It’s easy to get into the routine of eating the same thing for breakfast every morning; it probably feels like you’re saving yourself time by not having to worry about it. But eating the same things every day and not rotating the types of food you enjoy means you may not only be missing out on the opportunity to get more nutrients, but you’ll also be missing out on the chance to live a longer life.
According to a study found in The International Journal of Epidemiology, women who ate a variety (around 16 to 17) of healthy foods had a lower rate of mortality by 42% versus those that only got between 0 to 8 healthy foods throughout their diet.
So when it comes to breakfast, how can we get a nice variety of nutrients during the week? We asked a few of our expert dietitians, and they gave us some of their favorite breakfast combinations for living a longer life.
Oatmeal is one of the best breakfast choices you can make for your health, but one dietitian suggests adding walnuts to make it even healthier.
“Including walnuts in your diet can help you live a longer life,” says medical expert Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. “In fact, data published in the journal Nutrients showed that for each half serving increase in walnut consumption per day, people had a 9% lower risk of early death. Also, those who ate walnuts more than five times per week had around a 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than people who did not eat walnuts.”
“So, combining walnuts with oats is a natural combo,” she continues. “The oats are loaded with a specific fiber called beta-glucans, which can help support heart health in a profound way.”
Some people may not consider seafood a breakfast choice, but many other parts of the world consume it in the morning!
“Seafood consumption is linked to an 8% lower total mortality risk in women according to the NIH,” says Manaker. “Enjoying tuna salad may seem like more of a lunchtime choice, but leaning on this food is a great breakfast option that can help people live a longer life. Choosing whole-grain crackers or bread fuels the body with important B vitamins and fiber that support overall health too.”
According to Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and another member of our medical expert board, a great breakfast combination for a longer life is “a 2 egg-omelet filled with 1/2 a cup of spinach and 1/2 a cup of tomatoes, paired with one slice of toasted Ezekiel bread.”
One recent study even found that eating at least two servings of fruit and vegetables a day was associated with a lower risk of mortality, so loading up your morning omelet with your favorite veggies is a great idea for a healthy start to the day.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter and on the sweeter side, Manaker suggests some fruit with a cup of tea on the side.
“Drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life, according to recent data,” says Manaker. “Including a variety of produce will fuel the body with key nutrients that can support a longer and healthier life, too. Just watch for what you are adding to your tea, as too much sugar can counteract your efforts.”
And lastly, a delicious bowl of Greek yogurt with your favorite toppings can be a great combination to start out the day.
“I suggest 6 ounces of low-fat Greek yogurt, one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds, one medium sliced banana, and a small drizzle of honey,” says Young.
Flaxseeds are a small but mighty topping for your yogurt parfait or oatmeal. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and they’ve been found to help with things like cardiovascular health.