Harvard Doctor Reveals the 3 Things She Eats for Breakfast Every Morning

Grabbing a bagel or a few pieces of bacon may be the typical American breakfast, but is that the healthiest way to go? One Harvard physician examined what most people eat for breakfast and revealed what won’t do us any favors.

She also revealed the three things she eats (page 4) and explained the kind of breakfast that will make your body smile (page 5). So what do we really need to start our day?

1. This is what you should not be eating (but probably do)

Coloful Fruit Cereal Loops

Cold cereal is not the best choice. | iStock.com/bhofack2

A top breakfast food is cold cereal, according to an ABC poll. Eggs (with or without bacon or ham), bagels, toast, and muffins also make the list. Plus, researchers found a good number of us enjoy cold pizza to greet the day, in addition to other oddities, such as waffles with mashed potatoes and meat or pancakes and gravy.

Older Americans are more likely to eat breakfast and typically linger over their morning meal. But younger people tend to rush, likely running out the door to get to work or drop kids off at school.

Next: Where did these breakfast traditions begin?

2. Why processed carbs are a mainstay of the American breakfast


Is a bagel really that great of a breakfast? | iStock.com/Fudio

Approximately 90% of Americans have some kind of breakfast cereal in their cupboard, according to The Washington Post. Unfortunately, many cereals contain sugar and have a pretty long shelf life, which is the opposite of what a nutritious food should be.

Boxed cereal became a top breakfast food once mothers, who used to be at home to cook breakfast, entered the workforce in the 1960s. Cold cereal allowed kids to make their own breakfast before school.

Next: Why is the American breakfast bad for you?

3. Why you should consider a more nutrient-dense breakfast

bacon, ham, salami, yellow cheese and vegetables

There are other, better options. | iStock.com/gbh007

Any foods that are composed mainly of processed carbohydrates and sugar — such as cereal, bagels or toast — make blood sugar and insulin spike, according to Harvard Medical School. Increased insulin delivers sugar to fat cells, which becomes body fat.

And while some athletes and dieters follow a protein-only program that include animal fats, such as bacon or sausage, that can also be problematic. Cured meats and processed meat cause water retention, which creates a rise in blood pressure and could lead to heart disease.

Next: This is what you should be eating.

4. This is what a Harvard doctor eats for breakfast

Strawberries, red currants, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries

Fruit should be a breakfast staple. | Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

 You don’t have to nosh on a head of raw broccoli to have a healthy breakfast. Instead, check out what a Harvard doctor grabs in the morning:

  • Frozen fruit: Purchase large bags of mixed frozen berries and other fruit. Frozen fruit is just as nutritious as fresh and doesn’t go bad as fast.
  • Nuts or seeds: Add toasted seeds, grains, or unsalted nuts to your fruit, or use the grains to create a granola recipe like the one shared here.
  • Plain or low-sugar yogurt: Check the label to make sure you aren’t purchasing yogurt that is loaded with sugar. Purchase individual serving-sized yogurts if possible.

Next: Put it all together.

5. Create the perfect breakfast

Bowl of fresh mixed berries and yogurt with farm fresh strawberries

Fruit and yogurt (plus some nuts or seeds) are a great way to start your day. | iStock.com/Ozgur Coskun

While you could eat these ingredients individually, design the ideal breakfast by mixing the fruit, nuts, and yogurt together. Assemble your breakfast the night before, especially if you tend to rush out the door in the morning.

Fill a plastic to-go container with as much fruit as it holds. You may want to defrost the fruit in the microwave or let it defrost naturally in the refrigerator overnight. Add nuts to a snack-sized baggie and have your individual-sized yogurt ready to go.

Assemble breakfast at your desk (or wherever you plan to have your morning meal). Stir the yogurt into the fruit, and then sprinkle with nuts.

Next: Why is this breakfast the bomb?

6. What makes this breakfast better?

Milk chia pudding on the basis of natural yogurt

There is protein, which keeps you full longer. | iStock.com/AnnaIleysh

Some people like to garnish their breakfast with fruit, whereas fruit is the star of this meal, according to Harvard Medical School. The fruit has fiber, the nuts contain protein, and the yogurt leaves you feeling satisfied for a longer amount of time. You also won’t experience that insulin hike like you do with processed breakfasts.

Next: Want to kick this breakfast up even more?

7. What you can do to make a good breakfast even healthier

You could skip the yogurt and go with a handful of dried fruit and nuts. | iStock.com

Go vegan with your breakfast. Yogurt provides a creamy topping to your meal. But if you reduce or eliminate consuming animal products, you may reduce your risk for diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, according to NutritionFacts.org.

Lowering animal products in your diet may also help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, boost serotonin levels, and slow the aging process. And it may increase breast cancer survival.

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