8 tips for a healthy breakfast
It is not without reason that breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. That does not mean that you are necessarily doing bad if you just don’t get a bite through your throat in the morning. But a healthy breakfast can make it a lot easier to eat well for the rest of the day! That is why it is wise to plan the first meal well. But what is a healthy breakfast? And what should you pay attention to when choosing what to eat in the morning? In this blog, we list 8 tips for a healthy breakfast and a number of tasty suggestions for you.
The most important meal of the day?
Several scientific studies have shown that skipping your breakfast can lead to problems. For example, it appears that people who do not eat breakfast are more often overweight, diabetic and cardiovascular problems. This also leads to the advice to always have breakfast, if necessary during the first break at work or at school.
On the other hand, there are also those who argue that that whole breakfast is not necessary for anything. For example, with intermittent fasting (IF) you usually do not eat breakfast, and that diet is actually promoted as a diet that can prevent obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. What do you do with that?
There are a few different factors of importance here. First, people who do not eat breakfast for ‘traditional’ reasons, for example, because they are too busy in the morning, often eat unhealthily for the rest of the day. Since they don’t eat breakfast, they have to satisfy hunger mid-morning with quick snacks. These cause the sugar level to fluctuate, and before you know it you will be in a spiral of fast cravings and binges for the rest of the day. In this way, you indeed create a diet that leads to health problems. People who do intermittent fasting are often a lot more conscious about their diet anyway.
Second, people are simply very different. What works great for one person can be disastrous for another. Some people thrive with IF, others rattle with hunger when they don’t eat properly in the morning. Some people can get through to lunch without breaking a chocolate bar, while others can’t possibly stay away from the snacks if they don’t have a good breakfast. It is therefore also important to know what makes you feel good personally.
So: should you have breakfast?
Experience shows that it is useful for people with a ‘normal’ eating plan to have a good breakfast. Do you often skip breakfast for no structural reason, such as IF? Or does your breakfast often consist of a whisked muesli bar? Then you have no healthy reason not to have breakfast and you can probably do it better.
Have you been paying close attention to your diet for some time, do you eat a healthy and varied diet, and have you noticed that your body functions better when you fast in the morning? Then you probably already know how to do that responsibly thanks to those healthy eating habits. But skipping breakfast is a clearly well-considered choice.
Have you never really thought so much about that breakfast, but you just don’t have the time or don’t feel like it? Then we still recommend that you have a better breakfast and see what that does to your health. The tips in this article are then very useful for you!
8 tips for a healthy breakfast
Are you curious whether your standard breakfast is a good start to the day? Or are you looking for inspiration for improvement? These eight tips will help you understand what makes or doesn’t make breakfast healthy.
1. The right amount
Breakfast should provide enough energy: after all, you have to get through the morning with it. On the other hand, it shouldn’t have too many calories, especially if you’re trying to monitor your weight. After all, with a huge breakfast, you quickly end up with a calorie surplus.
It differs a bit per person what is a good balance here. The Nutrition Center suggests to eat 300-400 kcal in the morning, and that is indeed an excellent guideline for most people. In some cases, it may be wise to deviate from it. For example, do you know that you are hungry much faster in the morning than in the evening? Or are you trying to gain weight? Then a larger breakfast can also be a healthy choice. And if you don’t get more than a small bowl of yogurt down your throat in the morning, you can also choose to replenish the calories later in the morning.
2. Avoid fast sugars
Then it is of course relevant where you get those calories from. Number 1 to avoid are fast sugars. These lead to a peak in the sugar level, after which your blood sugar falls back into a rapid trough. That causes hunger and binge eating, creating another peak, and so on. Fast sugars at breakfast can therefore cause an unhealthy diet for the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, many breakfast products are packed with sugars, because breakfast is often sweet. It is better not to eat the following products:
- White bread
- Sweet breads, such as croissants and breakfast muffins
- (Crispy) muesli and granola
- Cereal bars and breakfast bars
- Ready-to-drink yogurt and drinking breakfasts
- Fruit juice
Sugar is almost always added to the ready-to-eat bars, mueslis, and breakfasts to make them nice and sweet. Fruit juice is unfortunately also very sugary, because it contains a lot of fruit sugars, but not the healthy fiber found in the whole fruit.
Fortunately, that does not mean that you cannot eat anything sweet for breakfast, as you will see below. But it does mean that most off-the-shelf products are unwise.
Fiber does the opposite of fast sugars. They ensure that you feel full and that your energy is gradually released from your food. That means you can live on a high-fiber breakfast for much longer, and you won’t get such an explosive hunger attack once you’ve digested it.
Fiber is mainly found in:
- Whole grains
- Vegetables and fruit
In addition to fiber, proteins are also important for the satiety of your breakfast. Moreover, proteins also have all kinds of advantages. They consist of amino acids, the building materials for your muscles and other body tissue. This way you can be sure that your body always has enough material to hand for maintenance.
Proteins are found in both animal and vegetable products. The advice is to get enough of both. Animal proteins are:
And you get vegetable proteins from:
- Whole grains
Eat vegetables or fruit
Many people fail to reach their recommended amount of fruit or vegetables. Usually, this is because they only eat some vegetables with dinner – then 250 grams is indeed quite a large portion. However, it is not at all difficult to meet the guidelines if you take them into account with every meal.
In short: consider including vegetables or fruit in your breakfast. For example, you can use vegetables as a sandwich spread, or fruit as a sweet seasoning in your yogurt or oatmeal porridge. You will find a few delicious examples in the breakfast suggestions below.
An important point that is often forgotten is that you should also drink enough. Your body loses a lot of water at night, so it is good to replenish it as soon as possible in the morning. In any case, drink a large glass of water with breakfast, more is certainly allowed. Tea or coffee (without sugar) are also great options.
A tip that has little to do with nutrition, but can still yield a lot of health benefits: try to eat breakfast at a leisurely pace. For example, chewing well is very important for digestion, because this way you get much more nutrients from your food. And stress, in general, is a major cause of many health problems.
So set your alarm ten minutes earlier. If necessary, prepare your breakfast the night before. Really sit down at the kitchen or dining table, put your phone aside, and take a few minutes before your meal. Chew well and taste what you eat. That’s a better start than that slice of bread you work in with one hand while combing your hair.
And finally: try to vary your breakfast! The more different things you eat, the more different nutrients you get, and the less likely you are to have deficiencies.
Of course you don’t have time every morning to put together a completely different breakfast. Especially when it is early, routine is nice. But you can vary with small things. Put different fruits in your yogurt, or add a handful of nuts. Put other raw vegetables on your sandwich. The details alone can make a big difference.
What is a healthy breakfast?
Well, so far the general advice. Which breakfasts now meet all these conditions? To help you on your way, we will give you a few tasty suggestions for a healthy breakfast below.
Crispy muesli and granola are not such good choices because they contain a lot of sugar. But oatmeal and Brinta, for example, are very healthy breakfast cereals, which you can use to make delicious breakfasts with fruit. And you can make overnight oats from oatmeal, which you can prepare the night before.
- Brinta bowl with strawberries
- Oatmeal with blueberries and nuts
- Oatmeal with banana, apple & cinnamon
- Overnight oats with raspberries & coconut
Healthy breakfast with yogurt
Yogurt is also a great basis for breakfast because it provides a lot of protein. Add fruits or grains for the fiber, and you have a great start to the day. The same applies to other dairy products, such as quark or skyr.
- Yogurt with banana & muesli
- Yogurt with apple & roasted oatmeal
- Lime curd with muesli & coconut
- Yogurt Pancakes with apple & raisins
Healthy breakfast with bread
There is nothing wrong with bread either! Opt for whole grain and you have a great breakfast. Whole grain wraps, crackers and rusks are of course also good options.
- Bread with egg salad & cucumber
- Toasted bread with tangerine
- Hearty sandwich with egg salad & hummus
- Croque monsieur with cottage cheese
Healthy breakfast with egg
If you’re going for high-protein, eggs are also a great choice. Especially for a Sunday breakfast, an omelet or scrambled eggs immediately feels very luxurious – but during the week you also have breakfast with an egg on the table.
- Hearty vegetable omelet
- Protein-rich pancakes with banana
- Scrambles eggs with grated cheese
- Breakfast wrap with egg salad
Do you especially want to be able to run out the door immediately? Then you probably especially benefit from recipes that you can prepare the night before, such as overnight oats. A breakfast that you can prepare extra quickly, such as a smoothie, also works very well as a quick breakfast.
- Overnight oats with raspberries & peanut butter
- Overnight oats with banana & dark chocolate
- Green smoothie with banana
- Oatmeal & banana breakfast smoothie