Which Breakfast Foods Are Best For You?

Get the most out of your breakfast by choosing the best foods to fuel your day.

Breakfast Foods, woman eating breakfastPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

Find out which foods are right for you

Once you’ve determined your breakfast personality, it’s time to plan meals that will give you the energy you need to be your best throughout the day.

Breakfast food tips for the busy multi-tasker

For the go-go-go morning rushers, protein, fruit and fibre should be their mantra. (Check out this 5-minute breakfast: Almond, Date and Espresso Shake.)

Make hard-boiled eggs on the weekend and stash them in the fridge for busy weekday mornings; eat one with a handful of baby carrots.

Not keen on eggs? “Try cottage cheese with berries, an apple with almond butter, or a low-sugar granola bar (look for a 100-150 calorie bar with less than 6 grams of sugar),” Bamford suggests. She also recommends supplementing these mini-meals with a mid-morning snack.

Or try one of these portable brekkies during your commute:

Breakfast #1:

• 50-75 grams of reduced fat cheese such as cheddar, Brie or havarti with 20 percent milk fat, or two skim-milk mozzarella cheese strings

• An apple or pear

• One slice of whole grain toast, or half a whole grain bagel (optional, if you’re still hungry)

• Tea or coffee

Breakfast #2:

• A natural protein bar with at least 15 grams of protein

• Fruit

• Tea or coffee with steamed low-fat dairy or soy milk, or a glass of milk

Breakfast food tips for the slow starter

“For a sedentary lifestyle, just the essential carbs are needed: a little fruit and one serving of grains to go along with a protein-rich food,” says Mary Bamford, a Toronto-based registered dietitian, explaining that the protein will help maintain your muscles. Speaking of sitting, here’s the real reason why it is hazardous for women’s health.

Avoid extraneous fat, refined sugar and extra calories to minimize weight gain.

If you have time to cook, treat yourself to a vegetarian omelet made with one whole egg plus two egg whites, plenty of fresh, diced veggies such as onions, mushrooms, green pepper, and spinach. Serve with whole-grain toast and fresh tomato slices.

Or try packing these options:

Breakfast #1:

Greek Yogurt Parfait:
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp maple syrup or honey (optional)
½ to 1 cup of berries
2 to 3 tbsp rolled oats or 20-30 grams of whole grain cereal
2 tbsp unsalted nuts or seeds
Cinnamon, nutmeg (optional)

With this breakfast, you’ll need a midmorning snack such as a boiled egg, says Bamford.

Breakfast #2:

• 3/4 to 1 cup of cottage cheese with one or two percent milk fat

• 1/2 to 1 cup sliced fruit

• 1 slice whole grain toast with 1 tbsp natural nut butter (peanut, almond, sesame, or cashew)

• Coffee or tea

Breakfast food tips for the morning athlete

You may not feel much like eating before you head out for a vigorous early-morning workout (don’t forget to check out the best workout for your age), but should you force down some food to help maintain your stamina?

That depends on your activity level, Bamford says. If you’re training hard five or more mornings per week — especially in preparation for a marathon or triathlon — you’ll definitely need to gulp down some pre-workout carbs.

Easy-to-digest choices include chocolate milk, regular milk, applesauce, yogurt, banana, or even a sports drink. “If this is hard, a bedtime snack with low-glycemic carbs, like oatmeal and milk, is almost as good,” she suggests.

If you workout moderately, three or four mornings per week, feel free to exercise on an empty stomach. “If you find during your workout that you’re running out of steam, you would benefit from some fruit, milk or yogurt — even a coffee with at least 1/2 a cup of steamed milk (soy or dairy),” says Bamford.

After a particularly vigorous workout, restore depleted glycogen with extra carbs by drizzling yogurt with honey or maple syrup and toss in a handful of berries, or eat some extra toast with nut butter and an apple or banana slices.

Next, learn about exactly how to fuel your workout with this handy meal guide.