Whether breakfast really is the most important meal of the day is still up for debate, but many nutritionists agree that a well-balanced breakfast is pretty important and can lay the groundwork for a solid day ahead. Loaded with fiber and important nutrients, fruit is a great addition to a balanced breakfast. Keep reading for the best fruits to eat in the morning, recommended by registered dietitians.
Citrus fruits—including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes—are great sources of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and phytonutrients, have anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties, and may improve heart health.
“Grapefruit in particular contains a high level of the flavonoid, naringenin, which is thought to promote a microbiome environment more favorable to leanness,” Wyosnick says. But grapefruit isn’t for everyone—the phytonutrients in grapefruit are known to affect medication dosages, so if you’re taking an pharmaceutical medications, be sure to check with your doctor first.
You know what they say—an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This may very well be true when you look into all the nutritional benefits of an apple. Packed with fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants, apples are a great source of a flavanoid called quercetin, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and can boost the immune system. An added bonus, “Quercetin can be especially helpful in people with seasonal allergies,” Wyosnick says.
Another perk of apples is that they’re so easy to take on the go, making them an ideal choice for those of us who are often in a rush in the mornings. “Fiber helps to keep us fuller for longer which is definitely something we want our breakfast to contain to prevent from mindless snacking in the morning,” Michalczyk says.
Apples pair well with many breakfast foods, from oatmeal to nut butter to yogurt. Wyosnick recommends topping a bowl of oatmeal with stewed apples, or eating an apple alongside a slice of toast topped with peanut butter. For an ideal serving size, choose an apple the size of your fist—and leave on the skin for optimal nutritional benefits, she says.
Tiny, yet bursting with flavor, raspberries are an easy add-on to so many different types of breakfast, from smoothies, to oatmeal to yogurt or even nut-butter topped toast.
“Raspberries are small powerhouses of diverse phytonutrients, and because we eat the fruit whole (skin and seeds), the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients are easily obtained,” Wyosnick says. “Like most fruits, raspberries are also a great source of vitamin C and fiber.”
A one-cup serving of raspberries contains about eight grams of fiber and 64 calories.
For a fruit that many people overlook, pomegranate seeds are loaded with nutritional benefits. “These ruby, jewel-like seeds are rich sources of antioxidant polyphenols called anthocyanins that can help protect replicating cells against free radical damage, and have been studied as means of preventing prostate, colon, lung and breast cancer,” Wyosnick says. “Pomegranate seeds are unique as an edible seed and contain much more concentrated levels of antioxidants than equivalent servings of fruit.”
Beyond antioxidants, pomegranate is a solid source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, fiber, and folate. For a tasty and nutritious breakfast, add a half-cup of pomegranate seeds to a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal.
With nearly four grams of fiber in a one-cup serving, blueberries are a great fruit to eat in the morning. Blueberries come with more benefits than fiber—they also contain vitamin C, manganese, and “phytonutrients called polyphenols which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can contribute to heart health and a reduction of other chronic diseases,” Young says. For a filling breakfast, load up your oatmeal with a cup of blueberries.
Kiwi may not be as popular as apples and berries, but it’s great fruit to eat at breakfast, or really at any time of day. Turned off by the idea of peeling and slicing kiwi? Simply cut it in half and scoop out the fruit with a spoon.
Now, for the health benefits: kiwi is high in vitamin C, which can help boost immunity. It’s also high in fiber which can increase satiety, and it may help with digestion as well, Young says.
“Cantaloupe is super rich in vitamins A, C, potassium, and fiber,” Young says. “It’s also super high in water so it’s perfect in the morning if you don’t feel like drinking water.” The suggested serving size for cantaloupe is one to two cups, but this fruit is so low in calories that you don’t need to worry about how much you eat, Young says.
Wrapped up in their own natural packaging, bananas are one of the easiest fruits to slip in your bag and take on the go in the mornings.
“They also contain resistant starch, which is not digested by our bodies but rather is beneficial bacteria in your gut,” Michalczyk says. “We continue to learn more and more about the importance of gut health and how it plays a role in many different functions in the body.”
Bananas also contain fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium.
If you’re an avocado toast devotee, you know this is one of the tastiest breakfast options around. But that may not be the only reason you find yourself eating it whenever you can—aside from being an absolute joy to the taste buds, avocado toast tends to leave many of us feeling really good too. Personally, I know that when I have avocado toast in the morning, it keeps me feeling satiated for hours.
“Avocados are a great fruit to consider having at breakfast because of their fiber content,” Michalczyk says. “Most of us do not get the recommended 25-38 grams of fiber daily, so jump starting your day with a fiber packed fruit like avocado can help with digestion and keep you fuller for longer.”
A half-cup serving of avocado 1/2 cup contains about 5 grams of fiber, along with healthy fat (great for helping you feel full!), vitamins K, E, and C, and folate.