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6 High-Fiber Breakfast Stars That Aren’t Oatmeal

February 16, 2024

The choices we make at breakfast help set the tone for the rest of the day. Will you feel fueled and energized, or have a quick surge and then crash hours before lunch? One of the best ways to feel the way you want to is to have a high-fiber breakfast.

“Fiber is especially important with breakfast because it provides us with long-sustaining energy,” says Rebecca Russell, MS, RD. “Fiber-rich foods are digested slowly. That gives us that feeling of fullness for longer and helps us get and stay energized in the morning. Also, because we digest it slowly, this helps to regulate our blood glucose levels first thing in the morning, which again leads to more sustained energy.” 

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Why focus on fiber for breakfast?

Fiber is the indigestible part of plant-based foods. Its super power isn’t only in providing slow-burning energy, however. “It also has a slew of other benefits,” says Russell, “including its ability to help regulate bowel movements, maintain a healthy weight, reduce cholesterol, and lower the risk of diseases such as heart disease, some cancers, and brain disorders.”

But most U.S. adults only get about half of the recommended amount of fiber each day. “It’s important that we eat enough fiber in the day, at least 25 grams for females and 38 grams for males,” Russell says. “While those may seem like low numbers, there isn’t a ton of fiber in foods, so getting enough fiber with each meal is especially important. Starting with eating about 8 to 12 grams of fiber with breakfast is a great way to set yourself up to hitting your daily fiber goals.”

High-fiber breakfast beyond oatmeal

Though oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast – it’s packed with fiber, and really versatile – it  isn’t the only option. Here are six other foods that are key to enjoying high-fiber breakfasts.

  1. Other grains

Other grains besides oats are also high in fiber. You can get an ample dose from brown rice, quinoa, or farro, or others, and all can be easily tailored for breakfast. For example, you can make an oatmeal-like porridge out of quinoa. That brings 5 grams of fiber per cup, and you can enjoy it with sweet or savory toppings. “Quinoa or brown rice can be cooked with egg and spinach for a well-balanced savory breakfast,” says Catherine Gervacio, RND and certified exercise nutrition coach with the E-Health Project.

“You can even make pancakes with a high fiber flour such as whole wheat flour,” Russell says, noting that you can also incorporate additional fiber sources, such as chia seeds and flaxseed meal. 

  1. Seeds

Speaking of chia seeds, they can take center stage in a tasty high-fiber breakfast. “A coconut chia pudding is a good choice,” says Gervacio. “Simply soak chia seeds in coconut milk overnight, then top with fruits when ready to serve.” A single ounce of chia seeds has about 10 to 11 grams of fiber, before you even start adding fruit into the equation. Depending on what fruit or nuts you sprinkle on the pudding, you could be halfway to your daily fiber target in a single meal.

  1. Sweet Potato

One cup of cubed sweet potato has about 4 grams of fiber, and has numerous breakfast applications. “Sweet potato can be prepared by mashing it and topping it with nuts and Greek yogurt for added protein,” says Gervacio. It also can be a good base for eggs, and there’s always sweet potato toast. Another advantage to sweet potato: It’s a good option for meal prep. Bake and mash a couple of sweet potatoes over the weekend to have a high-fiber breakfast base at the ready all week.

  1. Beans

You may not think of beans for breakfast right away. But with nearly 10 grams of fiber in a ½-cup serving, they’re worth considering. Try beans on whole wheat toast, or as a base for eggs. They’re also delicious in dishes like breakfast burritos and juevos rancheros – bonus points for topping either with fiber-rich avocado.

  1. Vegetables

“Veggie scrambles can be another great high-fiber breakfast option,” Russell says. Avocado, greens, and broccoli all have good amounts of fiber, and are also delicious omelet or scramble components. A scramble or omelet also provides healthy protein, which can help keep you feeling full and energized. Add whole wheat toast and/or a fruit salad on the side to round out the plate. 

  1. Fruit

Berries are popular at breakfast, and they’re a good source of fiber (raspberries have 8 grams per cup). Pears and apples also bring a nice dose of fiber (about 4 grams in either) and work well for breakfast. You can add a fruit salad to any breakfast you enjoy, or turn to that a.m. fave, smoothies

“A smoothie can also be a great high-fiber breakfast idea,” Russell says. “You can add just about anything to a smoothie. Adding in high-fiber nuts, seeds, and vegetables as well as fruit can help you get in that extra fiber for breakfast.”

Read next: 6 High-Fiber Sheet Pan Recipes for Nutritious Meals

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