A plain bowl of oatmeal isn’t the most inspiring of breakfasts, but adding a spoonful of almond butter will have you focused, full, and ready to greet the day. Almonds contain healthy polyunsaturated fats which help lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and keep you calm and focused. Almond butter is a versatile ingredient that goes well smeared on apples, mixed in oatmeal, or spread on a piece of whole-grain toast.
An apple is a convenient breakfast food that can be chomped down in a hurry or diced up and added to a yogurt parfait. Apples contain high amounts of fiber and natural sugars that break down slowly in the body, releasing a steady stream of glucose into the bloodstream and providing the body with a consistent source of energy. Research showed that apples improve neurological health because they contain quercetin, one of two compounds found to reduce inflammation of neurons.
This spring superfood isn’t part of traditional breakfast fare, but asparagus can help relieve some pre-interview anxiety. Asparagus is rich in folic acid and vitamin B12 — two nutrients crucial for proper neurological function. One cup of cooked asparagus (around 10 spears) offers 50 percent of your daily requirement, and the earthy stalks make a delicious accompaniment to a poached egg or frittata.
Whether it’s topping avocado toast, overnight oats, or a plate of huevos rancheros, avocado has become a staple of modern breakfast culture. In a study funded by the Hass Avocado Board, avocados were found to improve lutein levels in the brain, which is related to improved cognition. Avocado’s mono-saturated fats also benefit the information-carrying nerves in the brain. Find some way to incorporate these superfoods into your morning routine.
Nature and centuries of selective breeding have provided humanity with the ultimate portable breakfast snack — the banana. Dr. Sue Decotiis, weight-loss expert, says, "Bananas provide a unique mixture of antioxidants, carbohydrates, and potassium that give your body an energy boost." Add some sliced banana to your bowl of cereal or throw it into your morning breakfast smoothie.
Eating a pint of blueberries can help sharpen that quick wit. These tart-yet-sweet berries are incredibly rich in antioxidants, specifically gallic acid. Over 6,500 peer-reviewed articles have labeled this compound as a neuroprotective agent that maintains brain health. Blueberries are easy to incorporate into breakfast by adding them to oatmeal, yogurt, or — dare I say it — pancakes.
In the grocery store, you never see a child getting too enthusiastic over the bran cereal, but since you’re an adult it’s time to switch over to the dark (brown) side. Bran cereals contain magnesium, an underappreciated micronutrient that is responsible for 300 biochemical reactions, most notably the breaking down of glucose into energy. A lack of magnesium might lead to a mid-day energy crash — not ideal for an afternoon interview.
When walking into an interview you want to appear cool, calm, and confident. The solution: a breakfast including broccoli. A half cup of broccoli provides 11 micrograms of chromium, almost 50 percent of the recommended daily intake. This trace mineral works directly with mood regulators in the brain, and it aids in managing levels of mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin. The University of Maryland Medical Center claims that 90 percent of Americans don’t get enough chromium in their daily diet, so get ahead of the competition and incorporate broccoli into a morning quiche or have a cup of broccoli-powered coffee.
The word chia is derived from the Mayan word for “strength,” and before a stressful interview you can use all the strength you can get. Chia seeds contain a variety of nutrients and antioxidants, but they are also easy to prepare. To a mason jar, add some milk or non-dairy milk alternative and a few spoonfuls of chia seeds, then refrigerate overnight for a simple chia pudding.
Cottage cheese has the reputation of being Greek yogurt’s painfully uncool older brother, but all of that is set to change as consumers begin to appreciate its rich nutritional content. Cottage cheese is a complete protein (perfect for post-workouts), and a non-meat source of vitamin B12, a nutrient linked to reducing the severity of anxiety and depression.
Despite the cholesterol in the yolk, eggs are an ideal breakfast food, and are an inexpensive way to get a protein-rich food into your morning routine. They also contain choline, an essential nutrient that stimulates brain development and has been linked to improved memory retention. Try them scrambled, poached, or baked in a muffin tin for easy on-the-go egg bites.
Greek yogurt is hailed as a breakfast staple for its low calories and high protein content, but the real health benefits come from its probiotics. These healthy bacteria help with digestion and fight against bad breath — perfect for an up close and personal interview.
Matcha, a concentrated green tea powder, is a superfood packed with antioxidants that is also found to boost energy and endurance — just what you need when you’re running out of the house. It’s often whisked with a small amount of hot water, and used as the base of lattes, but the powder can also be easily mixed into breakfast smoothies. Just remember to use it sparingly; a little goes a long way.
Overnight oats are one of the trendiest breakfast foods around, but part of the reason for this fibrous fad is that it’s so darn good. When the oats steep overnight in milk or a non-dairy alternative, they develop a creamy consistency almost like a pudding. Top with bananas and avocado for a complete breakfast that you can wake up and walk out the door with.
A layer of lox or smoked salmon draped over a lightly cream-cheesed bagel is a breakfast luxury that will not only excite your taste buds but also make your mind sharper. Salmon is a legitimate superfood because it contains DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid prominent in fatty fish like salmon, which has been linked to improved cognitive functioning. In children, a lack of DHA can lead to behavioral issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and aggressive hostility, so make sure you add some lox to your bagel or scrambled eggs.