After a night of sleeping, we’ve burned through up to 80% of our energy stores. When we wake up, we’re running on empty, so it’s a good idea to refuel with energy boosting foods—not fat-and-sugar laden foods. In fact, eating something nutritious in the morning can rev up your body and mind to prepare you for a busy day. According to Harvard Medical School, an energy-packed breakfast should include lean, healthy protein, whole grains, and fruit, vegetables, or both.
A healthy breakfast doesn’t require tons of prep time or culinary skills. Packed with protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients, a tasty yet healthy breakfast can fit anyone’s schedule and lifestyle. These 11 energy boosting foods for breakfast can start your day off right—mix and match them to keep your mornings productive.
- Flaxseeds and flax meal
- Nuts and nut butters
- Chia seeds
- Greek yogurt
- Whole grains
- Cottage cheese
Fresh fruit such as bananas, berries, apples, oranges, or melons provide a daylong energy boost. Fruit is a perfect package of fiber, natural sugars, antioxidants, vitamins, and other micronutrients. Fruits are often high in fiber, which can help steady blood sugar levels.
Flaxseeds & flax meal
Ground flaxseed is a great addition to breakfast bowls or baked goods. Just two nutty-flavored tablespoons contain the daily recommended value of heart-healthy fats. Word to the wise: grind flax first. The body doesn’t digest whole flax seeds, so either buy pre-ground flax meal or grind it yourself in a spice or coffee grinder.
Nuts & nut butters
With protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamin E, amino acids, and more, nuts are an energy boosting powerhouse. Nuts are good for your body, your memory, and your productivity.
A coconut is about the same size as the human brain, and maybe there’s a reason for that. The medium-chain-triglyceride fats found in coconuts have been linked to heightened brain function and overall improvements in the body’s use of energy during the day.
Coconut is super versatile, too. Add shredded coconut to oatmeal or smoothie bowls for sweetness and crunch. Or use coconut milk in place of dairy milks or other plant milks in smoothies and baked goods.
Versatile and full of protein, eggs are the everything breakfast. They can be a centerpiece (scrambled or boiled), a component (such as baked eggs with veggies), or a wrapper (crepes and omelets). They provide binding, structure, and nutrition in baked goods too. They’re also fast: A scramble or omelet can have you filling up on a solid breakfast in minutes.
About the size of poppy seeds, chia seeds contain iron, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, folate, and potassium. Unlike flax and poppy though, chia seeds have a curious superpower: In less than 10 minutes, they can absorb nine to 12 times their weight in liquid. This property gives chia seeds a thick, gel-like texture and consistency perfect for breakfasts like oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods, and chia pudding.
From cacao nibs to dark chocolate, you can have something chocolaty for breakfast and still call it healthy. Cacao is the raw pod from cacao trees that are processed into cocoa and chocolate. Cacao is an excellent source of fiber, zinc, iron, and magnesium.
While not exactly a breakfast item itself, cacao can even take the place of your morning coffee. Instead of caffeine, cacao contains theobromine, which is said to induce feelings of euphoria while giving a similar rush as caffeine with fewer jitters.
Greek yogurt packs carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein into creamy, tangy goodness. Usually available with fewer sweeteners than traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt also contains higher amounts of protein per serving. And because it digests relatively slowly, it can help keep you productive and focused longer.
Oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain breads, and cereals—you name it: Whole grains are a breakfast staple. They boost energy with complex carbohydrates that release over time. Plus, whole grains provide other minerals and nutrients that can help balance blood sugar and prevent binge-inducing energy crashes.
The creamy texture, nutty flavor, and monounsaturated, heart-healthy fats of avocados take time to digest and help keep our energy levels consistent. While technically a berry, we usually think of avocados as a vegetable. Whether diced into a bowl or spread over bread, avocados bring flavor, B vitamins, and an energy boost to your breakfast.
With protein and calcium benefits similar to yogurt, cottage cheese adds texture and variety, plus A and B vitamins. It’s also a favorite with many athletes.
From parfaits and spreads to pancakes and waffles, cottage cheese is another versatile item you can enjoy, either sweet or savory. You can also find brands with probiotics, which aid in gut health.
Boost your breakfast and your energy too
A good breakfast can be healthy, a healthy breakfast can be tasty, and no breakfast has to be boring. Work these 11 foods into your breakfasts, and you’ll have an enjoyable start to your day and lasting energy for all that life throws at you.