You’ve probably heard hundreds of times before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s safe to say that this statement has been definitively confirmed.
Breakfast is important because it “breaks” your overnight “fast.” The first foods you eat will replenish your blood sugar, providing you with energy and attentiveness, and should also give you a nice helping of nutrients like essential vitamins and minerals to help you feel your best throughout the day.
Despite being so important, only about 35 percent of Americans take the time to eat breakfast each day. The rest range from occasionally eating breakfast to never eating it.
The modern world moves very quickly, but no one should be too busy to make time for a quick breakfast. Skipping breakfast can leave you feeling tired, give you a headache, and make it harder to concentrate. Is all of that worth the extra half hour you saved by not eating?
The best part about breakfast is that you don’t need anything super extravagant to do it right. There’s no reason to cook a continental breakfast buffet of pancakes, bacon, cereal, and bagels. All you need is a quick snack recipe like those listed below to provide your brain and body with a few essential nutrients that can make a huge difference in how you feel through the rest of the day.
Something as simple as eating an apple can qualify as a decent breakfast, but that’s just a touch boring and will likely get old very fast.
With that, here is a list of eight ideas for a healthy morning snack. At least one of them should catch your eye and help you make breakfast a part of your daily routine. You might even go to bed eager to wake up in the morning to have another bite!
1. Protein Bars
Most people associate protein bars with working out. Eating protein is indeed a good way to replenish sore muscles after a workout, however protein bars can be eaten any time during the day — protein is essential to healthy living, and you don’t need a gym membership to justify eating protein bars.
One of the best things about eating a protein bar as a morning snack is that they’re extremely convenient. You don’t have to cook anything. You don’t have to carry any dishes around. You don’t have to worry about refrigeration. Just tear into the wrapper, start chomping away, and get ready to feel a little boost of energy. It’s easily the least work for any option on this list.
There are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind whenever you’re shopping around for a protein bar. Plenty of protein and granola bars are closer to candy bars than sources of nutrition. It’s probably not smart to start your day with a candy bar, so take a peek to ensure your protein bar doesn’t have a ton of added sugars and is actually made with nourishing ingredients.
It’s also worth it to look for protein bars that are more than just their protein. Specifically, protein bars should feature a high quality of protein (whey protein isolate or milk protein concentration), as well as other fueling ingredients like healthy fats, high fiber, and even vitamins and adaptogens.
If this sounds like it’ll be tough to find, the good news is you don’t have to go very far. Our protein bar recommendations are based exactly on our MOSH bar, which was specifically formulated to help keep your brain and body fit, fueled, and feeling good. On top of 12 to 13 grams of high-quality grass-fed whey protein, we include the adaptogens lion’s mane and ashwagandha, vitamins D and B12, and healthy fat in the form of omega-3s.
Our goal was to make a protein bar for your brain, which is why the MOSH bar is our choice for the best protein bar for your morning snack routine!
2. Greek Yogurt With Fruit
Dairy products are featured in many common breakfast choices because their calcium, protein, and B vitamins can help kickstart your day. It’s part of the reason cereals are almost exclusively eaten with a milk base instead of water. (Well, that and the fat content does a better job of preventing the cereal from getting soggy than plain water).
The issue with many dairy products is that they tend to feature an abundance of sugar, too.
Some of these sugars are natural and good for you, but too often, sugars are added to sweeten the flavor. That’s why substituting your regular dessert-flavored yogurt with Greek yogurt can be so beneficial. The sugar content of Greek yogurt is typically about half that of regular yogurt, which already has less sugar than milk.
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth early in the day, you can add some fruit to your Greek yogurt. Blueberries offer many health benefits, but you can add pretty much any fruit you’d like. Bonus points if you use Greek yogurt that is high in protein, too!
3. Oatmeal Muffins
Oatmeal is a very healthy breakfast item because oats are high in a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan provides various health benefits and can keep you feeling full until lunch.
As if that wasn’t enough, oats are also considered whole grains, making them wildly more nutritious than refined grains. Eating more oatmeal is an excellent way to quell hunger and improve your diet in general.
The biggest problem with oatmeal is that it can be time-consuming and inconvenient. You have to cook the oatmeal and use a few dishes and utensils. For that reason, you can get a little creative and bake your own oatmeal muffins.
Cinnamon is an excellent start for a healthy yet robust flavor note, but why stop there? Adding some fruit can give your oatmeal muffins a sweet kick, too (pumpkin pairs nicely with cinnamon). That said, try to avoid adding too many sweet treats, like chocolate chips or candied ginger.
You can even top off your muffins with some healthy nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts) or seeds (flax, chia, sunflower) to give them a satisfying crunch.
4. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Balls
Most of the items on this list are fairly common breakfast dishes. It’s time to switch it up and talk about one you don’t usually see at breakfast: peanut butter and chocolate energy balls.
The combination might sound like something you’d expect for a late-night dessert when you’re cheating on your diet, but these foods can be good for you in the right portions. Plus, these make for a perfect mid-morning snack.
Peanut butter is loaded with tons of essential nutrients, including iron, selenium, vitamin E, magnesium, and vitamin B6. You want to be mindful of peanut butter's saturated fat, though, so keep it to two tablespoons or less.
Chocolate can also be healthy for you (much to the delight of chocoholics worldwide). The key is that you will want to use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, as the added sugar content of the latter is usually off the charts.
Combining simple and complex carbohydrates can give you a tasty little boost of energy. You can also add some dried fruit or chopped nuts to give you an additional kick. Shaved coconut can alse be an especially healthy and delicious addition to your new favorite morning snack.
You can also swap peanut butter in these energy bites for other kinds of nut butter, like almond butter or cashew butter.
5. Hummus Vegetable Dip
You really don’t see too many vegetables on the breakfast menu. It’s a shame because vegetables are extremely healthy for you.
Adding a little Mediterranean hummus to the equation can go a long way. And although you may have heard that oils contain a lot of fat and calories, a drizzle of olive oil can provide healthy fats that help to support all-day energy.
Hummus is made from mashed-up chickpeas, which are completely loaded with essential nutrients, including protein, fiber, and choline. Even better is that you can get creative with hummus flavors. Curry powder is a popular option, but plenty of people prefer cumin, garlic, cayenne pepper, or even roasted dried tomatoes.
Carrots and celery are typically the most popular pairings with hummus, but feel free to expand your options for this nutritious snack. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower also give a nice crunch, as well as bell peppers and cucumbers.
6. Cottage Cheese With Fruit
Cottage cheese is an anomaly in the world of dairy products. Greek yogurt is widely considered to be the healthiest dairy food available. However, cottage cheese can offer roughly the same amounts of calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and B vitamins as Greek yogurt.
The difference is that the same amount of cottage cheese provides about 30 percent more protein than Greek yogurt and is low-fat. So if you’re looking for a good source of protein, cottage cheese is deserving at the top of your list.
Eating a spoonful of cottage cheese each morning may not sound too appealing. For that reason, consider adding some fruit to it — peaches (fresh or even canned) with cottage cheese truly is a one-of-a-kind combo. You almost can’t go wrong when adding fruit, as practically all of them provide a long list of health benefits.
Note: That “almost” comes with canned fruit, which while not horrible, can include added sugars in the syrup, so opt for no sugar added if you go this route.
If you’re looking for some ideas for this high-protein snack, you can start with tropical fruit. It’s not every day that you’ll encounter papaya, guava, or dragon fruit, but if you can try them, why not? You can always switch to a more easily accessible piece of fruit like oranges if these fruits don’t tickle your fancy.
7. Avocado on Whole Grain Toast
You’ve certainly heard by now that avocados are a superfood. A single avocado can provide you with more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals and an abundance of fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. If you aren’t currently eating avocados, here’s one way to give them a try.
Slice or mash up some avocado to top crispy toasted whole-grain bread. You can even add a sprinkle of chia seeds or coarse ground pistachios for an added nutritional boost. And there’s nothing like a sprinkle of sea salt to add dimension to your avocado toast.
Avocados are somewhat notorious for having a unique texture. Most other fruits are pretty firm, but avocados are naturally soft and fairly creamy, making them perfect for spreading on toast. You can try to spread an apple onto your toast, but you’ll need some thick bread.
When it comes to the toast itself, opt for whole-grain bread. White bread is full of refined carbs that have basically been stripped of their nutritional value. Sticking to whole-grain bread will give you an abundance of nutrients that aren’t available in white bread.
8. Avocado Deviled Eggs
No morning snack list would be complete without mentioning eggs. There are few foods in the world as nutrient-dense as an egg. The protein content alone is enough to make eggs a breakfast staple, but they’re also an excellent source of vitamin D, choline, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and several B vitamins.
The main thing you might need to be concerned about with eggs is they have a lot of cholesterol. The good news is the cholesterol is mostly limited to the yolk. By cooking deviled eggs in the morning, you’ll easily be able to rid your snack of the yolk. Start with hard-boiled eggs, peel them, cut each egg lengthwise, and scoop out the yolk.
Most people prepare this high-protein version of deviled eggs using a giant scoop of Greek yogurt mixed with avocado in place of the yolk.
Plus, you can still flavor the deviled eggs to your specific tastes. Salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, and dijon mustard are all still on the table. It might not taste the same at first, but substituting out the yolk will make this dish healthier and more of a low-calorie snack.
Break Your Fast the Healthy Way
Breakfast is so often overlooked in daily life. The first meal of the day is important for giving your body a chance to start fresh.
So many people skip breakfast altogether, and the folks opt for a convenient breakfast often aren’t eating the healthiest foods. Frosted cereals, doughnuts, and pastries are the go-to option for far too many, and while the high sugar content can give you a boost of energy for just a bit, that extra sugar can also lead to a lot of negative side effects.
Instead of choosing processed snacks, give the options above a try. There are a ton of ingredients that can be used to create a delicious and nutritious breakfast — you’ll just need to figure out which ones you like the best and how to combine them!
Looking for more articles on the best foods to nourish your mind and body? Check out more brain food articles here!