Heart Healthy Breakfast: 10 Recipes To Start the Day

Eating breakfast is like filling your car with gas — when you wake up, your body needs fuel because there is nothing in your stomach yet. 

Breakfast is that first opportunity to fuel your body with nutrients for the long day ahead. Better yet, a healthy, well-balanced breakfast gives you the energy you need to take on the day efficiently. 

Breakfast is crucial for your overall wellness, but it can sometimes be hard to find the time to make something nutritious. Today, Able App is here with ten healthy breakfast recipes to keep you on track.

Why Is Breakfast Important?

If you skip breakfast, lunch becomes your first chance to fuel up for the day, right? Maybe so, but it likely won’t be as effective as you hope — consuming a meal earlier in the day can afford you better concentration and information retention. 

Studies show that those who eat breakfast are better able to consume essential vitamins and minerals, maintain a healthy body weight, get more movement, and perform better at work or school. 

At Able, we understand that a healthy weight is holistic and has many facets, including nutrition. Let us take you through some well-balanced breakfast options — from what it means to be heart-healthy to specific recipe ideas. We have the tools you deserve for a happier, healthier you. 

The change starts today.

What Does a Healthy Breakfast Entail?

Remember these five words: carbohydrates, fat, protein, fruit, and vegetables. 

You should keep these food groups in mind when shopping for breakfast items at the store. Careful, though. There are some caveats for making these options healthy.

Carbohydrates can be simple (sugars) or complex (starches, fiber, legumes, whole grains), and complex carbohydrates are more conducive to a healthy breakfast. Your body digests these carbohydrates less rapidly than simple carbohydrates, which means that you fuel yourself with energy that sustains you for longer periods to keep you feeling full.  

Fiber, in particular, works to curb your hunger; it takes your body a long time to break down fiber’s complex carbohydrates into simple sugars in your bloodstream. 

To keep your options healthy and full of fiber, you may want to limit your refined grains purchases. Refined options such as white flour and white rice are processed, which means that most of their nutrients and fiber are no longer present. Look for unrefined grains instead, because they still contain most of the nutrients that benefit your body. Choose whole-grain options like whole-grain bread or oats. 

When it comes to fats and proteins, you can opt for healthy fats such as plant-based oils or avocados and lean proteins like egg whites, legumes, nuts, and lean meat. Greasy, processed meats like sausage and bacon won’t serve you as well, and low-fat dairy options are a better call when you buy milk, yogurt, or cheese. 

You should also aim to consume around four to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, whether fresh, canned, or dried options. If you are an orange juice or other fruit juice drinker in the mornings, look for labels that indicate 100% fruit juice and avoid added sugars when you can. 

With these guidelines in mind, you are on the right path to start your day with a healthy breakfast that fortifies your body with long-lasting nutrients. 

How Can I Make Breakfast Heart-Healthy?

To make sure that your breakfast takes your heart’s health into account, make sure that you choose foods whose ingredients are prone to lower LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol often goes by its counterpart nickname “bad cholesterol” because it can stick to artery walls, threatening to narrow or sometimes even block passageways altogether in high amounts.  

High LDL cholesterol levels subsequently put you at a much greater risk for heart disease. Luckily, an easy way to prevent or target high LDL cholesterol levels is to make sure that your diet is heart-healthy, which means that it includes healthy fats, lean proteins, soluble fiber, and lots of fruits and veggies. 

Healthy Fats

Believe it or not, not all fat is bad! Fat is necessary for a nutritious, well-balanced diet because it yields energy and helps our body absorb certain vitamins. However, certain fats are more healthy than others. There are two main types of fat — saturated and unsaturated — and unsaturated fat is healthier than saturated fat. 

Saturated fats generally appear solid at room temperatures, such as butter, cheese, yogurt, and lard. Foods with high saturated fat contents derive from animals (think sausage, bacon, egg yolk, and full-fat dairy products) or coconut and palm oils. 

Unfortunately, saturated fat can raise your LDL level — more so than any other food ingredient. General recommendations suggest that total fat should account for no more than 35% of your diet, and only 7% of this 35% should come from saturated fat. 

You can trade many dairy products, meat, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried, and processed foods high in saturated fat content for unsaturated fats. These lower, healthier fat options can help lower or maintain an already healthy cholesterol level. 

Look for fats that are liquid at room temperature: oils from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and avocados all contain unsaturated fat to fuel your body properly. Omega-3 is an unsaturated fat present in oily fish such as salmon or trout, and it lowers LDL levels while helping raise HDL, or good, cholesterol levels. 

Lean Proteins, Soluble Fiber, and Fruits and Vegetables Galore

Consider leaving the bacon or salami on the shelf the next time you’re at the store and choosing tofu, soya, beans, or pulses as a healthier, less fatty protein alternative. Next to your plentiful fruit and vegetable supply in your shopping cart, you can leave room for legumes, whole-grain breads and cereals, and other foods that contain high soluble fiber contents. 

Soluble fiber is a heart health warrior because it blocks your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol, so LDL never gets the chance to enter your bloodstream and clog up your arteries. You can even find fruits rich in fiber, such as apples, bananas, pears, and prunes. 

10 Heart-Healthy Recipes

Just because breakfast requires a little planning and thinking ahead to ensure that heart health is supported does not mean preparation must be difficult or lengthy. 

A heart-healthy breakfast can be easy to prepare! 

It is helpful to make sure you have all the ingredients for the week in advance to make heart-healthy breakfast a daily habit — and soon a consistent lifestyle change. 

1. Yogurt Bowl or Parfait

Dish up one serving of low-fat Greek yogurt or low-sugar vanilla yogurt, and top with mixed berries (fresh or frozen works!), mixed nuts, and a little bit of brown sugar or honey drizzle. 

Alternative: Make a yogurt parfait, with low-fat yogurt as the base, whole-grain granola as the next layer, fruit as the third layer, and repeat each layer once. Top with mixed nuts, coconut shavings, or a honey drizzle. Try mixing up your fruit options (instead of your typical strawberries and blueberries, try raspberries or mangos!) 

2. Toast

Toast two pieces of whole-grain bread and eat with your favorite low-fat unsalted nut butter spread. Have it with a bowl of fresh fruit on the side. 

Alternative: try topping with mashed avocado, salt, pepper, and an olive oil drizzle. You can even add a poached egg or some scrambled egg whites for a protein boost and some cooked spinach for some vegetable action. 

3. Bagel and Nut Butter

Enjoy a delicious toasted whole-grain bagel topped with your favorite nut butter spread, some banana slices, a sprinkle of whole-grain granola, and a honey drizzle. You can even add a dash of cinnamon. 

Alternatives: Make your own breakfast sandwich with a toasted whole wheat bagel as the base, some lettuce and tomato, a slice of lean meat, a few avocado slices, low-fat cheese, and some low-fat mayonnaise or hot sauce. If you want to incorporate more omega-3s into your diet, try an open-faced bagel with low-fat cream cheese spread and smoked salmon slices on top. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs such as cilantro or parsley. 

4. Oatmeal

Make a delicious oatmeal bowl. Try mixing in a few drops of vanilla extract, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or your favorite nut butter into the base. Add some ground flax or chia seeds to boost your heart health. To make your oat base extra creamy, soak it overnight in water or low-fat milk.

The topping choices abound here! Try some unsalted nuts, dried fruits, seeds, low-sugar dark chocolate chunks, baked apples or pears, berries, or other fruits. For some unique combinations, try pistachios with peaches, whole-grain granola, and a honey drizzle; pomegranate seeds and blueberries with almond and pecan bits; or raspberries with slivered almonds, almond extract, and dark chocolate chunks. 

Alternative: cereal low in sugar and high in fiber, with low-fat milk and fresh fruit on the side. Make sure that the first, or one of the first few, ingredients is whole-grain and that there are more than 4 grams of fiber in addition to less than 6 grams of sugar. If you choose wisely, you can find a tasty cereal chock full of fiber to keep you full for the morning!

5. Omelet

Make your own omelet with eggs, or to be even more heart-healthy, skip the yolks and just use egg whites. Keep your base plain, with just eggs, or add in a little bit of low-fat milk and cheese. Use a lot of veggies, including leafy greens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions. Drizzle with olive oil, and enjoy salsa or hot sauce on the side. 

Alternative: scrambled eggs with low-fat cheese and milk, diced vegetables, and avocado chunks, and a bowl of fresh fruit on the side. You can also make your eggs hard-boiled if you would like a more portable, on-the-go option for your morning.  

6. Whole Wheat Pancakes

Use whole wheat flour to make delicious pancakes. Try a little bit of your favorite nut butter, a honey drizzle, and some fresh fruit for toppings. Get creative with the combinations — try peanut butter banana pancakes, strawberry and low-sugar dark chocolate, or blueberry and chia seeds. Eat with extra fresh fruit on the side. 

Alternatives: french toast with whole wheat bread, cinnamon, and vanilla, or crispy waffles with whole wheat flour and toppings of your choice. 

7. Southwest Breakfast Bowl

Use a whole-grain base, like brown rice or quinoa. Set aside, and sautee some kale, spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, garlic, and beans in a pan with vegetable oil. Pour over rice base, and top with avocado slices and fresh salsa. For extra protein, add some egg whites on top as well. 

8. Breakfast Burritos

Use a whole grain/ whole wheat tortilla as your base (slightly warm it in the oven or over the stovetop for best results!). Add in sauteed veggies, beans, avocado pieces, cooked egg whites, and salsa, and wrap up your tortilla before enjoying. 

9. Banana Bread

Make whole-grain banana bread with whole wheat flour and walnut pieces; opt for low or non-fat milk, and make sure you also use canola or vegetable oil for the batter. You can even add low-sugar dark chocolate chunks. 

Alternative: whole wheat muffins with whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and unsweetened applesauce. Opt for low or non-fat milk, and make sure you also use canola or vegetable oil. 

10. Fruit Smoothie

Throw your favorite fruits in the blender and add some plain yogurt (low or non-fat and low sugar), ground flax seeds, vanilla, and honey before mixing and enjoying. This is a wonderful way to increase your fruit servings for the day, and you can even sneak in some vegetables like kale or spinach to disguise their taste, as well as some green tea for a real superfood smoothie. 

Alternative: turn your smoothie into a smoothie bowl for an added boost: blend and pour into a bowl for the base. Add whole-grain granola as the next layer, and then a third layer of sliced fruits or fruit pieces. Top with coconut shavings, chia seeds, and a honey drizzle.

Change Starts Today with Able

At Able, we understand that weight management is holistic and a healthy lifestyle has many facets. 

A nutritious, well-balanced diet is crucial to your health and well-being, especially when it comes to starting your day off right with a heart-healthy breakfast. Feel like yourself again and get ready for a happier, healthier you with these recipes to jumpstart your day and leave you feeling good. 

Get your nutrition plan now with Able. 

Sources

Healthy breakfast: Quick, flexible options | Mayo Clinic

What Should I Eat? | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health 

Benefits of Breakfast | Healthy UNH 

5 On-the-Go Hearty, Heart-Healthy Breakfast Ideas | Cleveland Clinic

Carbohydrates | American Heart Association 

How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet | MedlinePlus

Cholesterol Myths and Facts | CDC