4 Dietician-Recommended Tips for a Fast and Nutritious Breakfast

Breakfast foods like waffles and eggs on a table.

Verywell / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Eating a nutritious and balanced breakfast can offer many health benefits for children and adults alike.
  • But many people are crunched for time in the morning, making it easier to skip the meal.
  • Some tips like adding an egg or prepping the night before can help keep simplify the meal.

With back to school in full swing, many of us are trying to find ways to set our days up for success. A tried and true method? Eating a hearty breakfast.

You've likely heard that this morning meal is the most important one of the day, and research backs this up. In fact, those who eat a quality breakfast have been shown to have a better health-related quality of life and lower levels of stress and depression than those who eat a poor quality breakfast.

Particularly in children and adolescents, eating a healthy breakfast may lead to:

  • Lower body mass index (BMI)
  • Higher cognitive performance 
  • Better levels of well-being 
  • Better food choices throughout the day 

And for adults, breakfast eaters appear to have a better memory. One study found that those who forego the meal missed out on key nutrients and didn't make up these gaps throughout the day, which could lead to deficiencies.

For many, mornings can get so hectic that either this meal is skipped or unhealthy choices are made. While dining on sugary pastries can be delicious, eating them won’t provide you with nutrient-dense and balanced meals. 

For a filling meal, research suggests aiming for choices with a larger amount of protein, with at least 350 calories.  

Four Tips for a Fast and Nutritious Breakfast

So, how are we supposed to eat a balanced meal with the “right” foods on a time crunch? 

If you are one of the many people who are rushing out the door in the mornings, here are four ways to pack in more nutrition at breakfast time with little effort. 

Add an Egg

Eggs are a staple at the breakfast table for good reason. Not only are they a good source of high-quality protein, but they also have many other key nutrients that support brain health and energy levels, like choline, lutein, and vitamin B12.

In a recent study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers found that if children add one egg at breakfast, their usual intakes of pantothenic acid, riboflavin, selenium, and vitamin D increased at least 10%. 

These results suggest that the simple act of adding an egg to a meal can help children get many key nutrients they need for proper growth and development. 

Next time, try adding a scrambled egg to your morning toast or grab a hard-boiled egg while you are running out the door.

Sip on a Glass of Orange Juice

Juice has gotten a bad reputation over the years for being “sugary.” But as long as you are choosing 100% fruit juice, and not juice with added sugars, this drink can fit into a balanced diet.

Most Americans are not eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables every day. Sipping on a glass of 100% orange juice helps you meet strive toward that goal. 

Orange juice naturally contains flavonoids or natural compounds that may help support cognitive health. In fact, drinking orange juice has been linked to better performance on some cognitive tests as well as processing speed and attention. Researchers have also found a link between the juice and increased blood flow to an area of the brain related to attention.

Make Sure to Include Protein

Many grab-and-go breakfast options are heavy in carbohydrates. And while they do help give us energy, protein is what is going to help support satiety and keep you full.

If you have time to cook a scrambled egg and turkey bacon in the morning, then keep at it. But if you are pressed for time, adding easy proteins like a piece of cheese, a handful of nuts, or a pre-cooked microwaved chicken sausage patty can help keep minds focused on their work instead of their hunger later in the day. 

Prep Smoothie Kits the Night Before

Smoothies are a go-to for busy folks who love fruit and want something quick and easy. But chopping and measuring on busy mornings can make smoothie prep a no-go. 

Making smoothie kits the night before allows you to simply “dump” your ingredients in a blender and sip away in minutes. Chop and measure your ingredients and put them all in a container in the fridge the night before. As you are brewing your morning coffee, toss your container in the blender with some ice and liquid, and you will be good to go.

Don’t forget to add some protein to your concoction to give your smoothie some staying power. Chia seeds, nut butter, protein powder, or Greek yogurt can all be simple sources of protein that can be easily added to your blend. 

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ferrer-Cascales R, Sánchez-SanSegundo M, Ruiz-Robledillo N, Albaladejo-Blázquez N, Laguna-Pérez A, Zaragoza-Martí A. Eat or Skip Breakfast? The Important Role of Breakfast Quality for Health-Related Quality of Life, Stress and Depression in Spanish Adolescents. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Aug 19;15(8):1781. doi:10.3390/ijerph15081781

  2. Galioto R, Spitznagel MB. The Effects of Breakfast and Breakfast Composition on Cognition in Adults. Adv Nutr. 2016 May 16;7(3):576S-89S. doi:10.3945/an.115.010231

  3. Fanelli S, Walls C, Taylor C. Skipping breakfast is associated with nutrient gaps and poorer diet quality among adults in the United StatesProceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2021;80(OCE1):E48. doi:10.1017/S0029665121000495

  4. Gwin JA, Leidy HJ. A Review of the Evidence Surrounding the Effects of Breakfast Consumption on Mechanisms of Weight Management. Adv Nutr. 2018 Nov 1;9(6):717-725. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy047

  5. Papanikolaou Y, Fulgoni VL 3rd. Increasing Egg Consumption at Breakfast Is Associated with Increased Usual Nutrient Intakes: A Modeling Analysis Using NHANES and the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program School Breakfast Guidelines. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 20;13(4):1379. doi:10.3390/nu13041379

  6. Nurk E, Refsum H, Drevon CA, Tell GS, Nygaard HA, Engedal K, Smith AD. Cognitive performance among the elderly in relation to the intake of plant foods. The Hordaland Health Study. Br J Nutr. 2010 Oct;104(8):1190-201. doi:10.1017/S0007114510001807

  7. Lamport DJ, Pal D, Macready AL, Barbosa-Boucas S, Fletcher JM, Williams CM, Spencer JP, Butler LT. The effects of flavanone-rich citrus juice on cognitive function and cerebral blood flow: an acute, randomised, placebo-controlled cross-over trial in healthy, young adults. Br J Nutr. 2016 Dec;116(12):2160-2168. doi:10.1017/S000711451600430X