Picking the Best Breakfast Food

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You should never skip breakfast. It is the meal that literally breaks your overnight fast. You’ll be more inclined to snack more/choose more unhealthy options if you skip breakfast. Yada, yada, yada. We’ve all heard it – how important breakfast is. But since it is so important shouldn’t we also be conscious of what the best selection for breakfast may be?

Lately I’ve been on this bagel kick. Usually I’m flying out the door and grabbing a bag of pre-measured dry cereal to eat on the go. But now my grab on the go breakfast has been a huge piece of bread – a soft, chewy bagel. YUM! So is it so bad that I have been craving this carbohydrate heavy bagel? Let’s break down a list of common breakfast foods.

Bagel – 1 plain bagel (Thomas plain bagels) yields 260 calories, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 9 grams of protein. The problem with bagels is that they are loaded with sugar spiking carbohydrates – 53 grams! A typical piece of toast has only 21 grams of carbohydrates for 1 slice (Dave’s Killer bread – white bread done right), and a low carbohydrate bread has approximately 8 grams per slice. A serving of cereal has on average 23 grams of carbohydrates.

Not only is the amount of carbohydrates high, the source of the carbohydrates typically come from refined flours, which are flours that have all of the B vitamins removed.

And who eats a plain bagel with no topping? The toppings can even further wreak your nutritional diet. Slathering on more nutrition empty calories.


Cereal – Phew. This is another exhaustive category that is super confusing to EVERYONE! Aren’t we all told that kid cereals are the worst for you? They are loaded with sugar, artificial flavors, etc. Well, in recent years there has been a good amount of reformulation that has existed. Let’s take a look.

Fruit loops are a classic kid cereal – bright colors and a toucan. That does not scream adult to me. Cracklin Oat Bran on the other hand, sounds eloquent, sophisticated, healthy. However, when compared directly to one another, the froot loops actually pull out on top, yielding less calories, fat and sugar. It is very important to read food labels, and not just pick something based on a name.

Cereal typically has a variety of vitamins and minerals added into the cereal, making it a decent choice for breakfast, as long as you stick to one serving. The problem with cereal is that it is typically again made with refined grains, and does not yield a lot of fiber per serving – leaving you to get hungry shortly after you eat your breakfast. This breakfast food certainly requires willpower to resist loading up on a bunch of snacks shortly after breakfast.

Eggs – Scrambled eggs, sunny side up eggs, however you prefer them, an egg is one of the most complete sources of protein. Eggs help you stay full longer and provide you with more lasting energy then the quick rise and crash provided from a bagel or cereal. A study done in 2007 from Louisiana State University looked at overweight women who were on a calorie restricted diet. One group ate eggs for breakfast, while the other ate bagels. Both had the same amount of calories in their breakfast foods. However, at the end of the 8 week session, the women who ate the eggs for breakfast lost more weight. This was because the group of women who ate eggs felt full longer, and hence snacked less than the group who ate bagels.

Fruit – Fruit is always touted as healthy due to its fiber and nutrients that it provides. And don’t get me wrong, it IS certainly healthy. But as a stand alone for a breakfast item, it is missing protein and fat to make it a complete meal. These missing items mean that the fruit by itself will not provide you with a full feeling for long, again lending one to snack more often. Pairing fruit with something like greek yogurt can add in a healthful source of protein to a breakfast meal.


That’s a tough question. It looks like eggs provide the most adequate meal as a stand alone itself. It provides protein and nutrients, like vitamin A, D and choline for brain health (a nutrient that is hard to come by in other foods).

On the other hand, it looks like my bagel craving may be one I need to put on the sidelines. While it is okay to have any of these food choices for breakfast, some should be reserved in limited quantities.

As always, in my book, everything boils down to moderation.

And I guess I can say, I’m glad I enjoy exercising!!

What is your favorite breakfast food?


5 thoughts on “Picking the Best Breakfast Food”

  1. I have been doing the whole 30 plan for several weeks, and breakfast is a big part of it- protein and veggies, maybe a little fruit. It was quite a change to my mindset! Now I typically fry an egg and just before it is done, I toss a handful of spinach or chard in the pan to heat up and sauté. Not a bagel, I am sad to say! I am getting used to it and I have to say, I am rarely hungry before lunch. So there is something to it. But if you can handle the carbs, put the egg on the bagel…

      1. I keep at it – of course I would rather grab a bagel, or stop at the local donut shop on the way to work, but eggs and sautéed greens are it, at least for the time being. 🙂 But yes, eggs keep me full. I imagine any protein would – hamburger comes to mind. A strange breakfast food, but not that different from hash, right?

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