These are 32 of the best foods to have first thing in the morning, for a deliciously healthy start to the day

After a nutritious breakfast upgrade? These are the best foods to have first thing in the morning...

Healthy breakfasts
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Find inspiration in the best foods to have first thing in the morning if you're stuck on what to have for breakfast. While the first meal of the day can often be an afterthought - particularly if you have to rush out of the door for work or the school run - consuming nutritious foods early on can help get your body and mind off to a great start.

From eggs and berries to whole grain toast and yoghurt, there are many foods likely to already be stocked in your kitchen that can be thrown together for a nourishing breakfast. However, there are other nutritious items - like grapefruit, chia seeds and feta - that you may not have considered rustling up in the morning, but which will fuel you up just as effectively.

Whatever you decide to munch on for breakfast, the ideal ingredients are those able to sustain energy levels as well as brain power, and which may contribute to long-term health. While it's tempting to eat the same thing every morning, where possible try to enjoy a variety of different foods - particularly if you're looking to improve your gut health - and these 32 items should give you plenty of choice...

32 of best foods to have first thing in the morning


Scrambled eggs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's a good reason why eggs are a classic breakfast staple - whether scrambled, poached, fried or hard-boiled. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that those who ate them on toast as part of their first meal of the day experienced significantly less hunger compared to others who consumed bran cereal. It's thanks to their naturally higher protein content, which promotes feelings of fullness.


Porridge with blueberries and banana

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Porridge is a great warming breakfast on chilly days, and it's a nutritious powerhouse too. Research from the National Institute of Public Health in Poland has shown that oats - which contain a kind of soluble fibre called beta-glucan - can help lower cholesterol as well as glucose levels while also keeping you feeling full all morning. What's more, you can keep your tastebuds excited by mixing up the toppings. 

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt with fig and nuts

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Greek yoghurt is a great food to kick off your day with - and not just because it's versatile and can be topped with everything from fruit to granola. It is naturally high in protein and will therefore keep your energy levels up until lunch. What's more, it will also help keep your tummy at ease since it is also one of the best gut-healthy foods around - there's evidence it contains probiotics - like the 'good' bacteria Bifidobacteria - which can aid digestion.

Chia seeds

Chia seed pudding with strawberries

(Image credit: Getty Images)

They not only give serious crunch when sprinkled on yoghurt or porridge, but chia seeds are a game-changer if you're wondering how to get more fibre in your diet. According to research published in Molecules journal, the key macronutrient helps promote satiety - so you won't get peckish mid-morning - and it also normalises bowel movements by keeping food moving along the digestive tract, helping keep you regular.


Bowl of blueberries

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Few fruits pack more of a nutritious punch than blueberries which are, of course, delicious when thrown onto pancakes or into a smoothie. As well as being high in fibre, they are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins - of which there's evidence that they can reduce the likelihood of conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Whole grain toast

Whole grain toast with nut butter and fruit

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In a rush in the morning? You can't go wrong with a couple of slices of whole grain toast - which can be jazzed up with things like nut butter to suit any taste. It is high in fibre, which a study published in BMJ found was linked to healthy weight management - it helps promote satiety and was less likely to spike blood sugar compared to simple carbohydrates such as white toast.


Nuts with blueberries and fig on Greek yoghurt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nuts are one of the most useful items in your kitchen cupboard. The likes of almonds and cashews can be used as a breakfast topping or as a standalone snack if you're rushing out the door. They contain protein, 'good' fats and fibre - helping boost feelings of fullness - and an umbrella review linked eating a handful a day to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Nut butter

Nut butter on toast and banana

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Give your toast or porridge a nutritious boost with a dollop of nut butter, such as almond or cashew. Not only will it add flavour to your breakfast, but nuts are packed with nutrients such as 'good' fats, magnesium and potassium. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that those who consumed them more than seven times per week had a 20 per cent lower risk of death compared to those who went without. The authors of the study, which was conducted over 30 years, were keen to note that the large study cannot definitively prove cause and effect - but it does, nonetheless, prove the health benefits of regularly eating nuts.


Flaxseed with nuts and apple on Greek yoghurt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When sprinkled on yoghurt or blended into smoothies, flaxseed is an easy way to add more omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fibre into your diet. A study in the Journal of Nutrition linked them to lower cholesterol levels, while further research from Integrative Cancer Therapies indicated that they might be protective against breast cancer.


Bananas and nut butter on porridge

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bananas have long been a breakfast go-to - and for good reason. The fruit, which is easily consumed on the go, can also be sliced up and added to porridge or toast. They are very rich in a nutrient called potassium, which can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese on toast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While it might be a more unusual food to kickstart your day with, cottage cheese on toast is a smart way to stay fuelled up until lunch - and is especially ideal if your goal is to slim down, since various studies have linked the food to healthy weight loss. As well as being among the best high-protein, low-calorie foods, it is also packed with calcium and vitamin B12.

Protein shake

Strawberry protein shake

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Protein shakes are a godsend for those who are short on time in the morning or who prefer a lighter breakfast. You can mix one of the best protein powders for women with ingredients like fruit and nut milk - and it's even better consumed alongside strength training workouts, with research from BMJ showing that macronutrient helps build lean muscle mass.


Avocado on toast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are few more iconic breakfasts than avocado on toast. As well as being naturally delicious, the fruit also helps you feel full all morning long thanks to its high fibre content and levels of 'good' fats. What's more, a clinical trial run by Penn State University found that the latter has also been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.


Spinach omlette

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spinach is a savvy addition to savoury breakfasts, whether in a green smoothie or omelette. One Danish study found that eating one handful of the leafy green vegetable per day could lower the risk of heart disease by 26 per cent thanks to its nitrate contents. It's also one of the foods rich in magnesium which is important for sleep.


Honey on pancakes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Those who favour a sweet breakfast would do worse than to drizzle on a bit of honey while whipping up pancakes or porridge. There is evidence that the kitchen cupboard staple is rich in polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties and could therefore reduce the severity of chronic inflammatory diseases - including some cancers and autoimmune conditions. 


Apple and berries on porridge

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Apples may not be the trendiest of breakfast fruit, but they are a super easy way to give your morning a nutritious boost - whether eaten on their own, dunked into nut butter or as a porridge topping. 

Orange juice

Orange juice

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If there's one drink that is a morning classic, it's orange juice. The beverage, when of the freshly squeezed variety, is naturally high in vitamin C - which is important for immune function and cardiovascular health.


Grapefruit juice

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want to mix things up with your fruit bowl? Try adding grapefruit to your morning routine - A study in Food and Nutrition research has linked it to higher levels of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and fibre.


Strawberries on pancakes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Not only do they look pretty on top of pancakes or porridge, but strawberries serve up great nutritional value too. The fruit is packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which a UC study has found are associated with improved brain power and may help prevent dementia later in life.

Almond milk

Almond milk

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're looking for a plant-based alternative to milk for your morning coffee or smoothie, then almond milk is not only dairy-free but it contains a high amount of anti-inflammatory vitamin E. 


Watermelon in a fruit salad

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Try adding watermelon to your breakfast repertoire. The fruit has been shown by research to be linked to a better intake of fibre, magnesium, potassium and vitamin A. Meanwhile, another study in Nutrients Journal found daily intake led to lower appetite and BMI, which could be helpful if you're wondering how to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way.


Feta and peach on toast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you're sprinkling it onto toast or shakshuka for brunch, feta can add yummy flavour to your morning meal. The salty cheese is packed with calcium, phosphorus and protein, which are important for bone health - particularly vital for women going through the menopause.


Papaya in an acai bowl

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Papaya is more than just an eye-catching topping to an acai bowl. It is high in antioxidants, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes - as well as fibre which can help lower cholesterol.

Acai bowl

Acai bowls

(Image credit: Getty Images)

They are one of the prettiest breakfasts around, but acai bowls are more than just a feast for the eyes. As a blended-up version of acai berries, they come high in fibre and antioxidants, as well as vitamin C, manganese and potassium. In particular, they have been found by IJBS research to help neutralise free radicals which may cause cell damage.


Green smoothie

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Smoothies are a great option if you often find yourself pushed for time in the morning, whatever combination of fruit and veg you find in your fridge. However, one study from the University of California found that bananas should not be consumed along with berries and grapes because the combination could impact the absorption of flavonoids, which are important for memory and things like heart ageing.   


Stack of pancakes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you've got a bit more time on the weekend, then pancakes might be the perfect morning meal - providing a versatile base to be dressed up with nutritious toppings like berries and honey. Protein pancakes, made by adding protein powder to the mix, can also help aid weight loss - with research showing that supplementing with the macronutrient reduces cravings and overeating.


Fried egg on asparagus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Asparagus is an unsung hero when it comes to breakfast. Yet, the humble green vegetable is high in antioxidants - such as vitamins C and E, as well as flavonoids and polyphenols. Not only that, studies published in the International Journal of Food Science & Technology suggest that the cooking process triggers a boost in antioxidant activity of 16 per cent - which is important for reducing inflammation.


Smoked salmon and cream cheese on toast

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Want to enhance your brain power? Smoked salmon, a core component of the Mediterranean diet, is a breakfast must-have when it comes to cognitive function. The fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which research has found can help ward off age-related memory decline.  


Glass of milk

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Milk remains a morning go-to for good reason. The dairy drink is rich in protein, potassium, B12, calcium and vitamin D, with plenty of vitamin A, magnesium and zinc too. It's important for bone and muscle health, too.


Tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Few things say breakfast like tomatoes - whether on top of toast or in a shakshuka. Luckily, the kitchen favourite serves up plenty of health benefits too - including a high level of carotenoids, which a study has found can lower the risk of breast cancer in women.


Granola and berries on Greek yoghurt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Depending on the granola you choose, the popular topping for yoghurt and acai bowls can provide great fuel for your morning. Options that include ingredients like nuts, seeds and oats are higher in fibre, which can aid satiety and help you feel fuller for longer.

Kiwi fruit

Kiwi and granola on Greek yoghurt

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kiwi is a great topping to yoghurt or mixed into a fruit salad, providing a delicious tang to breakfast. It is particularly high in vitamin C - with one study showing that the nutrient helps fight against oxidative damage, which is the source of many chronic health conditions.

Lauren Clark

Lauren is a freelance writer and editor with more than six years of digital and magazine experience. In addition to she has penned news and features for titles including Women's Health, The Telegraph, Stylist, Dazed, Grazia, The Sun's Fabulous, Yahoo Style UK and Get The Gloss. 

While Lauren specializes in covering wellness topics—ranging from nutrition and fitness, to health conditions and mental wellbeing—she has written across a diverse range of lifestyle topics, including beauty and travel. Career highlights so far include: luxury spa-hopping in Spain, interviewing Heidi Klum and joining an £18k-a-year London gym.