Some breakfast foods are nothing more than passing trends (looking at you, bran muffins), but avocado toast has proved its staying power. (You can try sweet potato toast for a slightly more cost effective morning habit.) But there’s a major nutrient your toast is likely missing: protein.
Healthy eating experts will tell you that getting a serving of protein at breakfast is necessary to power through your morning. This doesn’t mean you have to swap out your beloved toast for a protein bar. All you have to do to up the protein at breakfast is top your toast with a serving of nuts. It’s an effortless tweak that gives your breakfast a major upgrade.
Avocados are definitely worth the hype:
Of course not all nuts are considered equal. Kajsa Ernestam, the in-house nutritionist at global health app Lifesum, breaks down which nut to add to your toast depending on which nutrition benefit your overall diet needs most. The best part: all nuts contain protein.
The healthiest nut to eat that’s…
Best for protein: peanuts
Not only are peanuts cost effective, Ernestam says they are a high-protein choice. “Unlike almonds and walnuts, peanuts are actually not included in the botanical ‘family’ of nuts. Peanuts are included in the legume family, like peas and lentils. Compared to other nuts, peanuts contain a bit more protein,” she says. One serving of peanuts (about 35 peanuts) has 7 grams of protein. Ernestam says similarly to whole nuts, peanut butter can be a protein-rich toast topper too. Just be sure to go for one low in sugar, as some brands sneak added sugar in to sweeten it up.
best for healthy skin: almonds
If one of your goals is to nourish your skin through what you eat, adding almonds to your breakfast can be a major beauty booster. “Almonds are, among other things, a fantastic source of vitamin E and magnesium,” Ernestam says of what makes them such great skin savers. The latter is actually linked to curbing breakouts. “Vitamin E has antioxidant-like functions, protects our tissues, and provides us with anti-inflammatory effects. In other words, almonds are good for the inside of our bodies, as well as for the outside of them,” Ernestam says.
best for potassium: pistachios
Pistachios are a totally underrated nut, but Ernestam says they’re worth adding to your breakfast not just for the protein but also because they’re high in potassium. “Pistachios contain a bit more potassium compared to other nuts,” she says, adding that the nutrient is important for nerve and muscle function. That means it especially makes for a good breakfast if working out is part of your morning routine.
best for heart health: Walnuts
Ask a cardiologist for a nut recommendation and they’re likely to recommend walnuts. “Walnuts contain a load of polyunsaturated fats, making them beneficial for our cardiovascular health,” Ernestam says, adding that they’re also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. “Foods with omega-3 fats—like walnuts—have anti-inflammatory effects, improve brain health, and prevent heart disease and cancer,” she says. In other words, these nuts are literal brain foods.
best for boosting metabolism: macadamia nuts
“Like most other nuts, macadamia nuts are are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and are linked to several health benefits, including heart health,” Ernestam. But she adds that what sets them apart from other nuts is their richness in B-vitamins, such as thiamine, linked to boosting metabolism.
Whatever nut you add to your toast, you’re bound to reap major nutritional benefits—and be more likely to stay full longer. As always, it’s still important to do your label reading when stocking up and it’s best to buy your nuts unsalted or flavored. Keep this advice in mind and your breakfast is sure to be well-rounded.
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