For seniors, breakfast might be a joyful ritual spent reading a newspaper with family or friends. But not all elderly people find the joy of breakfast nor have the appetite for it. They may also lack the ability to whip up a quality breakfast option.
However, eating breakfast can certainly contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle. Many different healthy breakfast options are also available, including those that are simple to prepare and easier to enjoy.
Take a look at some of the most healthy breakfast options below, which include some of the best proteins for seniors.
What Does a Healthy Senior Breakfast Include?
In short, a nutritious senior breakfast includes foods and/or beverages that promote blood sugar stabilization and preserve muscle mass. They also provide quality energy and are satisfying.
The best way to achieve the above is to include the following food groups/foods in appropriate portions:
- 1 to 2 servings protein
- 1 serving of a quality carb source (fiber)
- 1 serving fruit or vegetables
- 1 serving healthy fat
Here is a specific example using the blueprint above:
- 1 to 2 eggs
- 1 slice whole wheat bread
- 1 banana
- 1 Tbsp nut butter
Now, a nutritious breakfast for someone with heart disease may look different from someone else who has cancer. However, the above blueprint is a great starting place if there is no need to follow a disease-specific nutrition protocol.
Innutritious Senior Breakfast Options
Conversely, poor breakfast choices tend to be high in refined sugar and inflammatory fats and are too high in energy and void of nutrients. This often results in energy crashes, worse eating habits throughout the rest of the day, and negative health outcomes.
If limiting foods like packaged pastries is challenging, try to consume one serving. Also, add a protein source to help increase protein intake and pairing with a fruit or veggie for a boost of vitamins and minerals. The combo helps mitigate some of the typical blood sugar crashes and encourage healthier choices later in the day.
3 Simple & Quick Senior Breakfast Ideas
Quickly whip up these nutrient-dense healthy breakfast ideas, all of which include one of the best protein sources for seniors!
1. Overnight Oatmeal Bowls
Oatmeal is not only outrageously versatile, it is also one of the simplest, healthiest senior breakfast options. Meal prepping overnight oats is also a timesaver for busy schedules without compromising health.
Oats are whole grains packed with soluble and insoluble fiber, iron, B vitamins, and delicious flavor. The two different types of fiber provide a slew of health benefits such as reducing heart disease risk, promoting bowel regularity, and managing weight. Plus, the non-refined and low sugar versions can also be a wonderful plant-protein source.
The most nutritious oatmeal bowls will have little to no added/refined sugars and also include boosters or additional foods that help balance the carbohydrate content of oats. Adding a quality source of lean protein and/or a healthy fat is the best way to accomplish blood sugar management.
Similar to the blueprint above, here is a general recipe framework for building a powerfully nutritious oat bowl:
- ¼ to ½ cup of old-fashioned or steel cut oats
- ¼ to ½ cup of low-fat milk or plant based alternative such as soy or almond milk
- ½ to 1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup, or another sweetener of choice
- 1 to additional add-ins (see below for options)
- Optional ½ to 1 tsp vanilla extract
Healthy Additions to Create a Balanced Senior Breakfast
- 1 Tbsp nut butter
- 1 Tbsp chia or flax seeds
- ½ cup Greek yogurt (works best in overnight oats)
- 1 to 2 Tbsp trail mix
- 1 Tbsp nuts (such as almonds and walnuts)
- ¼ cup egg whites
- 1 scoop protein powder (plant-based or whey protein powder)
To make this powerhouse bowl of oatmeal, simply add the milk to the oats and microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Or, follow the instructions based on the container or cook on the stove until oats are soft and slightly chewy. Then, mix in the additions and enjoy!
The health content of strategic oatmeal bowls like the one above is one of the best senior breakfast options. Plus, it will keep one feeling energized and satiated, is easy to chew, and budget-friendly. What is not to love?
2. A Healthified Traditional American Breakfast
The traditional American Breakfast is receiving a makeover. With just a few swaps, this minimally nutritious breakfast can transform into a delectably nutritious (and even simpler) senior breakfast.
Typically, this morning dish includes eggs, toast, sausage or bacon, and fruit juice. (Oh, a warm cup o’ joe!) While none of these are inherently unhealthy foods, cooking methods and specific brands or types often diminish this breakfast’s health potential.
Use these upgraded tips for a healthified traditional American breakfast to start the day.
Preparing two eggs is a simple way to consume 14 grams of protein to begin the day. Also consider limiting to one yolk or using egg whites on occasion to reduce fat content as needed.
For extra health benefits, cook eggs in olive oil spray or a drizzle of unrefined olive oil for extra health benefits. Also kick this senior breakfast up another notch by adding veggies such as spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, broccoli, or a combination of all.
Bread receives a bad rap, but whole grain versions provide a hefty dose of fiber in addition to iron, B vitamins, and lasting energy.
Opt for whole grain and wheat breads instead of refined white versions. Smear grass-fed butter or mashed avocado on top of the toast for extra nutrition.
If eating low-carb, swap the toast for smoked salmon (lok) and reap the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
Bacon & Sausage
The occasional slice of bacon or sausage patty will likely not cause much health harm. However, indulging in these foods frequently can raise the risk for developing heart disease and diabetes related to the not-so-healthy kinds of fat within them.
But fear not, easily replace these foods with turkey or plant-based versions for just as much flavor but double the nutrition benefit. Piggybacking off the suggestion above, replacing bacon or sausage with smoked salmon will provide top-tier nutritional enhancement!
Fruit Juice & Jams
Although it tastes simply sweet, fruit juice offers little nourishment. This is because fruit juices lack the skin, which harnesses much of the fruit’s nutritional power.
So, adding a piece of whole fruit like an apple, orange, or cup of berries is a healthier option. Smashing berries atop whole grain toast is another way to add some sweetness and more nutrients compared to sugary jams.
Make this healthy breakfast option in under ten minutes by sauteeing veggies with the eggs, swapping toast or bacon/sausage for smoked salmon.
3. Revamped Greek Yogurt Parfaits
Grabbing a parfait from a fast food chain or convenience shop is enticing, but often wreaks havoc in the body. They seem like a healthy and easy breakfast, but often exceptionally high in refined, simple sugar and contain little to no healthy fat or protein.
Unsweetened Greek yogurt contains the lowest amounts of added sugar and highest amounts of protein and probiotics. Adding natural sweeteners like honey can soften the somewhat sour taste of plain Greek yogurt.
While granola or cereal tend to top most yogurt parfaits, this only adds more refined sugar and added carbohydrate. This can be a disaster for blood sugar regulation and proper satiation throughout the rest of the day.
Healthy Additions to Greek Yogurt Parfaits
Supercharge and healthify Greek yogurt parfaits by adding or swapping these option:
- Reduce sugar content and include healthy fats by adding ¼ to ⅓ cup of Paleo or nut/seed based “granola.”
- Alternate between Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. This diversifies nutrient and taste content without losing the powerful protein and essential amino acids.
- Consider adding a tablespoon of nuts or seeds like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts. These are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids and balance the carb content.
- Add ¼ to ½ cup of fruit like berries, cantaloupe, or apples for added fiber and antioxidants.
- Occasionally replace the yogurt with chia pudding for a very low-carb senior breakfast option.
A meal delivery service that prepares nutritionally satisfying, flavorful senior breakfasts is also a great option. Not only are meals simple and quick, but all healthy breakfast recipes ensure nutrient needs are being met.