It’s no wonder cereal is the most popular breakfast in the United States. It’s been around since World War II when General Mills hit the market, and there are over 4,945 types of cereals out there as of 2012. The issue with cereal, however, is the amount of sugar and lack of fiber in one serving. It’s rare to find a cereal with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving and over one gram of dietary fiber, making your go-to breakfast almost as bad as eating a candy bar. Here are seven breakfasts that you should be eating instead of cereal that are much healthier and will keep you full until lunch.
Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat. Oats are whole-grain, which is a complex carbohydrate and one of the best things to eat to start your day. Whole-grains also contain good amounts of fiber, keeping you full until your next meal. Pick the unsweetened oatmeals for no added sugars because flavored instant oatmeals can have as much as 14 grams of added sugars. If you’re one of those people who needs their oatmeal sweetened, try adding a banana. Top your oatmeal with berries, peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a delicious first meal of the day.
2. Protein smoothie
Unlike smoothies from Jamba Juice and Smoothie King that contain over 50 grams of sugar, homemade smoothies can be very healthy. Use a banana and frozen fruit as a natural sweetener and thickener, a scoop of whey protein powder to keep you full and make your breakfast more nutritionally dense, and a final splash of almond milk. Avoid using any juice in your smoothies to keep the sugar content to a minimum.
#SpoonTip: Fruit juice is actually extremely high in sugar and low in fiber. Drinking one 12 oz. glass of orange juice is like eating four whole oranges, which adds up to a whopping 9 teaspoons of sugar.
3. Avocado toast with a poached egg
In the last couple of years, avocado toast has become extremely popular, and there’s definitely a reason for this. Avocado is a great source of monounsaturated fats, which reduce belly fat, aid in heart health and lower LDL cholesterol. Use whole-grain toast as a source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, and a poached egg for added protein. If you’re into spicy foods, avocado toast pairs perfectly with Cholula or Tabasco hot sauce.
4. Scrambled eggs
Eggs are a breakfast staple — who doesn’t love a good scrambled or hardboiled egg? Egg yolks have gained a bad rep in the news, but fortunately for all those sunny side-up lovers, egg yolks are surprisingly good for you. They contain all of the vitamin D, folate and iron found in the egg. Together, egg yolks and egg whites are a great source of vitamins, minerals, protein and fat. Eggs will give you the energy and protein to power through your morning workout and keep you satisfied the entire time. Pair your eggs with whole wheat toast and a side a fruit for added fiber.
5. Breakfast sandwich
A breakfast sandwich (aka a homemade McMuffin) has been one of my favorite breakfasts since I was a kid. To make a delicious breakfast sandwich, place one scrambled egg, one turkey-sausage patty and a few slices of avocado (you can sub cheddar cheese) inside a whole-grain English muffin. The egg provides folate and iron, the turkey-sausage patty gives you plenty of protein without the saturated fat that an actual sausage patty has, the avocado provides monounsaturated fats and the English muffin gives you fiber. A homemade egg McMuffin is truly the PERFECT recipe for a satisfying meal.
6. Acai bowl
Just like smoothies, acai bowls can be a great source of fiber, protein and natural sugars. Unlike smoothies, however, acai bowls give you the chance to add healthy toppings. Flax seeds are a popular choice, providing fiber, omega-3 fatty acids for heart health and lignans. Nut butter is another popular topping — not only is nut butter good for you, but it’s also delicious. Seriously, who doesn’t love peanut or almond butter? You can also top your acai bowl with coconut flakes, which provide 16% of your daily need of fiber.
7. Protein pancakes
Yes, you read that right — pancakes are healthier than cereal. Well, at least protein pancakes are, and they’re surprisingly easy to make. The main ingredients in protein pancakes are bananas, eggs and protein powder. There are a lot of different ways to make these nutritious pancakes; find them here and enjoy your favorite childhood breakfast with the nutritional density to keep you going all day.