Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper. Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, provides you with enough energy to make it through the day. Eating a delicious and nutritious breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, leading to better performance and health. By skipping this critical morning meal, you’re more likely to snack on unhealthy foods and less likely to meet the nutritional requirements. In addition, skipping breakfast compels your body to conserve extra calories rather than burning them.
We all grew up hearing that eating a balanced breakfast restores energy after a night’s fast. However, a study shows that those who regularly ate breakfast show better physical performance throughout their mornings than people who skip it. Furthermore, eating in the morning prevents glucose fluctuations and balances your blood sugar levels.
Popular Healthy Indian Breakfast Foods
Indian cuisine exhibits a diverse food culture laden with traditional and regional foods. As a result, breakfast in India differs from state to state, with distinct taste, preparation style, and nutritional value. Here are the top six healthy breakfast dishes which are worth trying.
1. Multigrain Paranthas
As the name says, multigrain parathas have equal quantities of different grains. You can find multigrain parathas made from millet, oats, Bajra, Jowar, chickpea, or whole wheat flour. It is a low-calorie, nutritious Indian flatbread that provides reasonable protein, B vitamins, and dietary fibres. Thus, multigrain parathas are nothing less than a healthy morning meal option.
2. Idli Sambar
Idli and sambhar are the perfect combinations of minerals, fibre, fats, proteins, and carbs. Considered one of the healthiest south Indian breakfast options, Idli is not oily or greasy. They’re steamed and do not involve butter filling or oil fry, making the calorie level relatively low. Furthermore, sambhar is a savoury stew packed with dal and multiple vegetables. We all know that dal is a good source of vegetarian protein.
Poha is a quick yet healthy breakfast packed with antioxidants, fibre, iron, proteins, and carbohydrates. Primarily made with beaten rice, you can add chunks of paneer, sprouted legumes, peanuts, grated carrots, and boiled peas. Around 76.9% of Poha is carbohydrates, providing you with sufficient energy to perform daily functions. Apart from this, Poha is gluten-free. So if you’re on a weight loss journey, then this Maharashtrian breakfast is filling and light on the stomach.
Light, filling, and easy to prepare, Upma is the quintessential South Indian breakfast. The protein-packed dish mainly consists of rice flour or dry semolina, ghee, mustard seeds, chilli, and onions. You may even add grated coconut, beans, nuts, carrots, and spices to enhance the flavour. A bowl of Upma is low in calories and cholesterol but provides you with healthy fats, vitamins, and fibre to kick start the day. Moreover, you don’t need to add more than one tablespoon of oil to make Upma.
Dhokla, the power-packed Gujarati dish, can be upgraded from its status as a snack item to a delicious breakfast. Since you prepare it from the fermented batter of besan or gram flour, dhokla serves as a good protein source. In addition, they’re steamed, not fried, thereby ensuring a low-calorie count. You can find dhokla in most breakfast buffets, and you can substitute it for oats and cornflakes. In addition, Dhokla can be made healthier by using sugar in moderation and adding semolina to elevate the phosphorus and magnesium levels.
6. Sprouts Salad
Replenish your morning by eating a low-fat and gluten-free mung sprouts salad. Excellent for summer breakfast, the salad made from mung sprouts is rich in vitamin B9, antioxidants, proteins, fibre, and zinc. You can pair it with poached or boiled eggs. There is no cooking process involved in preparing sprouts salad. The quick salad recipe can be nutritionally innovative by adding sweet potatoes, veggies, seeds, and peanuts.
South Indian vs North Indian Breakfast Foods
Fermented varieties dominate south Indian breakfast options. Fermented foods, for example, Idli, are easier to digest. Fermentation enables your body to break down vitamins and enhances the bioavailability of minerals. Furthermore, they’re good for your gut health by balancing the pH and assimilating more nutrition. In the North, the breakfast cuisine is represented mainly by flatbread, potato, ghee, and cauliflower. Breakfast in the South exists around rice, lentils, steaming, stews, and curry leaves. Much of what you find on the North Indian table during the morning is spinach, paneer, Samosa, rotis, and dried mango powder.
Ghee, a type of clarified butter, is essentially a cooking agent in North Indian foods. It is calorie-dense but adding a spoonful of ghee during morning meals provides heart-healthy fats. While you may find ghee-enriched breakfast in the North, most South Indian meals contain coconut. It can be coconut oil, coconut milk, dried, flaked, or grated coconut.
Studies have found that adding coconut oil to your diet may reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, what makes things amusing is that both North and South Indian breakfasts focus on spices and herbs.
So which one is better? In terms of flavour, both are equally competitive. However, South Indian breakfasts are healthier with comparatively less use of fats. In addition, they include healthy and light rice-based breakfast items with lower calorific content. On the other hand, North Indian breakfasts such as Naan, roti, and chapatis are light and healthy. Nonetheless, what you eat along with roti or paranthas makes the difference. The biggest downside is the minimal fermented food options in Northern breakfast.
Popular Healthy Western Breakfast Foods
Most of us think Western breakfast culture revolves around sweetened drinks, sugar-soaked cereals, or croissants. It is high time we should see beyond this stereotype. Here are the top six healthy Western breakfast foods you can welcome into your life.
The fluffy quinoa pancakes are gluten-free and packed with proteins. Instead of sweetened maple syrup, you can eat it with apples, bananas, blueberries, and melons. No other sugar is needed when you top it off with a blend of banana and vanilla. One serving of quinoa pancakes supplies all nine essential amino acids and an ample amount of fibre.
Lightly toasted whole-grain bread slices with sunny-side-up eggs or smashed avocado is a healthy dose of protein. In addition, you may find a hearty toast spread consisting of nutritional yeast, veggies, and nuts. Toast with nut butter has been a popular staple in the American morning diet. They contain natural, healthy fats that are good for your heart.
Berries and yoghurt smoothies are the healthiest options if you’re in a morning rush. A liquid of your choice, Greek yoghurt, fresh or frozen fruits, and five minutes of your time is sufficient to make healthy breakfast smoothies. In addition, you can receive reasonable nutrition from its ingredients. For instance, add protein powder, coconut milk for healthy fats, and fruit for vitamins.
Fruit and Yoghurt Parfait
Yoghurt parfait can be a morning fuel for your brain and body. It is good in taste, nutritionally adequate, and easy to make. Fruits in it are naturally healthy and provide a sweet taste, helping you to avoid added sugars. In addition, low-fat or fat-free yoghurt is an excellent source of probiotics, calcium, and protein.
Breakfast Muffins and Cookies
Cookies and muffins are delicious foods that you can have during your breakfast. However, you should refrain from having cream muffins or chocolate chip cookies. Instead, you can have oatmeal cookies or quinoa muffins. They are high in fibre and are a relatively high source of proteins. These moist little breakfast bites with almond butter and raisins provide you with healthy fats, carbs, and proteins. Plus, you may find them accompanied by banana, applesauce, and flaxseeds.
The breakfast list is not complete without mentioning eggs. First, blend or whisk eggs with your favourite veggies, cheese, milk, sausages, or cheese. Then, microwave it or cook using less oil to serve a healthy breakfast on your plate. The rich protein content in eggs makes them a dietary powerhouse. For egg recipes for breakfast, fluffy scrambled eggs are a go-to choice.
How to Healthify My Breakfast?
Adding more proteins is an easy way to start eating a balanced breakfast. Many breakfast options are low in protein. For example, you replace cereals with eggs. Or you can eat eggs with cereal or toast. It boosts your protein consumption as one large egg provides 6 grams of protein. The best vegetarian protein sources include beans, lentils, tofu, peanuts, almonds, and quinoa.
Choose Greek Yoghurt
Some studies suggest that a breakfast enriched with Greek yoghurt promotes fat loss. You can top it with berries and fruits. Moreover, Greek yoghurt is rich in probiotics, proteins, calcium, and B vitamins, making it a healthier substitute for sour cream and mayonnaise.
Say No to Granola Bars
Granola bars are not healthy as they claim to be. They might sound like an easy and nutritious breakfast option, but most granola bars are low in fibre and protein. In addition, you might be unintentionally consuming corn syrup, added sugars, and artificial sweeteners through these crunchy-looking bars. As a result, they would increase blood sugar levels.
Fruits for Breakfast
Which fruits are best for breakfast? The list is long. You may add oranges, bananas, kiwi, grapefruit, apples, plums, and berries. They’re nutritionally rich and incredibly filling. Whole fruits take to digest, making you feel fuller.
Studies say that soluble fibre in fruits helps you lose weight. However, remember, moderation is the key. Do not excessively consume fruits for breakfast as they’re relatively high in natural sugar.
Breakfast provides you with enough energy to sustain yourself through the day. Eating breakfast must be a delight, not a chore. The basic approach to your morning meal is to find what suits your needs and time. For example, beginning the lazy Sunday mornings with a French toast is relatively fast to prepare without compromising taste and benefits. In South India, fermented food is part of everyday breakfast. They tend to be a healthier choice.
There are varied Western breakfast options to start your mornings, such as muffins, oatmeal, quinoa pancakes, fruit bowls, smoothies, and yoghurt parfaits. Eggs are the clear winners due to their rich protein ratio. Talking about Indian breakfast, we’re well associated with Poha, dhokla, Idli, Upma, and much more! Regardless of the difference in taste and ingredients, eating any breakfast benefits you in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What’s the best breakfast for weight loss?
A. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Increasing your protein and fibre intake while reducing your carbohydrate intake is critical for weight loss. Breakfast options that will help you achieve your goal include Poha, Idli sambhar, upma, sprouts, eggs, smoothies, toast, fruits and Quinoa pancakes.
Q. What is the healthiest breakfast you can eat?
A. For a nutritious breakfast, try choosing whole and unprocessed foods from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. In addition, include foods like eggs, nuts and seeds, yoghurts or legumes for proteins. Some healthy breakfast options are multigrain paratha with curd, cooked oatmeal, moong dal Cheela, dosa etc.
Q. Is toast a healthy breakfast?
A. Yes, but it depends on the type of bread used. Toast is low in protein, fat, and nutrients but contains a reasonable amount of carbohydrates and fibre. So, a nutritious breakfast will usually require the addition of other items. For example, adding an egg or vegetables to your toast can give you the protein that helps you stay energised for the day. Adding fruit, such as avocado, is another excellent way to spice up plain toasts.
Q. Is egg on toast healthy?
A. Yes, whether they are poached, boiled, scrambled, or fried, eggs are a great option on wholegrain toast in the morning. That is because they provide a combination of both complex carbohydrates and protein.
Q. What should you not eat for breakfast?
A. Breakfast restores energy after a night’s fast, stabilises blood sugar, and jumpstarts your metabolism. Foods high in sugar or highly refined cereals can spike your blood glucose levels, leaving you feeling either hungry shortly after eating or uncomfortably full. Fruit juices, which you might consider healthy, are high in sugar and low in fibre, meaning it’s not particularly filling. Other foods you should avoid having in breakfast are- granola bars, energy drinks, packed food and candy bars.
Q. Should I skip breakfast to lose weight?
A. No, skipping breakfast will lead to weight gain. That is because your body has been starving all night, and if you continue to avoid food in the morning, your body will begin to crave sugary and fatty foods. Also, when you are hungry, you are likely to eat whatever you find without considering the number of calories you are consuming. Therefore, It will eventually lead to weight gain.
Q. What’s the best fruit for breakfast?
A. You can add oranges, bananas, kiwi, grapefruit, apples, plums, and berries, all types of fruits to breakfast. They’re nutrient-dense and highly filling. In addition, fruit’s fibre slows your body’s absorption of its sugars, providing you with a steady source of energy. However, remember that moderation is the key. Fruits are high in natural sugar. Hence, you should not consume them in excess.
Q. Are 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast healthy?
A. Yes, scrambled eggs are low in calories, high in protein and packed with nutrients that nourish your body and mind. They also contain vitamins and minerals, particularly iron and vitamin B-12, crucial for carrying oxygen to your tissues.
Q. How can kids eat a healthy breakfast?
A. Breakfast is important for children every day, but what they eat in the morning is equally important. So choose breakfast foods high in whole grains, fruits or vegetables, protein, and low in added sugar. Some options include- Colourful Dosa’s made of spinach, beetroot, carrot, Idlis, or a bowl of oatmeal loaded with their favourite fruits.
Q. Is a banana a good breakfast?
A. Yes, Bananas are high in fibre but low in calories and are an excellent alternative to sugary breakfast cereals for satisfying your sweet tooth first thing in the morning. One medium banana provides up to 12% of your daily fibre requirements in a single serving. You can eat bananas alone or as a topping for yoghurt or oatmeal. You can also add unripe, green bananas to your morning smoothie for a healthy dose of resistant starch.