Healthy breakfast foods for every taste
– By the Veggie Fairy Team
Stock up on healthy breakfast foods, because a good day starts with a good, healthy breakfast. That means different things to different people, depending on what each individual’s body needs to comfortably break the night’s fast.
For some of us, a good breakfast consists of a hearty combination of eggs, toast, and fruit. But for others, it may be a simple cup of coffee.
Whatever your personal power breakfast may be, you’ll get more out of it when you get your ingredients from a local source you trust — you can be sure it’ll be fresher and richer in both flavor and nutrients.
So let’s take a closer look at seven of the best things you can eat when you roll out of bed.
#1 PASTURE-RAISED EGGS
We Veggie Fairies get our pasture-raised eggs from Authenticity Farms in Amelia, Va., where the hens spend their days in the sunshine foraging for grass, seeds, and bugs — all the things chickens naturally eat. Thanks to their own healthy diet, they produce eggs that are healthier for us too – and sooo delicious!
(Read more about Authenticity Farms humane farming practices and their pasture-raised eggs.)
A pasture-raised egg looks different from an industrial farmed egg (even if it’s labeled “cage-free” or “free-range”). The yolk of a pasture-raised egg is deep orange and is surrounded by a thick, milky white. On top of having more flavor, pasture-raised eggs contain higher amounts of vitamin A, D, E, K2, B-12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, calcium, beta carotene, and choline, as well as omega 3 fatty acids, including DHA, EPA, ALA, and AA.
Pasture-raised eggs offer the highest quality protein, too, second only to the lactalbumin protein that’s found in a human mother’s milk. Eating eggs for breakfast increases your feeling of fullness, so you’ll eat fewer calories for lunch and even out your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Many studies have shown that a pasture-raised egg isn’t just a healthy breakfast food — it’s a true superfood. This study found that compared to industrial farmed eggs, pasture-raised eggs may contain:
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
3-6 times more vitamin D (thanks to hanging out in all that sunshine!)
More K2, B12, folate, riboflavin, zinc, and calcium
More antioxidants that help prevent eye trouble like cataracts, according to this study and this study
More choline your brain and liver depend on to stay healthy
1/4 less saturated fat
1/3 less cholesterol – that said, eggs don’t actually raise cholesterol levels in most of us. On the contrary, eggs may reduce your risk of heart disease risk by modifying the shape of “bad” LDL cholesterol, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol, and improving insulin sensitivity.
#2 WHOLE GRAIN BREAD
Enjoy your eggs with whole grain toast – your online farmers market has a variety of healthful breads to suit your taste buds. According to the Cleveland Clinic, a number of studies have shown that incorporating whole grain foods in an overall healthy diet may help lower your risk for many diseases, including stroke, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and colorectal cancer.
Whole grains are also rich in protein, fiber, B vitamins and many other nutrients that help to lower blood pressure, reduce gum disease, strengthen the immune system, and control weight. (If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, be sure to go for gluten-free options.)
So in the morning, sit down to toast and eggs cooked any way you like them, or grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs for a portable breakfast on the go.
Combine the first two of these healthy breakfast foods and they add up to… granola! Our granola is made in small batches by Hudson Henry Baking Co. in Palmyra, Va.
Oats contain a unique fiber called oat beta-glucan which, among other things, reduces cholesterol. Thanks to this fiber, oats make you feel full, like eggs. Oats are also rich in antioxidants that may boost your heart health and lower your blood pressure. (While oats don’t have gluten, they’re often contaminated with it from being processed with other grains. So if gluten’s an issue, look for oats that are certified gluten-free.)
The nuts in granola are filling and help prevent weight gain. Nuts are high in magnesium, potassium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They’ve been shown to improve heart disease risk factors, lower blood sugar and cholesterol, and decrease inflammation. Yeah, they’re high in calories, but scientists have tested almonds and found that you don’t absorb all the fat – in the case of a one-ounce serving, your body only absorbs about 129 calories.
To boost the protein content of a nice nutty granola breakfast, toss a few handfuls on top of yogurt. We get our yogurt from sustainable artisans like Mountain View Farm in Fairfield, Va. In addition to leaving you feeling satisfied, full-fat yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid, which may increase fat loss and decrease breast cancer risk.
All together, oats, nuts, and yogurt add up to a breakfast of healthy champions!
6. FRUIT, FRESH OR FROZEN
Fresh fruits are arguably the healthiest of all the healthy breakfast foods. All fruits contain vitamins, potassium, and fiber, and they’re relatively low in calories.
To get your daily dose of vitamin C, savor one large Florida-grown orange while they’re in our winter-time market. It’ll give you more than 100% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C.
A cup of strawberries also contains the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. In fact, all berries are mini superfoods. They’re packed with antioxidants, including anthocyanins that protect your heart and may help you age better. They reduce inflammation, too.
To keep you supplied with fresh-picked berries during berry season, we rely on local farmers like the Geyer family of Agriberry Farm in Hanover, Va.
Believe it or not, that cup of Joe is a healthy breakfast food — not to mention an excellent way to jumpstart your day. And it’s not just the caffeine – a 2005 study found that, believe it or not, coffee is the number-one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. That’s because we drink so much of it. Doctors say it’s actually best if you get most of your antioxidants from things like berries.
But the antioxidants in coffee are icing on the cake. And combined with caffeine, coffee is surprisingly good for you. Coffee drinking has been linked to a lower risk of diseases such as diabetes and prostate cancer, and it may even help you live longer. It reduces inflammation, protects the cells lining your blood vessels, and decreases liver disease risk.
Sipping on some caffeine has been shown to improve mood, alertness, and mental performance. In addition to waking you up, caffeine also increases your metabolic rate and fat burning. Just 100 mg of caffeine can help you burn an extra 79–150 calories in a day.
Even the little bit you get in decaf can offer health benefits. An analysis of 41 studies reported that you can maximize the benefits while limiting the side effects if you get 38–400 mg per day (18). Depending on the strength of the coffee, that’s about one-third of a cup to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day.
We Veggie Fairies like our coffee with a conscience. So we get our caffeine fix from local roasters like Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters in Gloucester, Va. Celeste and Jo source their beans from small plantations that they’ve personally vetted, and they continuously give back to their community, with a focus on keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean and healthy. Read their story here.
So to get your day off to a great start, make one or all of these seven great local healthy breakfast foods part of your morning routine!
ABOUT SEASONAL ROOTS
Since 2011, Seasonal Roots’ online farmers market has connected Virginia families with local family farmers who use sustainable, humane practices. Our veggie fairies – mostly moms who believe in living better through scrumptious, healthy eating, being kind to animals, protecting the environment, and spreading joy – home-deliver freshly harvested produce, eggs, grass-fed dairy and meat, plus artisan fare. We empower our members to eat better and live better with more nutritious, flavorful food that’s good for us and good for the planet. More info at seasonalroots.com.