When you’re following a diet, it’s easy to get into a breakfast rut. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and fish. Combining these elements to make a delicious and filling breakfast can give your day a real boost.
INSIDER consulted with nutritionists and experts to identify the best things to eat for breakfast when you’re on the Mediterranean diet.
Greek yogurt with berries and flax seeds is a no-fuss breakfast option.
When you’re pressed for time and want a high-protein breakfast that won’t keep you standing at the stove, opt for plain Greek yogurt with a smattering of berries.
“Greek yogurt is strained in a way that makes it higher in protein than regular yogurt. Yogurt is also rich in probiotics, which are good bacteria necessary for many bodily functions,” registered dietician Katie Hughestold INSIDER.
Going for plain yogurt is recommended while on the Mediterranean diet in order to avoid added sugars. If you want a bit of sweetness, you can add a light drizzle of honey.
For an extra dose of goodness, add ground flaxseed. It’s rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are extremely important for fighting inflammation in the body.
“I always recommend ground flaxseed meal rather than regular flax seeds because they are absorbed better in the body,” Hughes added.
Overnight oats are tasty and filling.
All you need for a sustaining and delicious breakfast on the Mediterranean diet is a handful of oats and a few hours to spare.
“Overnight oats with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and blueberries. It’s simple to prepare, has more soluble fiber and antioxidants, and is filling,” Dr. Craig Zalvan, clinical professor of otolaryngology at New York Medical College, told INSIDER.
To make this dish, soak a portion of oats in either water, milk, or plant milk in the refrigerator overnight.
Indulge in an early-morning vegan grilled cheese.
If you’re looking for an unconventional breakfast treat, Dr. Zalvan recommended trying a whole grain vegan grilled cheese. It’s simple to prepare and tastes decadent while still being plant-based.
“Combine whole grain bread with spread of Vegenaise on the outside, vegan cheese (spicy or coconut based), tomato, avocado, and a sprinkling of hemp seeds. Add a slice of vegan bacon if you’re in the mood,” he suggested.
Whip up toast with peanut butter and banana slices for a simple and fun breakfast.
Who would have thought that Elvis’ favorite snack is actually a great breakfast option on the Mediterranean diet? This simple and no-cook meal can be cobbled together in moments and eaten on the go.
“With whole grain bread, you’ll be eating more fiber and vitamins than in white bread, and that will help you stave off those mid-morning munchies. Peanut butter offers those great, healthy fats with its protein, and the banana will add some sweetness, more fiber, and potassium,” Laura Yautz, registered dietician and owner of Being Nutritious, told INSIDER.
A whole grain English muffin with greens and bean spread is another good option.
Another easy breakfast on the Mediterranean diet is opting for an English muffin piled high with whole food toppings. Yautz recommended smearing a whole grain English muffin with bean spread before adding a handful of spinach and a poached egg.
“Any bean dip will do here: hummus, black bean dip, white bean dip. It will pull the sandwich together into a cohesive meal. With a little salty and tangy flavor along with its nutritional punch, it’s a great stand in for cheese, which should be used only sparingly,” she said.
Poaching the egg will help you avoid unnecessary calories that other cooking methods add, but amp up the satisfying protein. You can also swap in any green you like if you’re not a fan of spinach, though spinach is packed with fiber, vitamin A, and potassium.
Almonds and almond butter are a great way to start your day with protein.
Almonds are a popular snack and ingredient in Mediterranean meals from breakfast through to dinner. They offer a filling and energizing combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to help you feel satisfied.
“Slivered or sliced almonds are a delicious addition to your oatmeal, cereal, granola, muesli, yogurt, ricotta or whole grain muffins, while almond butter is perfect drizzled over whole grain pancakes, waffles, and fruit. I also love using almond flour to make almond blueberry pancakes that have more staying power than versions made with white flour,” Christy Brissette, registered dietitian and President of 80 Twenty Nutrition, told INSIDER.
Eggs are the ultimate Mediterranean breakfast bite.
Farm fresh eggs are commonly served at breakfast in the Mediterranean and are considered a healthy way to start off your day. Two eggs have 12 grams of high-quality protein for sustained energy and are endlessly versatile.
Incorporate eggs into your Mediterranean breakfast by topping smoked salmon toast with a poached egg, scrambling them with feta cheese and tomatoes, or munching on soup vide egg bites.
Read more: 16 unexpected ingredients you should be putting in your eggs
“Another tip from the Mediterranean: eat the yolks. Egg yolks contain fat which helps you stay satisfied longer. Egg yolks are also rich in choline, a nutrient that is needed for brain health and helps transport nutrients around your body. No egg white omelets here; the Mediterranean diet focuses on whole foods,” said Brissette.
Avocados have healthy fats that will keep hunger at bay.
Though they’re not native to the Mediterranean region, avocados do offer monounsaturated fat, which is the same type found in olive oil. These fats offer potential heart health benefits and can help with satiety.
“Avocados are a good source of fiber at [approximately] three grams per serving (one-third of a medium avocado). Fiber also helps you stay full and helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable, which is crucial to stabilizing weight, mood and energy levels,” said Brissette.
Though halving an avocado and eating it with a spoon is totally an option, you can also add avocado to smoothies, baked eggs, or even savory oatmeal.
If you love sweet breakfast treats, try these easy coconut date balls.
These plant-based goodies will satisfy a sweet tooth without relying on table sugar. They’re also a great a snack to pack for a post-gym treat.
To make this dish, combine chopped dates, crispy rice cereal, a bit of maple syrup, and a pat of melted butter. Roll the mixture into balls and covered with shredded, unsweetened coconut.
“Dates have a tremendous amount of fiber [aproximately] (6.4 grams for a half cup) and the fiber will slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Dates have a ton of potassium and essentially no sodium,” registered dietician Jeanne Tiberio told INSIDER.
Three date balls should also give you enough protein for your breakfast and they store well for several days refrigerated.
A whole grain bagel with hummus and cucumber is a satisfying breakfast dish.
Combining whole grains with tasty plant protein makes for a filling and healthy meal to get you to lunch, advised Yautz. She recommended topping a small whole grain bagel with hummus and adding some cucumber slices for crunch and flavor.
“Hummus is a source of healthy fats, which will help you feel satisfied longer. We add cucumbers here to boost the veggie servings in the day. Most people don’t eat enough, and adding them to breakfast is a great solution,” she said.