If you feel mentally sluggish in the morning, rest assured that it's 100 percent not just you. In fact, there's a scientific reason why getting going in the a.m. can be such a struggle. Cortisol levels are at their highest around 7 a.m., and when cortisol levels are high, you're more likely to experience brain fog.
When you first wake up, it's also obviously been many hours since you ate last, so your body is literally running on empty. Suddenly it's making sense why you feel completely zoned out during that first Zoom meeting of the day, right? This is exactly why breakfast is so darn important. I know, I know, mornings are rough. You're short on time and energy. That's where these recipes come in handy. All of the breakfast ideas rounded up here are full of nutrients that support brain health—and they only take five minutes to make. Five minutes! Even though they take all of the length of a Drake song to whip up, you aren't sacrificing on taste even one smidge.
Check out the recipes below and start planning your breakfasts accordingly. It will make your mornings so much more enjoyable.
Scroll down for 5-minute breakfast recipes that are full of brain-boosting nutrients.
1. Carrot cake smoothie
A breakfast that tastes like a slice of carrot cake? Now that's what living out self-care looks like. Bonus: You don't end up with a sink full of dishes like you do when making the dessert version. This smoothie is made with alternative milk, pineapple, carrots, ground ginger, nutmeg, and a touch of maple syrup. The ginger and nutmeg are both anti-inflammatory herbs, protecting the brain from free radicals.
2. Coconut blueberry smoothie
Another quick smoothie brimming with brain-supporting nutrients is this coconut-blueberry blend. (Just make sure you freeze your coconut milk in an ice-cube tray in advance.) Blueberries are high in antioxidants and directly linked to supporting cognitive function. Also in this smoothie are walnuts, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids—a key nutrient for brain health.
3. Pepperjack breakfast tacos
The eggs and black beans in these quick breakfast tacos don't just give you enough protein to power through your morning; both foods are beneficial to the brain. And they aren't the only ingredients that support cognitive health. The avocado and spinach do, too!
Get the recipe: pepperjack breakfast tacos
4. Almond Joy smoothie bowl
This recipe is proof you can start your day off on a sweet note while helping your brain at the same time. The central ingredient in this smoothie bowl is almond butter, which is full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Coconut chips and Medjool dates add extra sweetness, and the latter is full of potassium, a mineral that helps brain cells communicate with each other. Not that you'll notice all that going on—you'll be too busy licking your spoon clean.
Get the recipe: Almond Joy smoothie bowl
5. Scrambled eggs
Even though scrambled eggs is a super-simple breakfast, it's one of the best for your brain. Eggs are a powerhouse source of omega-3 fatty acids, among the most important nutrients for cognitive health. Add olive oil, as this recipe does, and you up the healthy fats in your breakfast even more.
Get the recipe: scrambled eggs
6. Avocado toast
Avocado is another great source of healthy fats, which means that yes, avo toast is worth the hype. Here, it's seasoned with red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and cilantro.
Get the recipe: avocado toast
7. Wild lox omelet
According to top functional medicine doctor Mark Hyman, MD, salmon is one of the best foods for brain health there is. Incorporating it into your breakfast is easy—even when you're short on time. One way is to make it the star of your omelet by combining it with eggs, spinach, and a pinch of salt. So easy and so freaking good.
Get the recipe: wild lox omelet
8. Banana cinnamon oatmeal
Fiber is one of best most important nutrients for gut health, and that relationship directly benefits the brain; the mind-gut connection is strong! Both the rolled oats and banana in this recipe are great sources of the nutrient. Spice up your bowl with cinnamon and nutmeg, both of which are linked to lowering inflammation.
Get the recipe: banana cinnamon oatmeal
9. Chocolate oatmeal
Ready for the best news ever? Chocolate is amazing for brain health. There are some scientific studies showing that eating dark chocolate increases oxygen to the brain in the frontal lobes, which is connected to memory and cognitive skills. Just make sure to go for dark chocolate. (That's key.) Here, it's combined with rolled oats, banana, and milk (or alt-milk) for a morning meal that tastes like dessert.
Get the recipe: chocolate oatmeal
10. Matcha green smoothie bowl
Matcha is high in antioxidants called catechin polyphenols, which are directly linked to supporting brain health. Sipping matcha tea isn't the only way to reap the benefits; you can incorporate matcha powder into your breakfast, too. One way to use it is to make a refreshing smoothie bowl with banana, spinach, pineapple, and coconut milk. Top it off with berries for natural sweetness and to up the antioxidants even more.
Get the recipe: matcha green smoothie bowl
Love these 5-minute breakfast recipes? Get more healthy cooking ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.
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