Breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day. Skip it and you run the risk of overeating throughout the afternoon and evening. Choose wisely and you can set the stage for a series of nutritious choices. Here are some simple substitutions to make your go-to morning meal a bit healthier:
1. Bake a better muffin. Mornings kind of hectic? Muffins are the perfect, portable breakfast food. But delicious and nutritious don’t always go hand-in-hand when it comes to this sunrise staple. Choose a bran or zucchini base instead of double chocolate, and further slash fat and calories by replacing oil with applesauce or canned pumpkin puree.
2. Select a healthier schmear. Top your toasted bagel with almond or cashew butter instead of traditional cream cheese. To make your morning meal even healthier, forgo the standard-sized asiago cheese or chocolate chip bagel in favor of a thinner whole grain one.
3. No yolks about it. Use protein-rich egg whites and low-moisture, part skim milk mozzarella cheese instead of actual eggs and cheddar in your veggie-packed omelet to reduce the fat and cholesterol content. While you’re at it, throw in some turkey bacon (in lieu of pork bacon) for flavor!
4. Power up your pancakes. Pancakes are a great way to start the day, but white flour offers little nutritional value. Use fiber-rich oat bran in your recipe instead. Drizzle with real organic maple syrup, not the imitation variety made with high fructose corn syrup.
5. Swap the butter for better. Skip the butter and top your whole grain English muffin with an all-natural fruit spread Another healthy option? Throw on some avocado and tomato slices!
6. Step away from the sugar. Have a habit of sprinkling the sweet stuff over your morning oatmeal? Try adding calorie-free stevia. Raw honey is another delicious, nutritious alternative!
7. Rethink your smoothie. Smoothies are a fun and flavorful way to pack essential nutrients into your diet. But hold the whole milk and opt for unsweetened almond milk This low-fat, cholesterol-free alternative is rich in riboflavin and vitamin D. Add a scoop of protein powder to up the nutritional ante!
8. It’s time to go Greek. Fruit and yogurt is a classic, convenient breakfast combination. But forget about the traditional type—especially if its ingredients include artificial sweeteners. Get your probiotics on with plain, 2% Greek yogurt and, of course, your favorite fresh fruit toppings.
9. Lighten up your breakfast burrito. Breakfast burritos can be as fattening as they are delicious. To create a slimmed-down version, skip the ground beef and chorizo and load your whole-wheat (not white!) tortilla with fiber-rich black beans and half the amount of cheese you’d typically use. Add some salsa for a burst of flavor.
10. Cut out your coffee creamer. Can’t say no to your morning cup of Joe? Kick your artificial creamer—likely made with sugar, corn syrup and food coloring to mimic the appearance of milk—to the curb, and add a splash of protein-rich soy milk