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6 Breakfast choices to add a boost of energy to your morning

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet: The Simple 1:1:1 Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. She holds a masters degree in public health from the University of Michigan.

Expect more from your breakfast with these six nutrient-dense options

Breakfast sets the tone for the day. How and what you eat makes a difference on your energy levels, your ability to focus at work, your recovery after a morning workout or how you feel when you are driving your kids to school before a long day of running errands or heading into the office yourself.

With 14 years of nutrition consulting experience, as well as personal experience, I find that if I eat something substantial that contains protein, carbohydrates and fat, not only am I more satisfied, I just feel more balanced. If you think about the typical oatmeal or cereal breakfast topped with berries or other fruit and a cup of orange juice on the side, you have officially set yourself up for a blood sugar rise, spike and fall that will leave you starving and maybe even lightheaded.

If the idea of doing one more thing in the morning such as preparing breakfast seems time-consuming, then check out these healthy breakfast food finds that are convenient and simple. Even the healthiest of us need that convenience when it comes to eating well. The bonus: you will now see just how tasty breakfast can be! It’s time to expect more from your breakfast!

Grab-and-go: Greek style

Expect more from your breakfast with these six nutrient-dense options
Image: Chobani

Growing up, yogurt was one of those “weight-loss” foods filled with artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners that seemed to be in everyone’s fridge. Well, times have changed and there is now a greater emphasis on the quality of ingredients and the health benefits of yogurt — which can provide protein, calcium and probiotics.

With yogurt, Greek yogurt is the way to go. I find that the creamy texture is more satisfying. Check the labels to find varieties that use all natural ingredients. If you are looking for a one and done yogurt, my pick is the Chobani Simply 100 Greek Yogurt. The 100-calorie yogurt is an ally in your weight management journey as an excellent source of protein (12 grams) and fiber (5 grams). It also makes for a great portable breakfast that you can keep in your fridge at work or enjoy — preferably sitting down — while checking your email in the morning! Plus, you can top it with healthy fats from almonds, walnuts or seeds. Like I said, one and done!

Turkey to the rescue!

Expect more from your breakfast with these six nutrient-dense options
Image: Applegate Farms

Breakfast meats are a great way to get protein in the morning, but the problem with most traditional varieties is the fat, cholesterol and nitrates. At first, we have this dilemma about what to eat for breakfast. Then, we become more conscious consumers thinking about what’s in our food and especially in our meats. You want to buy products from companies that don’t use artificial ingredients or preservatives, where all animals are raised without antibiotics.

At home, I enjoy the organic turkey bacon from Applegate — sometimes I even have it for dinner! With each slice containing 35 calories and 6 grams of protein, 1-1/2 grams of fat and 25 milligrams of cholesterol, Applegate organic turkey bacon is a delicious and healthier alternative to pork that you can enjoy every day. You can enjoy a few slices of turkey bacon alongside a piece of toast with avocado slices for a well–rounded breakfast that contains protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats!

Falafel for breakfast

Expect more from your breakfast with these six nutrient-dense options
Image: TaDah Foods

Want in on a little secret? Falafel isn’t just for lunch or dinner. This savory chickpea powerhouse has been enjoyed for breakfast in the Middle East for centuries. I love the Lemony Roasted Garlic Hummus Wrap from TaDah! Foods. The combination of these “health-alicious” chickpea fritters plus a fresh lemon-garlic hummus spread wrapped into a whole wheat tortilla makes for an all-natural vegan breakfast. Each wrap also boasts 17 grams of protein and a whopping 13 grams of fiber. No matter how busy you are in the morning, you can still enjoy a quick, delicious and satisfying breakfast. Bonus points for adding exotic cuisine to your morning routine.

Cereal done right

Expect more from your breakfast with these six nutrient-dense options
Image: Nature's Path Cereal

If a bowl of cereal has been your standard breakfast since you were in grade school, you may be surprised to find that all the goodness in your “multi-grain” cereal isn’t packed with so much good stuff. Cereal, by nature, is a carbohydrate so its appeal is that it is low in fat. Unfortunately, it is also void of protein. In most cases, you are left with a bowl of carbohydrates with little to no fiber. Combine this with our increasing portions and bowl sizes and you might just feel depleted despite eating an amount of calories that should sustain your hunger.

Energy is one of those things we all could use more of, so why not expect it from our cereal? The Qi’a Superfood Cereal from Nature’s Path is a combination of chia seeds, hemp and buckwheat with a touch of sweetness from cranberries and crunch from the almonds. It is also gluten-free. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber and vegetarian sources of omegas you can think outside the bowl and incorporate the cereal into your breakfast smoothie or yogurt for an added energy boost!

Breakfast sandwiches

Expect more from your breakfast with these six nutrient-dense options
Image: SweetEarth Foods

Walk through the freezer aisle at any grocery or chain store, and you will notice the rise in popularity of the breakfast sandwich. In fact, this category continues to grow and is now served at more and more fast food chains. Recently, McDonald's announced that they will be serving breakfast all day. Convenience is king, but for me quality is even more important. For those of you who are also vegetarian or enjoy a vegan eating lifestyle, the drive-through may not be an option.

That’s where Farmstand Flaxbread Breakfast Sandwiches from Sweet Earth come into play — and into your freezer! Each sandwich has up to 26 grams of protein as well as five to seven grams of fiber. Made with cage-free eggs and two delicious spreads (kale pesto or a sundried tomato compote), these sandwiches cook in under two minutes and also have really fun names for flavors like “Benevolent Bacon” or “Harmless Bacon”!

Good morning sunshine

Expect more from your breakfast with these six nutrient-dense options
Image: KindSnacks

It’s always great to have a quick on-the-go option that the whole family can enjoy. So many breakfast bars are touted as healthy because of their lower fat content, but the downside is all of the sugar that goes into them to make them taste good. I always encourage my readers and clients to look at the ingredients panel on the nutrition label. The quality of the ingredients will impact how your body responds.

Look for breakfast bars made with whole grains, which are a good source of fiber, as well as other ingredients that give you that nutrition boost. The new KIND breakfast bars do just that. They are made with a unique blend of five super grains: gluten free oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. Wow, that was a mouthful! But your taste buds and your tummy will be satisfied. The Blueberry Almond and the Dark Chocolate Cocoa are my top flavor picks!

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