Your mom told you, we told you and now science is telling you—breakfast is important. A recent study published in the journal Nutrition revealed that people who go big on breakfast eat a better overall diet, consume less added sugar, saturated fat, and alcohol; and eat more fiber and micronutrients.
What’s more, research published in PLOS Biology showed that it’s not just how many calories you eat (or how much you exercise) but also when you eat those calories that will determine how well you burn them off. The research also indicated that eating more calories earlier in the day can make it easier to maintain your lean physique.
If you’re experiencing brekkie burnout, these recipes will take your morning from boring to mind-blowing. Whether you prefer sweet or savory, you’ll be excited to rise and dine.Section divider
Smoked Salmon Sweet Potato Hash Waffles
Hands-On Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Makes 4 Servings
Change the way you view brunch forever with this bagel-and-lox upgrade. Sweet potatoes provide plenty of vitamin A to bolster immunity, and smoked salmon is a solid source of omega-3s, which have been shown to help reduce the muscle pain caused by hard training.
- Use the shredding blade of your food processor to prepare your sweet potatoes.
- Trade salmon for a runny fried egg.
- Make your waffles ahead of time, cool to room temperature and freeze between sheets of wax paper up to one month.
2 tbsp canola oil, plus more for greasing
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1⁄3 cup cornmeal
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
zest of 1 lemon
3⁄4 lb smoked salmon fillets, sliced
1⁄4 cup chives, chopped
Preheat waffle iron to medium-high and grease generously with oil. In a large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, cornmeal, shallots, oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Add eggs and mix well. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and lemon zest. Set aside.
Scoop 1 cup sweet potato mixture into waffle maker, close lid and press down. Cook 5 minutes, or until waffle has darkened on top and edges are crispy. (Don’t peek too early or you’ll have waffle pieces!) Repeat with remaining mixture, re-greasing as needed.
Serve topped with smoked salmon, sour cream mixture and chives.
Nutrition Facts (per serving = 1 waffle + 1⁄4 cup sour cream mixture): calories 466, fat 26 g, carbs 26 g, fiber 3 g, sugar 3 g, protein 30 g, sodium 760 mgSection divider
PB&J Cheese Melts
Hands-On Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Makes 4 Servings
This kid-approved toast upgrade can bring some razzle-dazzle to your morning routine. Chia seeds and raspberries are loaded with soluble fiber, which helps stabilize blood sugar and reduces hunger. And peanut butter contains plenty of folate, vitamin E and niacin (aka vitamin B3), which has been shown to increase vasodilation and improve blood flow. Some studies even suggest it may promote the release of growth hormone.
- Trade peanut butter for almond butter or sunflower butter.
- Swap raspberries for strawberries.
- Use a Paleo or keto-friendly bread if you’re watching your carbs.
1 1⁄2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
8 slices whole-grain bread
8 tbsp peanut butter
4 oz brie cheese, sliced
1 tbsp butter
Heat raspberries in a saucepan over medium until they begin to break down, about 3 minutes. Mash into a chunky puree. Stir in chia seeds, honey and lemon juice. Cook another 2 minutes, then remove from heat and cool at least 1 hour in the fridge to thicken.
Spread peanut butter on 4 slices of bread and raspberry-chia jam on the other 4. (Store remaining jam in fridge up to 5 days.) Sandwich 1 ounce brie cheese between 2 bread slices and press together.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add sandwiches and cook until bottom is golden and crispy, about 3 minutes. Press down with a spatula, then flip and cook another 3 minutes, or until bottom is crispy and cheese has melted.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 488 calories, fat 28 g, carbs 51 g, fiber 15 g, sugar 14 g, protein 24 g, sodium 548 mgSection divider
Granola Bark Yogurt Bowls
Hands-On Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 35 Minutes | Makes 5 Servings
This make-ahead recipe is perfect for those crazy busy mornings. The coconut is rich in manganese for bone health, as well as medium-chain triglycerides for quick, lasting energy. Greek yogurt provides protein, calcium and potassium, as well as iodine for optimal metabolic function.
- Crumble bark over a salad as a replacement for croutons.
- Customize your bark: Trade yogurt for cottage cheese, almonds for walnuts, pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds or lemon rather than orange zest.
1 large egg white
1⁄4 cup maple syrup
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar or coconut sugar
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp water
zest of 1 orange
1 1⁄2 cups rolled oats
1⁄2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1⁄3 cup sliced unsalted almonds
1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1⁄4 cup ground flaxseeds
3⁄4 tsp cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp salt
5 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 1⁄2 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 325°F and line an 8-inch-by-10-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk egg white until frothy, then whisk in maple syrup, brown sugar, oil, water and orange zest. Add oats, coconut, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon and salt and stir to combine. Press mixture firmly into pan and bake, rotating once, until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.
Let cool completely, then break into 2-inch pieces. Serve on top of yogurt and sprinkle with blueberries. Store leftover bark in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 540, fat 21 g, carbs 63 g, fiber 8 g, sugar 24 g, protein 31 g, sodium 242 mg
By eating more at breakfast instead of dinner, you can burn twice as many calories, according to research.
Southwest Tofu Scramble
Hands-On Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Makes 2 Servings
This hearty plant-based scramble will keep you satisfied for hours. The tofu and black beans deliver a payload of hunger-smashing protein and dietary fiber, and nutritional yeast adds a dairy-free cheesiness and huge amounts of B vitamins for better energy.
- Fold into warm corn tortillas for great breakfast tacos.
- Use leftovers for an ultra-nutritious lunch or dinner. Just heat in a skillet with a dash of oil.
1 block extra-firm tofu
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 tsp turmeric
1⁄2 tsp coriander powder
1⁄4 tsp cayenne
1⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
1 cup red bell peppers, chopped
1⁄4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups baby spinach
2⁄3 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1⁄2 avocado, cubed
1⁄2 cup salsa of choice
2 tsp fresh lime juice
Place tofu on a paper-towel-lined cutting board. Place more paper towels on top and press down with another cutting board to squeeze out as much water as possible. Use a box grater or the tines of a fork to grate tofu into a bowl.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in turmeric, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper and heat 30 seconds. Add tofu, red peppers and nutritional yeast and cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in black beans and avocado.
Divide mixture between serving plates. Top with salsa and a drizzle of lime juice.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 531, fat 25 g, carbs 48 g, fiber 15 g, sugar 11 g, protein 38 g, sodium 605 mgSection divider
Instant Mocha Smoothie Cups
Hands-On Time: 10 Minutes | Makes 4 Servings
These subzero pre-made smoothie cups are ready when you are to perk up your morning. The avocado benefits your gut microbes for improved digestion and immunity, according to a study in The Journal of Nutrition. And research published in Clinical Nutrition Experimental shows that eating protein in the morning can tame your appetite later in the day.
- Make a breakfast bowl instead: Use just 1 cup liquid and top with granola, chopped nuts, coconut flakes or berries.
- Use a nonstick silicone muffin tin for easier unmolding.
- When ready to use, slice frozen cups in half or in quarters for better blending.
2 cups brewed coffee, cooled
1 avocado, diced
2 large ripe bananas
3⁄4 cup protein powder of choice
1⁄4 cup cacao powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
4 cups milk or unsweetened nondairy milk, divided
2 cups water, divided
Place all ingredients except milk and water in a blender container and blend until smooth; mixture will be thick. Divide among 8 standard muffin cups and freeze until solid, about 4 hours.
Unmold and place in a zip-close bag. Return to freezer. When ready to use, add 1 cup milk, 1⁄2 cup water and 2 smoothie cups to blender container and blend until smooth.
Nutrition Facts (per serving = 2 cups): calories 363, fat 12 g, carbs 38 g, fiber 8 g, sugar 22 g, protein 29 g, sodium 154 mgSection divider
Oatmeal Pancake Pie
Hands-On Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Makes 4 Servings
Here’s your answer to pancakes — no flipping required. Almond flour is high in protein, healthy fats and vitamin E, which may help reduce oxidative damage from endurance exercise, according to research published in Sports Medicine. Cottage cheese supplies slow-digesting casein protein, which can help you build muscle all morning long, and the oats help regulate blood sugar and curb cravings.
- Make muffins instead: Divide the batter among eight standard muffin cups and bake 20 minutes.
- Feeling fancy? Top with Greek yogurt, berries and/or a drizzle of maple syrup.
1 large egg
1 cup cottage cheese
1 ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
3⁄4 cup almond flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend together egg, cottage cheese, banana and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Stir wet mixture into dry and let rest 10 minutes (to soak up liquid).
Pour batter into a greased 8-inch round cake pan and bake 25 minutes, or until top is browned and center is set. Let cool 5 minutes before unmolding.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 280, fat 14 g, carbs 26 g, fiber 5 g, sugar 6 g, protein 16 g, sodium 393 mg
It’s important to eat plenty of protein at breakfast: In a Journal of Nutrition study, muscle protein synthesis was 25 percent higher among those who ate 30 grams of protein at each meal as opposed to eating the majority of it at night.
Healthy grab-and-go breakfasts are hard to come by. Here are some solid choices if you need to eat on the fly.
Kodiak Cakes Blueberry & Maple Flapjack Cup | $2.25
This whole-grain, high-protein pancake-in-a-cup contains real berries, requires only water and cooks in one minute in the microwave.
Golden Spice Gr8nola | $10
With less sugar than other brands, this granola includes anti-inflammatory turmeric and nutrient-dense pepitas and sunflower seeds.
Earnest Eats Pro: Protein & Probiotic Instant Oatmeal Packets | $40 (6-pack)
This next-level instant oatmeal is fortified with muscle-friendly whey protein isolate, quinoa and amaranth.
Peanut Butter Coconut & Oats Bob’s Bar | $2
A little sweet and a lot delicious, this bar is made with real peanut butter, whole oats and organic coconut, and each one contains 7 grams of protein.
Just Egg Folded | $4
Attention plant-based athletes: This vegan, high-protein, toaster-ready faux egg patty tastes remarkably like real scrambled eggs and is perfect on toast or in a breakfast taco.