5 Breakfasts That Warm Up Your Brain


Eating whole-grain oats will keep you alert through the morning. See more food guide pictures.“Eating whole-grain oats will keep you alert through the morning. See more food guide pictures.Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

We’ve heard it a million times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That’s not just your mom trying to get you to eat your scrambled eggs. Breakfast really is important. Because breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, people who eat breakfast tend to have a healthier body weight. But did you know that breakfast also jump-starts your brain?

Of course, we’re talking about a proper breakfast — not a bowl full of sugary cereal (aka empty calories). If you eat the right kind of breakfast, you’ll be more alert, energetic and mentally sharp during the day. The keys to a healthy breakfast are protein and whole grains. Let’s take a look at the best meals to kick off your day.


  1. Oatmeal
  2. Eggs
  3. Peanut Butter on Whole-grain Toast
  4. Greek Yogurt
  5. Dinner for Breakfast

5: Oatmeal

When you sleep at night, you’re essentially fasting. Hence the word "breakfast" — breaking your fast. When you wake up, your brain needs a fresh supply of blood sugar (or glucose). Even though a sugary breakfast will increase your blood sugar quickly, you’ll also experience a crash a couple of hours later.

Whole-grain oatmeal (like all whole grains), on the other hand, absorbs slowly into the body. Instead of spiking, your blood sugar will rise at a slow and steady rate.

Studies show that children who ate oatmeal for breakfast scored up to 20 percent higher on tests than children who ate sugary cereal. This supports the theory that dips in blood sugar affect memory and concentration.

4: Eggs

Eggs are a traditional breakfast choice, but also a smart one. They’re high in protein, and since protein takes longer for your body to digest, you feel full longer. That means you’re less likely to reach for sugary snacks in between breakfast and lunch, which not only aids with weight control, but helps keep your blood sugar and mental alertness at healthy levels.

Egg whites especially contain the purest form of protein around. The high quality of egg protein helps the body better absorb it. Eggs are also chock-full of vitamins and minerals, which are necessary compounds to keep your body and mind working together.

Maybe Not a la Mode

In the early 19th century, a typical breakfast was a slice of hearty apple pie.

3: Peanut Butter on Whole-grain Toast

Besides being delicious, this breakfast packs an energy punch. With the peanut butter, you get the benefits of protein (you feel more sated than you would had you eaten a sugary pastry). With the toast, you get the whole-grain goodness that keeps your blood sugar from spiking and regulates it throughout the morning.

Top your toast with some sliced banana and you’ll add even more valuable vitamins — especially potassium, which helps keep the brain oxygenated for clearer thinking and minimized stress.

2: Greek Yogurt

Yogurt for breakfast is nothing new, but Greek yogurt is skyrocketing in popularity. Not only does it have twice the protein as regular yogurt, but it’s richer and creamier than regular yogurt. The extra protein will leave you feeling more satisfied throughout the morning.

Greek yogurt is also lower in carbohydrates. The carbohydrates in a doughnut or bagel will cause you to crash later in the day. And we know already that a sugar crash comes with decreased mental alertness. Add some fruit or almonds to your yogurt for enhanced flavor and healthy fat.

Simply Radishing

Radishes are a common breakfast item in Japan. The Pennsylvania Dutch enjoy them as well.

1: Dinner for Breakfast

Why not shake things up and have dinner for breakfast? There are certainly no rules saying you can’t. And if you’re bored of eating the same old morning meal every day, dinner for breakfast will keep things interesting.

Of course, we’re not talking cold pizza or reheated wings. Think about a baked potato with plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, sprinkled with chives. Or a hearty vegetable soup with some whole-grain crusty bread on the side. How about a high-protein veggie burger on a wheat tortilla? The sky’s the limit!

For more about breakfast and other foods, check out the links on the next page.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • 10 Tips for Making the Perfect Cupcakes
  • 10 Things Your Grocer Doesn’t Want You to Know
  • 5 Great Kitchen Toys for Summer Cooking
  • Top 10 Unexpected Cake Ingredients
  • 5 Tips for Baking the Perfect Cookie


  • Aubrey, Allison. "A Better Breakfast Can Boost a Child’s Brainpower." National Public Radio. Aug. 31, 2006. (July 31, 2010) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5738848
  • "Breakfast." FoodReference.com. 2010. (July 31, 2010) http://www.foodreference.com/html/fbreakfast.html
  • Davis, Jeanie Lerche. "Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast." WebMD. 2005. (July 31, 2010) http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-eat-breakfast
  • Edmonds, CJ and Smith, T. "Potassium." Ithyroid.com. March 1992. (July 31, 2010) http://www.ithyroid.com/potassium.htm
  • Ovrut, Janel. "Breakfast for Your Brain and Body." SuperKids Nutrition. 2010. (July 31, 2010) http://www.superkidsnutrition.com/nutrition_answers/mt_breakfastbrain.php
  • Picotte, Heather. "Breakfast Epiphanies." Alive. November 2003. (July 31, 2010) http://www.alive.com/1562a4a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=83
  • Schwader, Ashley. "Benefits of Greek Yogurt." Livestrong.com. Feb. 23, 2010. (July 31, 2010) http://www.livestrong.com/article/86488-benefits-greek-yogurt/
  • Stefanov, Sebastien. "The Truth About Eggs." AskMen.com. 2010. (July 31, 2010) http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_60/66_eating_well.html
  • Zelman, Kathleen. "The Many Benefits of Breakfast." MedicineNet.com. Aug. 30, 2007. (July 31, 2010) http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50736


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here