Top nutrition experts give us a peek at their delicious morning meals!

By Tiffany Tse
December 20, 2011

You don't need us to remind you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But you might need a few fresh ideas for your run-of-the-mill morning meal. We asked nine top nutritionists to snap a photo of their breakfast and give us the lowdown on their wholesome choices. Check out their delicious dishes-and adjust your grocery list accordingly.

Greek Yogurt Bowl


Michael Roussell, Ph.D., author of 6 Pillars of Nutrition, digs into Greek yogurt with a half scoop of vanilla protein powder, pomegranate arils, and walnuts.

"Greek yogurt has twice the protein and half the carbs of regular yogurt, plus it's so creamy," Roussell says. "The powder gives added protein and vanilla flavor, while pomegranate berries, loaded with anthocyanins and ellagic acid, are some of the most powerful antioxidants we can get in our diet. Walnuts contain one of the most diverse blends of fats of any nuts, including high levels of omega-3. Some research suggests that daily walnut consumption can prevent age-related decreasing in cognitive function."

Skim Latte


Madelyn Fernstrom, nutrition and weight-loss expert at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and author of The Real You Diet, opts for a nourishing on-the-go meal.

"I order a tall 16-ounce skim milk latte," Fernstrom says. "It's the same protein as two eggs and half my calcium needs for a whole day. It's warm and comforting in cold weather, and I switch to iced lattes in the summertime. I'll also grab a whole fruit to round it out, like an orange, apple, pear, or banana, whatever is in season."

Havarti Cheese and Pita


Sari Greaves, R.D., nutrition director at Step Ahead Weight Loss Center in Central New Jersey, kicks off her day with a balance of protein and good carbs.

"I wake up every morning with my high-protein scramble on toasted whole-grain pita," she says. "It takes only one ounce of delicious Havarti cheese to enrich this waist-friendly breakfast, paired with egg whites scrambled in nonfat cooking spray, chopped tomatoes, and peppers, with three-quarters of a cup of mixed berries. Havarti is aged for about three months, so it's full-flavored and creamy." Greaves finds that a small taste of a sharp cheese can help take the edge off hunger.

"I use a thin, whole-grain pita from Toufayan. You get more surface area, and the paper-thin pita tastes delicious toasted. After eight hours fast asleep, your body's gas tank is on empty so you want to fuel up with low-fat protein and good carbs."

Greaves' wholesome breakfast totals 300 calories, plus an additional 70 for the berries.

Protein Pancake


Today show health expert Joy Bauer feasts on one large protein pancake topped with mango and blueberry, as well as one or two cups of black coffee in the a.m.

"As a healthy, energizing alternative to starchy white pancakes, I love to start my day with what I call a protein pancake," Bauer says. "It's made with egg whites, which deliver 20 grams of high-quality protein to keep hunger at bay and help me stay alert and focused throughout the morning. The other key ingredient is whole-grain oats, which are rich in fiber to up the fill factor even more. What I love most is that you get a giant, dinner plate-sized pancake for only 265 calories. I top mine with fiber-rich fruit for another shot of nutrition."

PB&J English Muffin


President of Nutrition in Motion, P.C., and registered dietitian and sports nutritionist Cristina Rivera rises 2 hours before her morning workout so she can nosh on a healthy breakfast.

"Pre-workout meals should be high in carbohydrates, as this is what gives you ‘gas to go' and prevents muscle from being used for energy," Rivera says. "The meal should also be low in fat to prevent GI discomfort and include some protein to begin the muscle-building process during your actual workout. My favorite breakfast is good old PB&J. Since I don't eat flour, I choose an Ezekiel English muffin, which is an organic sprouted grain and incredibly unprocessed. My favorite organic peanut butter is the creamy Trader Joe's kind; I make sure to keep it to less than a tablespoon to give me just enough protein without feeling heavy in my stomach, since PB can take a while to digest."

Instead of jelly, which typically has high fructose corn syrup, Rivera's uses about a tablespoon of fruit spread. "This way, I am able to sneak some extra fruit in my breakfast, and the natural sugars give me the energy I need to get through my workouts," she says. "I always add half a banana to ensure that I will have eaten the recommended amount of carbohydrates before a workout. Bananas are also a really good source of potassium, which is a mineral that regulates muscle contraction and can prevent muscle cramping. Plus, they taste yummy with the peanut butter!"

Veggie Omelet


Nutritionist to the stars Oz Garcia, Ph.D., prepares an egg white omelet stuffed with onions, spinach, broccoli, and feta for a low-calorie breakfast of champions. Combined with a handful of berries, water, and a smoothie, the meal is designed to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

"This delicious dish is great to keep you full for hours," Garcia says. "The omelet is packed with protein, which will keep your blood sugar stabilized. Breakfast cereals and bagels are high in carbohydrates that leave you hungry and crashing shortly after you eat. This is also a perfect meal for anyone following a gluten-free diet."

Green Smoothie


Kimberly Snyder, celeb nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution, drinks her signature Glowing Green Smoothie every morning.

"Starting each day with the Glowing Green Smoothie injects the body with a direct dose of nutrients and minerals," Synder says. With all-star ingredients like organic celery and romaine lettuce, this revitalizing blend gives you vibrant skin, healthier hair, and an energy boost!

If you don't have time to make your own, order a green juice with similar ingredients from your favorite juice bar or Jamba Juice.

High-Fiber Waffles


Health coach and nutritionist Amy Hendel urges her clients not to skip breakfast, the most vital meal of the day.

"My favorite, consistent choice is two Fiber One waffles, 90 calories each, with a teaspoon of peanut butter on each," she says. "I grind my own peanuts at Whole Foods. A small bowl of blueberries and coffee with soy milk round out the meal. I typically exercise an hour later. I watch my starchy carbohydrate portions, so having two servings at breakfast before I work out ensures my energy levels are restored and ready for my exercise effort later in the morning. Peanut butter without all the added oils in conventional brands means I get high-quality protein without unnecessary added fats. In an effort to eat four servings of fruit daily, I make sure to get one serving with breakfast, and berries are chock-full of fiber and phytonutrients," Hendel says.

She also enjoys one cup of java per day and "loves the creaminess of soy milk." "I make sure to buy a brand fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and I also get the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids in this non-dairy beverage," she says.

Healthy Apple Crisp


Nutritionist Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., R.D., told us the go-to breakfast that leaves her feeling energized and nourished.

"This is a modified version of a recipe from my latest book Cinch!: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches," Sass says. "I slice an organic red apple into small chunks and pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes. While it's heating up, I toss together a quarter cup of dry rolled whole grains, 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds, and a generous dose of organic apple pie spice. After the apple is warmed, I cover the slices with the grain mixture and voila! It's like eating warm apple crisp for breakfast."

Sass combines this meal with a homemade vanilla latte, consisting of one cup of brewed organic coffee, one cup of organic soy milk, and a pinch of organic pure vanilla powder. "Nutritionally speaking, I think it's the perfect combination of whole foods-fresh, in-season organic fruit; a serving of 100% whole grains for nutrient-rich, slow-burning carbs that fuel me all morning; high-quality metabolism- and brain-boosting lean protein from my full serving of organic soy milk; heart-healthy, satisfying plant-based fat from the almonds to help me stay fuller longer; natural spices for aroma and flavor; and each ingredient is chock-full of antioxidants, including the coffee."

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