You've heard it over and over since the beginning of time: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether or not that's true, we do know this much: There are few things better than coming back to the kitchen after a workout and loading up on some quality protein, carbs, and (yes) fat because you've earned it at the gym, dammit.

But while pancakes and waffles are always nice, there's often a creeping sense of guilt that comes with them. All those carbs, all that refined sugar, all that syrup—it catches up with your conscience. So because we want to have our (pan)cake and eat it too, we've created five delicious, better-for-you breakfast recipes. They make it easy to fill up on the good stuff, without overdoing anything.

And while you may not indulge in cheat meal breakfasts the size of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's cheat meals—which may actually kill a mortal man—you can come back from the gym knowing that your go-to meals are just as much a reward as a gym-day requirement.

1. Flax seed waffles with sausage

Makes: 3 waffles and 3 sausage patties

INGREDIENTS

WAFFLES
1/2 tbsp flaxseeds
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup whisked eggs (about 11⁄2 eggs)
1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking spray
Sugar-free syrup

SAUSAGES
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
1/2 lb ground pork

DIRECTIONS

TO PREPARE WAFFLES
1) Place flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or blender and process until ground. Set the flaxseed meal aside.
2) Spoon both flours into measuring cups and level. Combine the flaxseed meal, flours, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
3) In another bowl, combine milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla, and then add to flour mixture, stirring until moist.
4) Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray; preheat. Spoon 1/5-cup of batter per 4-inch waffle onto the hot iron, spreading batter to edges. Cook 6 minutes or until steaming stops. Repeat with remaining batter.
5) Serve waffles with sugar-free syrup.

TO PREPARE SAUSAGES
1) Mix spices in a small bowl and then mix into the pork with your hands. Form 3 patties.
2) Place a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pork and pan-fry 3–4 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center.

NUTRITION

774 calories, 77g protein, 56g carbs, 25g fat

healthy food, breakfast recipes

2. Flourless pancakes

Makes: 5 large cakes

INGREDIENTS

2 bananas 
4 whole eggs
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
Strawberry preserves or strawberries (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1) Blend the bananas, eggs, and almond butter to make a batter (you can use a blender on a low setting or mix the ingredients with a fork).

2) Heat a medium-size skillet on high. Pour in the coconut oil. When it’s hot, add the batter to form cakes. Cook until bubbles form and burst and then flip. Cook another minute or until undersides of pancakes are brown.

3) Plate the pancakes and cover with strawberry preserves or fresh strawberries, if you like. (The pancakes are sweet enough without it.)

NUTRITION

812 calories, 34g protein, 60g carbs, 52g fat

healthy food, breakfast recipes

3. Eggs Benedict with crab

Makes: 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup grass-fed whole milk
1/4 cup light mayo
1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp grass-fed butter
1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
2 English muffins, toasted
4 oz fresh lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
Cracked black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1) To make the sauce, combine first 5 ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat, stirring with a whisk. Add butter and stir until it melts. Keep warm.

2) To make eggs, add water to a large skillet, filling it two- thirds full. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer.

3) Add white wine vinegar to the water. Break each egg into a cup and then pour it gently into pan. Cook for 3 minutes or until your preferred doneness.

4) Place 1 muffin, cut sides up, on each of 2 plates, and divide crab among muffins. Remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon.

5) Gently place 1 egg on each muffin half. Top each serving with about 3 tbsp sauce. Sprinkle with cracked pepper. Garnish with chives, if desired.

NUTRITION

298 calories, 18g protein, 27g carbs, 12g fat

healthy food, breakfast recipes

4. Yogurt parfait

Makes: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp apricot preserves
1 cup sliced strawberries 
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat granola
1 tbsp slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS

1) Place apricot preserves in a bowl and microwave on high for 15 seconds or until preserves melt. Add strawberries and toss gently to coat.

2) Spoon some yogurt into a glass; top with strawberry mixture. Repeat these layers, then top with granola and almonds. Serve.

NUTRITION

273 calories, 15g protein, 47g carbs, 5g fat
 

5. Pesto burrito

Makes: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS

2 whole eggs
1 1/2 tsp nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Cooking spray
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp prepared pesto sauce
3 grape tomatoes, sliced
1 slice turkey bacon
1 10-inch flour tortilla
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grapes

DIRECTIONS

1) Beat the eggs in a bowl with the yogurt until blended, and then stir in the cheddar.

2) Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the onion and pesto sauce and cook until the onion is translucent.

3) Add the tomatoes to the pesto and onion and stir. Now pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook and stir until the eggs are cooked, about 3 minutes. Transfer everything from the skillet and set aside.

4) Place the turkey bacon in the skillet and fry until thoroughly cooked and starting to crisp. When the bacon is done, remove from the pan.

5) Respray the skillet and place the tortilla onto it. Heat until it’s warm. Remove to a plate.

6) Spoon the eggs and turkey bacon into the tortilla’s center and season wit h salt and pepper. Fold the bottom 2 inches of the tortilla up to enclose the filling and wrap tightly. Serve with grapes on the side.

NUTRITION

687 calories, 34g protein, 70g carbs, 32g fat