Brunch: What Belongs?

Planning brunch is an interesting challenge, nutritionally. Guests often look forward to enjoying one or two sweet treats, and many people love the chance to show off their favorite muffin recipes or the new pastry technique they learned watching their favorite baking show. Without careful thought, brunch can often end up being a festival to highly processed carbs that spike our blood sugar and leave us all crashing soon after. If you want to plan a brunch that gives guests a nutritious start to their day, here are a few types of food to consider including.

Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh Bacon

One Guiding Stars iconOne Guiding Stars indicate good nutritional value. If brunch doesn’t feel like brunch without bacon, give tempeh a try. Let your strip marinate overnight and fry them up as the last step before feeding your guests.

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Whole Grains

Whole grains are higher in fiber than heavily processed carbs. They take longer to digest, which is great for sustaining your energy levels over time. These tips will help you offer more whole grain at brunch:

  • For most quickbreads, it’s easy to substitute half or even all of your flour with whole wheat or white whole wheat flour.
  • Cereals are also a great option to offer, especially hot options like oatmeal or oat bran, which are easily paired with nutrition-boosters like nuts, flaxseed, hemp hearts, or chia seed.

Protein & Heart-Healthy Fat

Protein and unsaturated fat are both important for energy levels and satiation. Protein often goes hand-in-hand with fat in common breakfast foods, so consider both nutrients together. Here are a few foods worth pondering:

  • Eggs are an easy win. They do come with saturated fat in their nutritious little package, so make it easy for people to choose smaller amounts of saturated fat by serving things like butter and cheese only as optional sides.
  • Vegetarian proteins shine at breakfast. Tempeh bacon, vegetarian sausage, and scrambled tofu are great protein sources that are much lower in fat than their carnivorous equivalents. Cook them in a heart-healthy oil like olive or canola oil to bring a good balance of the right fats to the table.
  • Greek yogurt is packed with protein. Choose a plain, 0% fat option to keep the protein high and the saturated fat low and pair with fruit for sweetness and nuts for heart-healthy fat.


Getting your 5 a day of veggies and fruit can be challenging if you don’t get 1-2 servings in with breakfast. Offering fruit is a common idea for brunch, but considering the amount of added sugar people may have access to, guests may be grateful to be able to get some of their veggies in too. Try some of these ideas:

  • Serve a quiche or frittata that’s bursting with seasonal veggies.
  • Make a breakfast burrito bar with options like pepper, onion, tomato, and avocado.
  • Offer a green smoothie bar with an ample supply of kale or baby spinach.

Last week’s tip: Best. Brunch. Ever.

Next week’s tip: The Night Before Brunch