In the world of expert nutrition advice, there is breakfast and then there is everything else. And while we’re cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs science-backed tips, sometimes it’s incredibly helpful to step back from all the studies and ask the pros one simple question: What do YOU eat every morning? So that’s exactly what we did.
We’ve got our healthy breakfast, but here 23 of the world’s top health experts share their favorite way to fuel up, from classics like oatmeal, high-protein smoothies, and eggs, to more creative first meals that don’t happen until noon.
1. Barry Jay, Co-Founder of Barry’s Bootcamp
In this past year, I’ve returned to being a vegan. My breakfasts tend to vary, depending on my mood. Typically it’s either oatmeal with natural almond or peanut butter, whole-grain bread with almond butter, or a protein shake consisting of almond milk, PlantFusion protein powder, peanut butter, and banana.
2. Mike Roussell, Ph.D., Nutrition Consultant and Author of 6 Pillars of Nutrition
My typical breakfast is a glass of plain kefir, scrambled eggs with spinach and feta cheese, and a side of prunes.
3. Tony Horton, Celebrity Fitness Trainer
I saute tomato, garlic, red onion, pepper, and balsamic vinegar in olive oil, and I serve this on toasted sprouted whole-grain bread topped with eggs over easy and avocado.
4. Keri Gans, R.D.N., Author of The Small Change Diet
Oatmeal cooked with nonfat milk, topped with chunky natural almond butter and chia seeds. I take my vitamins with 1/4 cup calcium-fortified OJ mixed with around 3/4 cup seltzer. Then I top it all off with a mug of black coffee (half decaf/half caffeinated). I would do total decaf, but I compromise for my husband who needs his caffeine.
5. David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center and Author of Disease Proof
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, banana, and any other fruit in season; nonfat, plain Greek yogurt; whole-grain cereal from Nature’s Path; and a bit of cinnamon.
6. Brett Hoebel, Fitness Expert and Creator of 20 Minute Body
I make a chocolate peanut butter protein shake by combining chocolate protein powder, natural unsalted peanut butter, ice, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, cinnamon, and water.
Apple Spinach Smoothie
7. Cynthia Sass, R.D., New York Times Best-Selling Author and Sports Nutritionist
My usual go-to breakfast these days is an apple smoothie made of a chopped apple (skin on) blended with unsweetened coconut milk, coconut butter, unsweetened pea protein powder, a handful of fresh spinach, and fresh grated ginger. I also have a tall glass of water with lots of fresh-squeezed lemon added.
8. Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University
I’m not a breakfast eater and don’t start eating until when most people start thinking about lunch. I do like to have coffee, but just don’t feel hungry in the early morning. I like to eat when I feel hungry, usually after 11:00 or so. At that point, I go for cereal—cold or hot, with fruit and a little brown sugar.
9. Heidi Kristoffer, Creator of CrossFlowX
Upon waking, I always drink room-temp water with lemon. For breakfast, I make a vegan parfait layered with coconut yogurt, papaya, and homemade granola of oats, millet, raw nuts, coconut, and goji berries. After, I will have warm tea and more water with lemon.
10. Jessica Matthews, Assistant Professor of Health and Exercise Science at Miramar College
A “breakfast bowl:” sliced hard-boiled egg whites, black beans, cubed tofu seasoned with Franks Red Hot, and avocado. It’s a delicious combo of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
Salmon Cigars with Avocado and Veggies
11. Valerie Goldstein-Berkowitz, R.D., Nutrition and Wellness Expert at Performance Health NYC and Author of The Stubborn Fat Fix
My aim is to always get the most “nutrient” bang for the “calorie” buck, and my favorite breakfast is one that is full of color, nutrition, taste, and convenience. I typically start the day off with a cup of rooibos tea, two smoked salmon cigars (sliced Alaskan salmon rolled with cucumber, avocado, tomato, and onion), and a small bowl of cottage cheese with almonds.
12. Anna Kaiser, Founder & CEO of AKT InMotion
I make a super-energizing and empowering smoothie each a.m.: chocolate whey protein, almond butter, raspberries, blueberries, chia seeds, and Alkaline Grasses Powder from the Juicy Naam mixed with some water and ice.
13. Jill Miller, Fitness Therapy Expert, Co-Founder of Tune Up Fitness, and Author of The Roll Model
I start my day at 7:30 a.m. with at least 14 ounces of room-temperature water, followed by a shot of beneficial bacteria, then chase it all down with a cappuccino. I make another cappuccino (this time decaf) while I prep breakfast for my husband and I. My go-to daily nourishment is farmers’ market eggs scrambled into an omelet cooked in a generous dose of organic butter. I’ll slice an avocado for my omelet while I toast gluten-free bread. I slather my toast with organic whipped cream cheese and strawberry preserves.
Lately, I have also been eating what I call “second breakfast” about two hours after my first breakfast. I am eight months into nursing my daughter, and I find I am extra hungry in the late morning. I mix vanilla bean sheep yogurt with a banana, cocoa powder, and a handful of granola to tide me over until lunch.
Chocolate Avocado Protein Smoothie
14. Neghar Fonooni, Founder of Eat, Lift, & Be Happy and Author of Lean & Lovely: The Total Transformation System
My breakfast is Vega Choc-a-lot Protein Smoothie mix blended with avocado, spinach, and almond milk.
15. Erica Giovinazzo, R.D., Brick New York: CrossFit Coach and Nutritionist
I cook up whole eggs and egg whites, which I eat topped with peach and mango salsa. I am a firm believer in the importance of protein at breakfast. Because we’re fasting overnight while we sleep, our body naturally releases sugar into our bloodstream, and so our blood sugar is always slightly higher in the morning. There’s no need then to add fuel to fire with even more sugar!
16. Danielle Tafeen Karuna, Founder of Provita and Yoga Expert
I always start my day off with a big glass of room-temperature water to hydrate first. After meditating, I have oatmeal pretty much every day of the week. I make it with water and add low-sugar, wheat-free granola, chia seeds, wild blueberries, and a scoop of cashew or almond butter. My husband always makes me a cup of coffee in the morning, but I drink it after I eat, so I usually take it to go with foamed coconut-almond milk and a bit of Truvia.
Cheerios, Banana, and Hard-Boiled Egg
17. Elisa Zied, R.D.N., Author of Younger Next Week
A breakfast I love is Cheerios with sliced banana, nonfat milk, and a hard-boiled egg.
18. Dana Angelo White, R.D., Nutrition Expert for FoodNetwork.com and Sports Dietitian and Clinical Professor at Quinnipiac University
I keep sliced whole-grain bread from a local bakery in the freezer. On busy mornings I toast it and spread with peanut butter or top with a scrambled egg, cheese, and sliced tomato. On the weekends, I turn it into French toast. It’s a simple, healthy ingredient that’s so versatile.
19. Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times Best-Selling Author and Life Coach
My go-to breakfast is gluten-free oatmeal, coconut yogurt, and yerba mate tea.
20. Ellie Krieger, R.D., New York Times Best-Selling Author and Host of Food Network’s Healthy Appetite
Overnight oats in a jar: I mix yogurt, milk, oats, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey, then stir in some quartered grapes and almonds, and put it in jars to sit in the fridge overnight. By morning the oats have softened and absorbed all the great flavors, and it becomes like a pudding studded with sweet juicy bites of grapes and crunchy almonds.
Sausage and Egg Scramble Ingredients
21. Adam Bornstein, New York Times Best-Selling Author and Founder of Born Fitness
My breakfast starts later than most. I enjoy intermittent fasting, which means breakfast usually happens around noon. At that time, I’m feasting on an egg scramble with broccoli, spinach, peppers, and chicken sausage topped with sriracha. If it’s a training day, I’ll have a side of fruit salad or cream of rice mixed with almond butter and protein powder.
22. Tracy Mallett, Celebrity Trainer and Lifestyle Expert
My breakfast is steel-cut oats and raspberries with flaxseeds and coconut milk.
23. Joy Bauer, R.D.N., Health and Nutrition Expert for NBC’s Today Show and Founder of Nourish Snacks
My mornings are so hectic that my go-to breakfasts are usually fast and fuss-free. One of my favorites is low-fat, plain Greek yogurt topped with one of my Nourish Snacks, like Coconuts for You (coconut chia-oat clusters), Cocoa Loco (dark chocolate chia-oat clusters), or Granny’s Apple Pie (cinnamon-spiced apples and walnuts).