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What 16 Nutritionists Eat for Breakfast

author image Patricia Bannan, MS, RD
Patricia Bannan, MS, RD, is a freelance writer, frequent guest expert on news shows and author of "Eat Right When Time Is Tight." She is passionate about helping people reach their health and wellness goals.

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What 16 Nutritionists Eat for Breakfast
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Breakfast: The most important meal of the day. Or so the old adage goes. There is good research to support the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast -- benefits that span from physical (weight management and improved energy) to emotional (better mood) to mental (clearer thinking and memory retention). So what’s the best breakfast to eat to reap all these benefits? Sixteen of the nation’s top nutrition professionals share their morning meals and how they balance great taste with limited time and solid nutrition. The variety might surprise you!

1. VEGGIE JUMP-START: Open-Face Egg and Spinach Sandwich
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“One of the benefits of working from home is that I can take a little longer -- after my kids are out the door -- to prep a more substantial, filling breakfast that will carry me through a typical morning full of conference calls. My new favorite breakfast is an open-face egg and spinach sandwich. I simply scramble one egg plus one egg white with one cup of chopped frozen spinach and season it with a quarter-teaspoon of dried dill and a pinch of salt. I quick-cook this mixture in a small skillet and add two tablespoons of crumbled feta at the end. I spoon the combo over a piece of whole-grain toast and serve with a side of fruit. Eating it as an open-face sandwich makes me slow down while eating because I’m using a knife and fork, and using spinach is a great way to get a jump-start on veggies for the day.” --Regan Jones, RD, founding editor at

Related: 9 Muscle-Building Proteins That Won't Bust Your Budget

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“My typical morning breakfast is steel-cut oats with hemp seeds, walnuts and seasonal fruit. In the summer it’s berries or peaches; in the winter it can be apples or bananas. I like to add a bit of spice (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice), and I top this off with unsweetened, plain, organic soy milk. This satisfies me until lunchtime. Plus, it’s giving me a boost of omega-3s every day. I work out in the morning too, so that fuels my workout.” --Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, author of “The Plant-Powered Diet” and “Plant-Powered for Life”

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

3. WARM & COZY: Poached Eggs Shakshouka
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“With two toddlers, a calm breakfast is somewhat of a luxury these days. I fell in love with poached eggs shakshouka when I tried them at my local cafe. I go for this dish whenever I can take some time for a warm, cozy breakfast. Eggs are my go-to good-for-you comfort food. You get satisfying protein along with vitamins and minerals, including choline, an essential nutrient for brain and nervous system function. The shakshouka sauce is made with tomatoes, chili peppers, garlic and spices like cumin and paprika. While this is an easy dish to prepare, busy schedules may keep it off the regular weekday breakfast list. Make a batch of the sauce in advance. It can last a week or more in the refrigerator. Or measure out perfect portions to store in the freezer for even longer. Just reheat the sauce and then add the raw eggs and allow them to cook in the sauce for several minutes.” --Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, health and happiness expert and mom of two

Related: 9 Muscle-Building Proteins That Won't Bust Your Budget

4. EUROPEAN: English Muffin With Tomato, Cheese and Mayo
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“I am a bit European in my breakfast habits. I have coffee or tea with toasted English muffin adorned with a whole, sliced tomato and a bit of cheese and maybe a little mayonnaise. You can put it under the broiler if you want to melt the cheese. I like something savory for breakfast -- plus, it’s got protein from the cheese and a serving of produce with the sliced tomato. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, whole-grain English muffins provide the energy and B vitamins needed for a busy morning, the mayo adds healthy fat for satiety and the cheese contributes protein, calcium, other dairy nutrients and umami for happiness.” --Carolyn O’Neil, M.S., RDN, LD, author of “The Slim Down South Cookbook: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon”

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

5. NATURALLY SWEET: Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie Bowl
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“When I’m in the mood for something naturally sweet, I whip up a smoothie bowl filled with nutrient-rich ingredients and toppings. Smoothie bowls are thicker than smoothies, so you can eat them with a spoon, and they’re versatile. One of my favorite recipes -- Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie Bowl -- is rich in protein, thanks to the soy milk, yogurt and peanut butter in the bowl and the chopped peanuts and chia seeds on top. To prepare it, all you need is a blender, a bowl and a little creativity. But watch your portion size or the calories can add up very quickly. I aim for about a cup in the bowl and then nutritious ingredients on top.” --Liz Weiss, M.S., RD, co-host of Cooking With the Moms, a radio podcast for busy families

Related: 9 Muscle-Building Proteins That Won't Bust Your Budget

6. KID-FRIENDLY: Whole-Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Pancakes
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“Breakfast is the meal where I sit down together with my kids. As such, I rotate the dishes between my Whole-Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Mama’s Berry Smoothies, easy-over eggs on whole-grain toast and fresh fruit, oatmeal with bananas and raisins and whole-grain cereal and milk. The pancakes are made with whole-grain pastry flour, bananas and Greek yogurt, which helps cut out a lot of the fat you may find in traditional buttermilk pancakes. Any of the choices are easy to make on a weekday, and all three of my kids enjoy each one. My kids are also at an age that they can help set the table, make the pancake batter or pour the milk and cereal, making breakfast time even quicker. I am also able to spend some quality time in the morning with my little ones, which I love before heading to work.” --Toby Amidor, M.S., RD, CDN, nutrition expert and author of “The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day”

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

7. SAVORY: Oatmeal With Vegetables, Herbs and Goat Cheese
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I don’t have a typical breakfast at all. But if I’m in the mood for something comforting and quick, I often make savory oatmeal. It only takes minutes, and it’s a cool way to get vegetables in the morning. It’s kind of like eating a breakfast version of risotto -- made with oats instead of Arborio rice! Plus, it’s a delicious and versatile way to enjoy last night’s leftover veggies. It’s plant-based and provides a good source of protein, whole grains and produce -- which I try to get at every breakfast to kick-start my day in a nutrient-rich, balanced and filling way. To prepare it, simply make old-fashioned oats with water or veggie broth; add vegetables, herbs and seasoning of choice; and top with one or two eggs fried in a drizzle of olive oil (or just top with goat cheese)!” --Jackie Newgent, chef, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition”

Related: 9 Muscle-Building Proteins That Won't Bust Your Budget

8. LONG-LASTING ENERGY: Egg White and Spinach Omelet
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“On the weekends (and some weekdays if I do a heavy workout) I go for an egg white omelet (using a microwave omelet maker!) with spinach, liquid egg whites and blue cheese, with fruit and a whole-grain English muffin on the side. I love how spinach and eggs fill me up for a longer period of time, and I love the crunch of the English muffin (I usually eat it plain and pile eggs on top to avoid needing to use butter or another topping). Nutritionally, eggs give that lasting protein energy to provide more satiety [a feeling of fullness]. Spinach is full of antioxidants and important nutrients like iron and zinc.” --Tara Collingwood, M.S., RDN, CSSD, co-author of “Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies”

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

9. WHOLE-GRAIN CEREAL: Spicy Amaranth With Berries
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“On mornings when I have a little more time to spare, I’ll cook some kind of whole-grain cereal. Lately, my favorite is amaranth, which is technically a seed, but it cooks and tastes just like a grain. I love it because it’s packed with filling nutrients like protein and fiber, and it’s got calcium too, which is a nice little bonus. Just one-third of a dry cup packs nine grams of protein, four grams of fiber and 10 percent of your daily dose of calcium. I’ll cook it in one cup of milk for even more protein and creaminess and add a pinch of cardamom or pumpkin pie spice for extra flavor. When it’s done I’ll stir in one cup of berries for antioxidants, sweetness and even more fiber.” --Karen Ansel, M.S., RDN, co-author of “The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life”

Related: 9 Muscle-Building Proteins That Won't Bust Your Budget

10. MAKE-AHEAD: Banana-Pecan Pancakes
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“For breakfast I eat banana-pecan pancakes. I usually make these on the weekends and then freeze them to eat during the week. These pancakes are delicious, simple to make and offer a lot of quality food ingredients. They are high in protein and good, quality carbohydrates, and they contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and are loaded with antioxidants. The pancakes are a combination of oats, egg whites, cottage cheese, baking powder, vanilla and cinnamon. I make about 10 pancakes for the week. I use maple syrup, peanut butter or just sliced fruit on the pancakes. Since they are naturally sweet, you do not have to add sugar [syrup] to them.” --Jim White RD, ACSM EP, owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

11. QUICK & EASY: Cottage Cheese With Cinnamon, Fruit and Nuts
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“I usually have a bowl of cottage cheese (about one cup), a dash of cinnamon, an orange and a handful of nuts. It tastes great, it’s filling and it’s quick.” Nutritionally, it’s a solid “dose” of protein from the cottage cheese and nuts (and most studies show we’re lacking protein in the morning). The combination also provides fiber, vitamins and minerals and a little flavor boost (and antioxidants) from the cinnamon. The “secret” is getting it all together the night before. Even though it’s an easy meal, between getting the kids out the door for school and getting whatever else we need to take care of taken care of, this breakfast is perfect.” --Chris Mohr, Ph.D., RD of

Related: 22 Delicious Protein Powder Recipes (That Are NOT Shakes)

12. ON THE ROAD: Oatmeal With a Fried Egg on Top
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“I am a die-hard oatmeal lover. I eat it practically every morning -- even when I travel. When away from home I usually order it with a single fried egg on top. The fiber in the oats and the protein and fat from the egg help to keep me full until lunchtime. Actually, newly published research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that a hearty bowl of instant oatmeal helps curb food intake at lunch better than a leading oat-based, cold cereal -- even when each bowl provides the same number of calories. I also ask for a little cinnamon instead of sugar for a touch of sweetness. Honestly, though, sometimes the portion served is too large, and I do my best not to be a member of the clean-plate club. --Keri Gans, RDN, author of “The Small Change Diet”

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

13. EASY & EXCITING: Onion, Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Frittata
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“One of my favorite breakfasts is an onion, sweet potato and Swiss chard frittata. I make a large frittata on Sunday night so I can eat a piece throughout the week for both an easy and exciting breakfast. I love the combination of flavors. Sweet from the onions and sweet potato and bitter from the greens. Plus, I add a dash of mild chili powder to the egg mixture for a little kick. Nutritionally, protein at breakfast is particularly important, as it seems to blunt our hunger throughout the day. And it’s no secret that eating more veggies is one of the best things we can do for our health. I pair it with a bowl of berries or half a grapefruit and a cup of tea for a very satisfying weekday breakfast in no time at all.” --Rachel Begun, M.S., RDN, culinary nutritionist and special diets expert

Related: 22 Delicious Protein Powder Recipes (That Are NOT Shakes)

14. REHEAT: Oatmeal With Almond Butter and Chia Seeds
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“I enjoy a steamy bowl of oatmeal every morning, and when I wind up having a different way to start my day, I’m happy to have oatmeal for lunch! I like my oatmeal steamy with hot milk, a swirl of almond butter and chia seeds. If I have time I add chopped fresh apple and cinnamon. Oats are rich in soluble fiber that helps cut cholesterol and keep blood glucose levels stable. Aside from being a bowl rich in whole grains, the addition of the almond butter and chia seeds boosts the protein value to help keep you feeling fuller longer. Although I adore oatmeal, it doesn’t mean that I have the time to prepare it each day, so I cook up an amount that will last all week. I keep it in the fridge and just heat it up each morning.” --Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, owner of and author of “Read It Before You Eat It”

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

15. EAT AT WORK: Large White Peach, Almonds and Black Coffee
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“I am not a morning person, so breakfast has to be quick and easy. I always start my day with a full glass of water. After that, when I don’t have time for breakfast at home, I’ll slice up a large, crisp, white peach and take it to work, where I snack on the fruit for breakfast -- along with a handful of almonds for protein, calcium and healthy fat. And, of course, my morning cup of coffee. I like including nuts in breakfast (and snacks) along with fruit (or other carbs) because it helps mediate the blood sugar response for even, sustained energy that keeps me satisfied until lunch. --Maggie Moon, M.S., RDN, author of “The Elimination Diet Workbook: A Personal Approach to Determining Your Food Allergies”

Related: 22 Delicious Protein Powder Recipes (That Are NOT Shakes)

16. A BIT OF A TREAT: Banana With Peanut Butter and Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
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A few days a week I have a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a low-fat chocolate milk. It’s quick and easy to prepare and tastes delicious. One medium banana provides an excellent source of vitamin B-6 and a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese. The peanut butter provides fat, sure, but most of it is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. It also provides a good dose of protein and some fiber. The chocolate milk is, admittedly, a bit of a treat, but it gives me a hearty dose of calcium and high-quality protein as well as vitamin D, potassium, riboflavin and other important nutrients. This breakfast helps me work toward meeting my daily quota for fruit. It also helps me work toward meeting my daily dairy quota in a delicious way. Sometimes I have the chocolate milk after breakfast and after my morning workout to get the recovery benefits.” --Elisa Zied, M.S., RDN, CDN, author of “Younger Next Week”

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

What Do YOU Think?
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What’s your typical breakfast? Would you be inclined to try any of the breakfast ideas in this article? Leave a comment below and let us know. Share your experience on how certain foods or lifestyle changes have helped you live better, and maybe your knowledge will help others!

Related: 6 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night

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