Healthy breakfast: Quick, flexible options

These healthy out-of-the-box options will fuel you up without slowing you down.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

It might be the last thing on your morning to-do list, or worse, it might not be on your list at all. But a healthy breakfast refuels your body, jump-starts your day and may even benefit your overall health. So don't skip this meal — it may be more important than you think.

These quick and flexible options give you plenty of ways to put breakfast back on your daily menu.

The benefits of a healthy breakfast

Breakfast gives you a chance to start each day with a healthy and nutritious meal.

Adults who report regularly eating a healthy breakfast are more likely to:

  • Eat more vitamins and minerals
  • Control their weight
  • Eat less fat and cholesterol

Children who regularly eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:

  • Meet daily nutrient requirements
  • Be at a healthy body weight
  • Have better concentration and be more alert
  • Miss fewer days of school

The basics of a healthy breakfast

What exactly counts as a healthy breakfast? Here's what forms the core of a healthy breakfast:

  • Whole grains. Examples include whole-grain rolls, bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, crackers, and Melba toast.
  • Lean protein. Examples include peanut butter, lean meat, poultry or fish, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Low-fat dairy. Examples include milk, plain or lower sugar yogurts, and low-fat cheeses, such as cottage and natural cheeses.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Examples include fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice drinks without added sugar, and fruit and vegetable smoothies. Choose low-sodium versions of beverages, though.

Together, these food groups provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and a small amount of fat — a combination that packs health benefits and helps you feel full for hours.

Find options from these core groups that suit your tastes and preferences. And try to choose one or two options from each category to round out a healthy breakfast.

Apr. 08, 2014 See more In-depth