Breakfast gets your day started, as your body brushes off sleep and starts getting those nutrients it needs to feel fresh and alert. Yet, a croissant or small bowl of sugary cereal probably won’t give you the proper fuel you need.
What you really want to do is incorporate protein, iron, and good fats can keep energy high and steady, and adding in proper nutrients that are specific to men, as well, can take your first big meal of the day one step further.
Here are the top foods men should eat at breakfast for a bright and productive day. And while you’re at it, be sure you’re trying your hand at the 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time!
Fresh tomatoes are a perfect addition to an omelet or breakfast sandwich, or even canned for use in a Shakshuka for brunch.
“In addition to providing vitamin C and potassium, tomatoes are also known for their high content of lycopene, a phytochemical antioxidant associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer,” says Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN.
“Naturally salt brined lox can pair nicely with some whole grain crackers and a piece of fruit for a quick and nutrient rich breakfast,” says Jones.
Salmon offers both omega 3s and vitamin D, which are both important for immune health and keeping inflammation at bay. “Just watch out for the processing of your salmon as the American Institute for Cancer Research groups smoked salmon (made differently than lox) with processed meats that they recommend avoiding,” Jones adds.
Oats are an easy and customizable breakfast staple, offering 5 grams of fiber per serving.
“Oats are well known for containing soluble fiber, the type that contributes to reduced blood cholesterol levels, which men should be more mindful of as they age, regardless of activity level or hereditary risk,” says Jones.
If you don’t love kale in a salad, try sautéing some and adding to an omelet or frittata that you can make while meal prepping for the week, as it won’t be as tough in texture.
“Kale is high in vitamins A, C, and K which all contribute to immune health, with higher contributions from A and C when it comes to both acute immune health and long term protection from disease,” says Jones. Additionally, it’s rich in a variety of antioxidants, from carotenoids and polyphenols, which support eye health and protect the body from free radical damage to cells.
Whole eggs are an excellent source of high quality protein, much of which is in the yolk, along with 13 other essential nutrients.
“The choline in egg yolks is involved in cellular reactions including muscle contractions, while lutein and zeaxanthin support eye and brain health, which all makes should be mindful of as they age,” says Jones.
Whip up a whole egg omelet or scramble with protein and veggies.
It’s important for men to have a good amount of protein at breakfast, and some men need a heartier breakfast in particular, especially if they’ve just broken a sweat.
“Turkey sausage is significantly lower in calories and fat vs. pork sausage and it can be very filling and great fuel for a workout,” says Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, CDN.
“The healthy fat in the nut butter can keep you satiated for hours and it can also keep your blood sugars stable and prevent over eating later on,” says Schapiro.
Another upside? Many nut butters are great for managing cholesterol. Try almond, peanut or cashew on whole grain toast or in yogurt or oatmeal.
“Pairing whole grain bread with a healthy fat like avocado is a great breakfast since the whole grain bread is rich in fiber to keep you full plus the avocado also has fiber and is great for your heart,” says Schapiro. Or enjoy avocado with eggs, in a salad, or in a grain bowl.
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, which can keep you full.
“Yogurt is a good source of probiotics which is great for gut health, too,” says Schapiro, and “the potassium in Greek yogurt can also help to prevent high blood pressure.” Add nuts and seeds with fresh berries for a complete meal.
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Cottage cheese is a rich source of protein, which is great for muscle building, and it is naturally salty to help replenish electrolytes after a workout.
“It contains vitamins such as B12 and selenium and calcium which keeps your bones strong,” says Schapiro.