and found that many had a weird texture, old-meat flavor (ewww!) and low-quality ingredients; only two of them received a rating of "very good" for taste, but they were also high in saturated fat and sodium. If you love the convenience of breakfast sandwiches, make and freeze your own egg burritos. Sonali Ruder, aka The Foodie Physician, makes six burritos at a time and throws them in the freezer. They take just two minutes to reheat in the morning. "My breakfast burritos contain a good mix of whole grains, protein, nutrient-packed veggies and fiber to kick-start your metabolism and increase your concentration and productivity all morning," says Ruder.
Related: Full recipe: Egg Burritos
5. If You Like Cold Cereal…Try Overnight Oats
You can make breakfast in your sleep (and not just accidentally while sleepwalking). By soaking rolled oats with milk, yogurt or a combination of the two, you'll wake up to a creamy, cold breakfast that you can eat straight out of the jar. It's easy to customize your recipe with mix-ins or toppings like chia seeds, fruit, nuts, nut butter, spices and natural sweeteners. Serena Wolf, author of the blog Domesticate ME!, uses almond milk, warming spices, creamy mashed banana and rich peanut butter to create her vegan Peanut Butter and Banana Overnight Oats. Wolf says, "The protein and fiber in these easy overnight oats guarantee you'll stay full and energized for hours!"
Related: Full recipe: Overnight Oats
6. If You Like a Bagel…Try an Avocado and Tomato English Muffin
While bagels and cream cheese make an amazing couple, they don't pack any staying power to fuel your day. In other words, it's an empty-calorie breakfast (high in calories, but low in nutrients). When you replace the cream cheese with mashed avocado and substitute a whole-grain English muffin for the bagel, you've got a delicious, nutrient-dense breakfast (low in calories for the amount of nutrients you get). Even though they have the same amount of calories per tablespoon, avocados are better for your heart and blood pressure because they're lower in saturated fat and contain fiber and potassium.
7. If You Like Oatmeal … Try Millet Porridge
Millet, an ancient gluten-free grain, isn't just for bird food. More than 10,000 years ago it served as Asia's staple grain before rice, and it appears to be back on trend. Millet is high in disease-fighting antioxidants and magnesium, which may help prevent and manage high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. You're likely not getting enough magnesium in your diet, according to a 2010 study in Nutrition Reviews that found 60 percent of Americans are deficient. If you're bored of oatmeal, mix it up with hot millet porridge. "Millet cooks up thick and creamy, making it the ultimate comfort food for breakfast," says Rachel Begun, M.S., RDN, nutritionist and natural chef. Her recipe includes figs, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, which "add flavor and texture as well as amp up the nutrition ante by adding more fiber, antioxidants, protein and heart-healthy fats."
Related: Full recipe: Millet Porridge
8. If You Like Store-Bought Granola Bars … Try Homemade Whole-Food Bars
Caramel color. Corn syrup solids. Invert sugar: These are all ingredients in store-bought granola bars. Even healthy brands often list added sugar as the second ingredient. If you're trying to cut down on artificial additives and added sugars in your diet, then make your own bars and choose your own ingredients. Allergic to nuts? Use sunflower seed butter. Hate cashews? Use almonds. You can easily adapt them to your dietary needs and tastes. Jen DeCurtins, certified personal trainer and creator of the healthy living blog Peanut Butter Runner, created a recipe that takes less than five minutes: "These homemade granola bars are a healthy and simple alternative to store-bought. The short ingredient list is packed with good stuff like oats, nuts, seeds, spices and dried fruit."
9. If You Like Toast … Try Whole-Grain Waffles
Aren't waffles some kind of decadent weekend brunch food? Not when they're frozen whole-grain waffles with at least three grams of fiber per serving. They are the perfect warm-and-toasty vehicle for toppings like blueberries, nut butter, cottage cheese or Greek yogurt that can sneak into all the nooks and crannies. Try topping your waffles with nut or seed butter and sliced fresh fruit. Or boost the protein by adding Greek yogurt with fruit preserves.
Related: Full recipe: Whole-Grain Waffles
What Do YOU Think?
Are you in a breakfast rut? Which of these recipes are you most excited about? Do you feel better when you've had a healthy breakfast?