9 Ways to Optimize Your Breakfast

The right breakfast can make or break your whole morning. Nutrition Diva offers 9 tricks for getting the most out of your morning meal.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
3-minute read
Episode #327

Are you in a breakfast rut? Same old, same old, day in and day out? Is your breakfast doing all it can for you nutritionally? Here are 9 ways to wake up your breakfast routine and make it the healthiest meal of the day:

Tip #1: Make it Bigger

Choosing a 90-calorie breakfast bar or 100-calorie yogurt cup may seem like a calorie-concious choice but an ultra-low calorie breakfast will backfire if you're already hungry again by the time you get to work.  A more substantial breakfast of 300-500 well-chosen calories will get you a lot further and cut down on unplanned mid-morning snacking

See also: What’s Wrong with this Breakfast?


Tip #2: Increase the Protein-to-Carb Ratio

Cereal, fruit, whole grain toast can be part of your breakfast, if you want, but they shouldn't be all of it. Adding some protein will help keep you full, boost your metabolism (a little), and help you hold onto that lean muscle tissue. Spread your toast with peanut butter in addition to jelly.  Top half a bagel with salmon. Add a scoop of protein powder or tofu to your smoothie.  Cook an egg into your oatmeal.  (Here's how)  Switch from regular to Greek yogurt.

Tip #3: Lose the Sugar

American breakfast staples like sweetened cereals, fruit-flavored yogurts, and milkshake-like coffee drinks contain so much added sugar that you can exceed the recommended daily maxmimum for added sugars before your eyes are even fully open.

Starting your day with a big dose of sugar is a great way to sabotage your appetite and energy for the rest of the day. If you eat cereal, look for ones with a minimum of added sugar. Select plain yogurt. Add sliced fruit for a nutrient-dense touch of sweetness. .

Tip #4: Include Vegetables

One of the reasons that many people struggle to get 5 servings of vegetables a day is that they don't start until dinner time! Why not start with breakfast?

Enjoy a veggie omelet or frittata, pile some salsa onto your scrambled eggs, or a few slices of tomato on your bagel. Have vegetable juice instead of orange juice or add some spinach to your smoothie.

Tip #5: Add Healthy Fats

Healthy fats like those in avocado can help boost the absorption of nutrients from vegetables. (Plus, they're delicious).

Throw some avocado into your green smoothie or add a couple of slices to your salmon and tomato bagel. Sprinkle some walnuts or toasted flaxseeds on your oatmeal.


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.