When we asked you to send in your favorite healthful morning meals, we were deluged with hundreds of delicious ideas. Apparently, Shape readers aren't among the 25 percent of Americans who skip breakfast! Good thing too. Research conducted by the University of Colorado and the National Weight Control Registry on the lifestyle habits of almost 3,000 people who lost 30 or more pounds (and kept it off for a year or more) shows that eating breakfast on a regular basis is one of the best indicators of weight-loss success. So in honor of our 21st anniversary, we've selected 21 of the easiest, most nutritious and inspired breakfasts submitted by real-life SHAPE readers in seven categories.
1. Whole-Grain Waffles With Yogurt and Strawberries: Toast 2 commercial whole-grain waffles. Top with 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt and 1/2 cup sliced strawberries. Nutrition Score: 373 calories, 11 g fat.
"If I'm feeling decadent, I drizzle pure maple syrup on top for a yummy treat."
-- Daphne Shafer, Morehead City, N.C.
2. Tomato and Cheese English Muffin: Top a whole-grain English muffin with 2 ounces lowfat Cheddar cheese and 2 tomato slices. Broil until cheese melts. Nutrition Score: 242 calories, 5 g fat.
"It's quick and has a serving of grains, dairy and vegetables."
-- Susan Ackermann, Ellendale, N.D.
3. Peanut Butter Melt: Spread 2 slices of toasted whole-wheat bread with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat peanut butter. Nutrition Score: 320 calories, 14 g fat.
"The gooey melted peanut butter takes a while to eat, so breakfast lasts longer."
-- Pauline Wagnor, Fairlawn, Ohio
Our nutrition expert says "Whole-grain bread products contain more fiber than plain ol' white bread," says Jackie Nugent, R.D., a New York City-based nutrition and culinary consultant. "Dietary fiber increases chewing satisfaction, while it provides no calories!"
4. Becky's Egg and Red Pepper Sandwich: Scramble 2 eggs with 1 teaspoon red pepper on a griddle covered with butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray. Serve on a whole-grain English muffin. Nutrition Score: 245 calories, 15 g fat.
"This quick breakfast supplies energizing protein."
-- Becky Thackston, Hiram, Ga.
5. Guiltless Bacon and Eggs: In a skillet covered with nonstick cooking spray, scramble 4 egg whites with 2 ounces grated lowfat Cheddar cheese and 1 strip turkey bacon. Nutrition Score: 196 calories, 6 g fat.
"This satisfying breakfast fuels me all day long."
-- Kelly Sullivan, Yonkers, N.Y.
6. Egg and Veggie Sausage Wrap: Scramble 2 egg whites and fry 1 veggie sausage link in separate skillets coated with nonstick cooking spray. Drain the sausage on a paper towel and slice onto a whole-wheat tortilla. Cover with eggs and 1 tablespoon ketchup, and roll up. Nutrition Score: 219 calories, 3 g fat.
"It's tasty, low-calorie and very filling!"
-- Liza Zaracko, Vineland, N.J.
Our nutrition expert says "Egg whites and turkey bacon or veggie sausage are good sources of lean protein that stick with you," says nutritionist Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D, author of More Healthy Homestyle Cooking (Rodale, 2000). "To balance it out a little more, add a slice or two of whole-grain toast and some fresh fruit."
Best Breakfast Bowls
7. Kashi, Fruit and Soy Milk: Combine 3/4 cup Kashi cereal, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries and 1 cup soy milk. Nutrition Score: 194 calories, 6 g fat.
"When I'm rushed, I put cereal in an oversized mug with fruit and soy milk, and eat while getting my kids ready."
-- Kathleen Allen, Evergreen, Colo.
8. Texas Peanut Butter Crisp: Microwave 1 tablespoon of reduced-fat creamy peanut butter for 30 seconds. Drizzle over a cup of Fiber 1 cereal topped with 1 medium sliced banana. Nutrition Score: 309 calories, 8 g fat.
"This breakfast is like a Rice Krispies treat with peanut butter!"
-- Paula Felps, Lewisville, Texas
9. Classic Cereal Combo: 1/2 cup bran cereal with 1/2 cup shredded frosted mini-wheat cereal and 1 cup skim milk. Nutrition Score: 251 calories, 2 g fat.
"For variety and taste, I mix two different cereals in my bowl every morning. My favorite combos include All-Bran with Kellogg's Mini-Wheats, and Raisin Bran with Total."
-- Amy Rhodes, Owego, N.Y.
Our nutrition expert says "I recommend cereal combining," Nugent says. "It allows you to enjoy the taste of your favorite cereal, which may not be all that high in fiber, with a cereal that really packs in the fiber but perhaps isn't one of your favorites. You'll get the best of both cereal worlds -- great taste plus plenty of fiber."
10. Healthy Breakfast Sandwich: Microwave a meatless hamburger patty. Cover the patty with a 1-ounce slice of lowfat Cheddar cheese and place on an English muffin. Nutrition Score: 311 calories, 5 g fat.
"I take this breakfast to work instead of fast food."
-- Sabine H. Lien, Winter Park, Fla.
Our nutrition expert says "Look for patties with 3 grams of fat or less per 100 calories," says Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D, author of The Origin Diet (Henry Holt, 2002).
11. Cinnamon-Apple Bake: Place peeled slices of 1 medium apple in a bowl; top with 1/2 cup bran cereal and a dash of cinnamon. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Nutrition Score: 167 calories, 2 g fat.
"This breakfast is like a healthy microwaved apple crisp."
-- Mirella Mosca, Maple, Ontario, Canada
12. Egg Whites and Spinach: Microwave 3 egg whites and 1/2 cup defrosted frozen spinach for 2 minutes and add a pinch of black pepper. Nutrition Score: 83 calories, 0 g fat.
"Adding half of a Red Bliss potato gives egg whites and spinach more oomph!"
-- Patricia Granata, Baltimore
Simply Delicious Smoothies
13. Homemade "Ice Cream" Smoothie: Blend 1 cup fresh fruit, 2 cups skim milk, one 3-ounce package instant nonfat vanilla pudding mix and 1 cup crushed ice for 45 seconds. Makes 4 servings. Nutrition Score (1 cup): 100 calories, 1 g fat.
"I get some of my daily fruit and dairy needs with this smoothie."
-- Mackenzie Taylor-McLaine, Dewey Beach, Fla.
14. Tofu Shake: Blend 1 cup orange or pineapple juice with 31/2 ounces firm or silken tofu and 1/2 cup fruit until smooth. Nutrition Score (1 cup): 342 calories, 4 g fat.
"This shake is great after my morning workout!"
-- Lillian Breen, Natick, Mass.
15. Yogurt-Citrus Shake: Mix 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt with 1/2 cup fruit, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 teaspoon flax meal, 2 tablespoons wheat germ and 1/2 cup ice in a blender until smooth. Nutrition Score (1 cup): 372 calories, 3 g fat.
"I add some honey if it needs a little sweetening. It's like having a milkshake for breakfast."
-- Margarita Jager, Stow, Ohio
Our nutrition expert says "Fresh fruits are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and fiber," Somer says. "Plus, wheat germ is rich in vitamins E and B. Smoothies are a perfect way to add both of these superfoods to your diet."
Best Sunday Treats
(Recipes that take a little more time but are worth the effort)
16. Potato and Egg Hash: Combine 2 chopped green onions and 1 strip of turkey bacon in a bowl and microwave 1 minute. Stir in 1 diced potato and microwave 3-5 minutes more. Add salt, pepper and 1 beaten egg. Microwave on high for another 11/2 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon shredded lowfat Cheddar cheese. Serve with 1/2 cup of orange sections. Nutrition Score: 400 calories, 10 g fat.
"I sometimes turn this into a fast mini-supper by adding an extra egg and a slice of bacon."
-- Lana Harrison, Los Angeles
17. Chili Cheese Omelet: In a small skillet, combine 1/2 cup egg substitute, 1/4 cup fat-free chili and 1 slice lowfat cheese. Cook for 5 minutes. Serve with 1 red tomato, sliced, on the side. Nutrition Score: 182 calories, 5 g fat.
"This omelet tastes much more fattening than it really is with the melted cheese on top."
-- Christy Neria, La Verne, Calif.
18. Oat Bran Blueberry Pancakes: Combine one 12-ounce package commercial oat-bran pancake mix with 1 cup frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup water. Ladle batter onto a griddle coated with butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray. Cook pancakes on one side until bubbles appear, then flip. Serve with honeydew melon chunks. Nutrition Score (2 pancakes and 1/2 cup honeydew melon): 157 calories, 1.5 g fat.
"I often make extra pancakes to freeze and reheat for another morning."
-- Julie Husman, Valencia, Calif.
Our nutrition expert says "These pancakes are high in soluble fiber, which lowers your risk for heart disease and diabetes and keeps you full longer, so you're less likely to overeat later in the day," says Somer. "On top of that, blueberries are one of Mother Nature's best sources of antioxidants."
19. Breakfast in a Bowl: Combine 1/2 cup each of applesauce and nonfat vanilla yogurt, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon. Refrigerate mixture overnight. Top with 2 tablespoons of Grape-Nuts cereal before eating. Nutrition Score: 250 calories, 0.5 g fat.
"I make a large batch of this and store it in the fridge all week."
-- Rosemary Blethen, Antioch, Calif.
20. Cantaloupe and Cottage Cheese: Fill half a medium cantaloupe (seeds removed) with 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese and a small handful of unsalted sunflower seeds. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey. Nutrition Score: 443 calories, 10 g fat.
"My stomach is too sensitive to eat anything heavy in the morning, so this combination settles my stomach and gives me energy to start the day."
-- Lana Hawkins, Los Angeles
21. Apple Danish Roll-Up: Place 1/2 apple, sliced, 2 thin slices of part-skim mozzarella cheese and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and a dash of cinammon in a flour tortilla. Wrap and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Nutrition Score: 225 calories, 7g fat.
"I've also tried this for lunch by adding a few slices of lowfat honey ham. Just roll it up and enjoy!"
-- Sandy Johnson, Tulsa, Okla.
Our nutrition expert says "The Apple Danish Roll-Ups are a nutritious kick-start to the day," says Nugent. "It provides three food groups in one -- fruit, dairy and grain -- the ideal for a complete meal. If using 2 ounces or more of the mozzarella cheese, each roll-up provides close to half of the calcium you need for the entire day."