Health and Wellness

The best breakfast foods for boosting mood and energy, according to a registered dietitian

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There's a reason they call breakfast the most important meal of the day.

What you eat for breakfast can make or break how successful your day is going to be, especially if you're reaching for foods that lower your energy.

It's important to know that "there is no one size fits all [breakfast]," says Maya Feller, a registered dietitian. But there are ways you can tailor your meals toward what you're hoping to get out of your day.

On an individual basis, Feller notes that people should generally make their breakfast choices based on factors like affordability, accessibility, cultural relevance and taste.

"It's not nutritious unless we eat it. If it doesn't taste good, then we won't interact with it," she tells CNBC Make It. "Breakfast is that first meal of the day for many people. And when we're thinking about that, that really sets the stage."

Feller also recommends taking intent into account when deciding what to eat at the start of your day. "What are your goals? What is it that you're looking for?" she asks.

Reach for these foods to boost your mood and energy

Typically for a productive morning and a successful day, you should target your energy and mood. Here are the types of foods Feller recommends for boosting each:

  • Improve mood: Eating foods high in fiber, such as berries and oats, can positively impact your gut biome. Research has shown that an unhealthy gut can lower your mood.
  • Increase energy: Meals with a combination of heart-healthy fats and slow-release carbohydrates, or complex carbs such as wheat bread and sweet potatoes, can keep you feeling energized through the day.

At the top of the morning, it's also important to hydrate which is a natural way to boost your energy, Feller says. Another way to set yourself up for success is to get a good night's sleep the night before, she adds.

Try these 3 quick and easy breakfast choices to boost your mood and energy

For a nutritious breakfast that can boost your mood and energy, Feller says, "I love to see a nice source of protein, plant or animal, in tandem with some type of phytonutrient or plant."

Here are some options you can choose from that follow this structure:

  1. Breakfast salad: Leafy greens like spinach that are either cooked or raw, topped with an egg
  2. Whole-grain, low-sugar cereal with a side of fruit: Check the first five ingredients of the cereal's nutrition label, and make sure sugar isn't on the list if you're aiming to avoid having too much of it. "If sugar is ingredient No. 2, then you know that's the second-most predominant ingredient in that cereal. So make your choice based on what your needs are," says Feller.
  3. Waffles with nut butter and fruit: For a more nutritious meal, you can drizzle honey and sprinkle chia seeds or hemp seeds on top.

"Those breakfast options are balanced," Feller notes, "they're giving you really wonderful nutrients. You're getting high-quality protein [and] a plethora of vitamins and minerals. You're also getting fiber which is quite important. When you're eating it on a regular basis, you tend to see that you're nourishing your body."

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