How to Eat a Better Breakfast

A few weeks ago, I did a short phone interview with a woman writing an article on quick healthy swaps for the new year for the Washington Post Express, which is the free daily publication given out near the metros every morning in and around DC. My contribution? How to eat a better breakfast.


For those of you in the area, the article is in today’s issue (and here online), and features my #1 biggest health tip: add protein and fat to breakfast.


The biggest mistake that I see my AnneTheRD nutrition counseling clients making is filling up on refined carbohydrate-heavy breakfasts. They then find themselves starving an hour later, and not sure why. This also sets them up to be unsatisfied for most of the day, potentially leading to overdoing it later because they get overly hungry, which makes it harder to eat slowly and make nutritious decisions.

A simple fix? Add some protein and fat to breakfast.


For example, if you’re having oatmeal – make it with milk instead of water to add some protein, and add in some nuts, chia seeds, ground flaxseed, or other seeds for a little healthy fat boost. Another tip? Ditch the instant packets and use real rolled oats. They are just as easy to microwave, I promise, and you’ll get the benefit of more fiber and a less processed product with no fillers, too. (Try my Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal recipe if you haven’t yet! It’s ready in 2 minutes flat.)

If you’re having toast, add some nut butter to the mix, and consider choosing a higher protein, less refined bread, like Ezekiel brand (their cinnamon raisin is my favorite). Avocado is also great on toast in the mornings, either with or without a microwaved egg! (Just whisk an egg in a cooking-sprayed microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.)

Not super hungry, or in a really big rush? Try the classic banana + nut butter combination as you head out the door. That pairs quite nicely with an on-the-go latte, too!

For more ideas, check out a post I wrote last year: 4 Healthy, Quick, and Portable Breakfast Ideas.

How do you incorporate protein and healthy fat at breakfast?

Previous posts that might be of interest:


  1. 1
    Chris Anne Spehar says

    Great, was just wondering what to eat for bfast. Today I splurged and had half a baked sweet potato, and plain yougurt (that new brand from Whole Foods that has the exotic flavors like ginger (something creek I think)), w/kashi go lean grape nut looking buds and some ground flaxseed mixed in. Was quite tasty! I had the sweet potato b/c the medicine I am on to get rid of the bronchitis was making me sick, so I decided to eat a bit more. On the other hand, question, do you have any recommendations on the Garmin Vivofit? It hasn’t come out yet, and I was just curious since you rave about your Garmin watch/gps/mileage tracker. I’ve been wanting to get somethign to help encourage me to do more, assuming the bronchitis ever leaves my body! Thanks!

  2. 3

    Great tip, Anne! My breakfast are always full of healthy fats and protein via nuts!! Love your new profile pic, btw :)

  3. 5

    How cool – I glance through those when I’m commuting to DC. My favorite winter breakfast is oatmeal, almond milk, almonds, and a little honey and cinnamon. Does the trick :)

  4. 6

    Great tips! I can definitely tell the difference when I eat a breakfast with protein/fat or mostly carbs. My go-to for the colder months is oatmeal topped with fruit, chia seeds and sometimes PB. I like the suggestion of making it with milk too. I usually use water because I do steel cut oats, but there’s no reason I couldn’t sub in milk too.

  5. 8

    Congrats on the article!

  6. 9

    Nice article! I like Greek yogurt bowls with chia seeds, fruit, and nuts. I also like make my own breakfast sandwiches with eggs, ham, cheese and English muffins.

  7. 10

    I am a big believer of loading up on protein and fiber for breakfast. I have a big “yogurt parfait” with Greek yogurt, chia seeds, a handful of oats, some flax, and a handful of almonds. It keeps me full for nearly four hours! I’ve tried switching it up, but even when I put almonds, flax, and almond milk in my oatmeal, it doesn’t keep me full as long. Tina @ Carrots ‘n’ Cake actually just posted an oatmeal recipe using egg whites, which I’m definitely going to try. Has anyone else tried this?

    Yes, also love the new pic!

  8. 13

    How did your first class go? Mine isn’t for another two weeks…..a little more time to prepare, and I need it! Congrats on the article :)

  9. 15

    Breakfast is my favorite meal… and I pretty much have almond butter ever single morning. It is just so good! I like Trader Joe’s almond butter as great affordable almond butter….Sometimes almond butter can get a bit expensive at least in MA!

  10. 16

    I usually stick to adding egg whites to my oatmeal/oatbran mix as well as milk, then topping with nut butter. I’ve got homemade coconut butter & maple almond at the moment and it’s such a delicious breakfast!

  11. 17

    Teaching me how to build a better breakfast was one of the best things I learned as your client. Lately, I’ve been enjoying your Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal. Over the holiday, I splurged and made it with Almond Milk Egg Nog. :)

    I used to get distractedly hungry around 11:00am, and then enter the “chasing hunger death spiral”. Now, I last through the morning — no more sugar spikes — and the rest of the day’s eating just falls into place.

    Hmmm…. maybe breakfast really is the most important meal of the day?

  12. 20

    I’ve discovered the wonders of baked quinoa for breakfast! I love it baked with pumpkin and all sorts of yummy spices, then served with some chopped pecans and walnuts (and either chia seeds of flax) on top. So delicious AND filling!

  13. 22

    I also add peanut butter, nuts, chia or flax to my oatmeal! If I’m having a whole grain, high-fiber cereal I’ll also add similar toppings. Do you have suggestions for ways to get veggies into my breakfast? Aside from omelets since for some odd reason eggs don’t fill me up in the morning!

  14. 24

    Lately, I have been putting seared tofu on my toast at breakfast. It sounds a little odd, but I think it is comparable to toast with eggs (minus the cholesterol). I know tofu at breakfast isn’t for everyone, but I have been loving it!

  15. 26

    I eat mostly muesli, my favorite way is overnight soaking with milk. It makes a wonderful oatmeal without cooking! My favorite muesli add-ins are chia seeds, red quinoa puffs, ground flax seeds, raw wheat germ and I love fresh fruit on a top!

  16. 27

    Great tips missus! A breakfast isn’t complete without nut butter for me unless I go the savoury route with avocado and eggs!

  17. 28

    Great tip! It seems like so many people eat bowls of sugary cereal or instant oatmeal full of sugar for breakfast – I can’t start my day with pretty much any carbs or I’m just hungry all day! My usual breakfasts are either a hardboiled egg with 1 oz of cheese and blackberries/ raspberries or turkey sausage with scrambled eggs.

  18. 29

    Anne – congrats on the coverage!! Do you have any tips on how to pack rolled oats and milk for work? I definitely don’t have time to eat breakfast at home and would love to have oatmeal at work but don’t like the instant packages with water and find it hard to pack milk…ideas??

    • 30

      Thanks! When I used to work in an office, I kept milk in the fridge at work! I’d just buy a carton at the start of the week and leave it there. As for the rolled oats, just portion them out in 1/3 or 1/2 C servings into little ziplock baggies, plus some slivered almonds and cinnamon! Then throw a banana in your bag and you’re good to go. :)

  19. 31

    I can’t live without breakfast! If I don’t eat one I’ll get so mad!! The nut butter/banana is one of my favorites when I’m on time, the overnight oats too, or the cereal with bananas. I always look for easy and healthy options and try to include healthy fats, protein and carbs. :D

  20. 32

    Congrats on the article! That’s great! Couldn’t agree more with your advice :)

  21. 33

    It seems disgusting, but spread some avocado on toast with some salsa on top — it’s delicious!

  22. 35

    I have a bunch of great breakfast go-to’s that fill me up!
    My favorites are plain Greek yogurt (2% fat) with a little vanilla, maple syrup and flax seed, a smoothie with some vanilla protein, banana, nut butter, flax, berries, and spinach or Ezekiel toast with nut butter and sliced banana

  23. 36

    I know I keep on commenting on your microwave banana oatmeal but I eat it 5-7 times a week. I LOVE IT. I can never eat enough of it. I passed along the recipe to my friend two weeks ago and she now loves it and eats it at work a couple of times a week.

  24. 40
    Roadrunner says

    Breakfast is key! Kashi Heart-to-heart w/a sliced banana is an awfully good foundation, mixed with oatmeal from time to time, as well. (And coffee, of course!)

  25. 42

    eggs cooked in coconut oil or protein smoothies with flax, chia, or nut butters!

  26. 43

    Great tips! Congrats on the article :)

    I love Ezekiel and I eat their Sprouted Grain English Muffin every morning with almond butter and six egg whites. Keeps me going all morning!

  27. 44

    Brilliant Anne, I couldn’t agree more! Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day but a balanced meal is even more important. The tricks you’ve mentioned (adding milk to oatmeal, adding nut butter to your banana) really goes along when it comes to creating balanced nutritious meal. This is smart nutrition and is definitely something a lot more of us should be practicing. Thanks for the post!


  1. […] so glad you guys enjoyed my “How to Eat a Better Breakfast” post earlier this week! Here’s another tip: did you know that you can add an egg to oatmeal to […]

  2. […] Those who were interested swung by and listened about making sure to include not only an adequate amount of calories in breakfast so you don’t crash before lunch, but also some specific types of food paired together to increase satiety. Including a combination of protein (eggs, nuts, dairy, etc.), fiber (grains or veggies), and fruit in breakfast can go a long way in keeping you full. It was fun to get out and about and do something different, and those who talked to me got a free piece of fruit for listening. Want more tips? Check out my post from a couple weeks ago on How to Eat a Better Breakfast. […]

  3. […] How to Eat a Better Breakfast […]

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