Healthy Breakfast Ideas and Recipes

What's the secret to a better breakfast?

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

It's better for your health (and your weight) to eat breakfast than to skip it. And it's definitely better to eat a healthy breakfast, high in fibers and nutrients, than one full of refined grains, sugar, salt, and/or saturated fat. But what if you're fresh out of healthy breakfast ideas?

One quick tip I use to keep my breakfast balanced is to "strive for five." That means I try to include at least 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in every breakfast.

Many people go wrong by eating a breakfast made up mostly of refined carbohydrates with very little fiber and protein -- like a refined-flour bagel, a muffin made with sugar and white flour, or a sugary low-fiber breakfast cereal. Balancing carbohydrates (preferably from whole grains, fruit and vegetables) with some protein and a little healthier fat will do a better job of staving off hunger until lunch and fueling your entire morning's activities.

To help you get there, here are some tips for making sure your breakfast is a well-balanced one, as well as some quick and healthy breakfast ideas and recipes.

A Healthy Breakfast Has at Least 5 Grams of Protein

Low-fat or nonfat dairy products can add protein to your breakfast, as can egg whites or egg substitute (egg yolk doesn't contribute protein); lean breakfast meats like Canadian bacon, extra-lean ham, turkey bacon, or light turkey sausage; and soy milk and other soy products. Here's how much protein you get from some typical breakfast foods:

Breakfast Protein Sources Protein
(g)
Calories Fat
(g)
Saturated
Fat (g)
Carbs
(g)
Skim milk, 1 cup 10 100 0 0 14
Low-fat yogurt, vanilla, 1 cup 9.3 253 4.6 2.6 42
Low-fat cottage cheese, 1 cup 28 160 2 1 6
Reduced-fat cheese, 1 ounce 8 70 4 2.5 1
Egg whites, 2 7 33 0 0 1
Egg substitute, 1/4 cup 6 30 0 0 1
Soy milk, low-fat, 1 cup 4 90 1.5 0 14
Soy-based sausage, 2 ounces 12 119 4.5 0.7 6
Tofu, extra firm lite, 2 ounces 5 43 1.4 0 2.2
Canadian bacon, 2 ounces 12 89 3.9 1.2 1
Extra lean ham, 2 ounces 11 61 1.5 0.4 0.4
Turkey bacon, 2 strips 4 70 6 2 <1
Light turkey sausage, 2 ounces 9 130 10 2.2 1
Peanut butter, natural, 1 tbsp 3.5 100 8 1 3.5
Light cream cheese, 1 ounce 3 53 4 2.7 1.8
Lox (smoked salmon), 1 ounce 5.2 33 1.2 0.2 0