7 Healthy Alternatives to Those Breakfast Foods You Shouldn't Eat

Hands holding a bowl of oatmeal garnished with a strawberry and edible flowers

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Some of the most common foods we eat for breakfast aren't the best options. They can be full of processed ingredients that aren't all that sustainable and have little nutritional value. There are alternatives to some of those popular breakfast foods that will give you the same satisfaction, plus more nutrition that will keep your energy up all morning while leaving you feeling fuller. Here are a few healthy breakfast alternatives.

Non-Sweetened Yogurt

A bowl of plain yogurt with berries

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Yogurt can be a stellar breakfast food, but the additives in many yogurts are problematic. Some sweetened yogurts have almost as much added sugar as ice cream. Instead of going with overly sweetened yogurt, eat plain yogurt topped with fresh berries or bananas for sweetness. Alternatively, you can add a measured amount of an all-natural sweetener like homey or maple syrup—this way, you can control the sugar intake.

Overnight Oats

A jar of overnight oats piled high with fresh raspberries

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Oatmeal is a fabulous alternative to boxed cereal which is convenient but often full of sugar and few nutrients. However, even instant oatmeal takes longer to make than pouring a bowl of cold cereal and topping it with milk. That's why overnight oats are the perfect solution if you're always in a hurry in the morning. They take a little bit of time to put together the night before, but in the morning, you just need to pull them out of the fridge and stick a spoon right into the container.

Nut Butter on Whole-Grain Toast

Various pieces of toast topped with peanut butter and fruit

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Bagels with cream cheese are delicious, but there isn't much nutrition there, and cream cheese can be high in fat and calories. If something toasted and slathered with something creamy is what you want, spread peanut, cashew or almond butter on some high-fiber whole grain toast and you have a nutritious breakfast. Add some apple slices, blueberries or banana slices on top to help get in one of your produce servings for the day.

Homemade Granola Bars

5-ingredient granola bars
These five-ingredient bars are just the basics for a simple healthy breakfast. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Pre-packaged granola bars are so simple to reach for, but so many of them on the market might as well be labeled as a candy bar. If you make your own granola bars, though, you get to control the ingredients.

Egg Muffin

Crustless quiche in muffin tin right out of the oven
Make-ahead egg, cheese and vegetable muffins will keep you out of the fast-food drive in . (Photo: Anna Norris)

No. Not an Egg McMuffin. This is scrambled egg with cheese and veggies cooked in a muffin pan. Instead of opting for a boxed breakfast sandwich that you stick in the microwave, or a breakfast sandwich from a fast-food restaurant, bake up a batch of these egg muffins, or crustless mini quiches, and keep them in the freezer. Then microwave one or two of them for a fast, nutritious breakfast.

Green Smoothie

a green smoothie in a glass with avocado and and other fruits scattered on the counter

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Fruit smoothies aren't horrible breakfast options, especially if they have no added sweeteners, but they're still full of naturally occurring sugars that can lead to a sugar crash a little while after breakfast. Vegetable-based smoothies, usually called green smoothies, will add varied nutrition plus help avoid the mid-morning crash. Try this Chocolate Shake Green Smoothie with kale and avocado plus some banana for sweetness.

Green Chia Pudding

green chia pudding
Blend up some green vegetables with your chia pudding liquid for an extra dose of nutrition at breakfast. (Photo: bonchan/Shutterstock)

Another alternative to sugar-filled yogurt, chia pudding is made with omega-3 rich, antioxidant-rich, fiber-rich chia seeds. Basic chia pudding is chia seeds left to soak in liquid so that the seeds turn the liquid pudding-like, but if you add some vegetables to the mix, it becomes more than basic. This Green Chia Pudding recipe mixes fresh spinach with non-dairy milk and then tops the pudding with fresh fruit.