What 29 Doctors Really Eat for Breakfast

what doctors eat for breakfast
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist
Daniel Fishel/Thrillist

Doctors are supposed to be the epitome of health, a shining example of how to live your best life... or at least a shining example of how to exercise restraint in plastic surgery. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day (allegedly), it would make sense that doctors start their mornings off with the healthiest, most nutritious choices, right?

Not always. Doctors are human, after all! Though most try to stay healthy, they still work crazy hours in stressful jobs, and sometimes convenience takes precedence over nutrition. Here's what 29 MDs told us they eat for breakfast. 

"A glass of cranberry juice, a ginger tea, a yogurt with fruit, and a small bowl of oatmeal. Sounds healthy, yes? Well, it's all downhill from there!" -- Dr. Malcolm Thaler, provider at One Medical

"Coffee with eggs or oatmeal." -- Dr. Eduardo Grunvald, program director, UC San Diego Weight Management Program

"I'm a strong believer in intermittent fasting and intentionally don't eat breakfast, except for a double espresso and water. Instead, I routinely eat lunch at 12, which includes a protein, a complex carb, and water. I repeat the same for dinner." -- Dr. Adam Splaver, cardiologist

Garlic bread, hot dog, donuts...

"I make it a point to eat something, however cold, hot, healthy, or junk it may be. My usual breakfast varies daily, but my options are usually a cold or hot sandwich with potatoes, garlic bread, hot dog, donuts, or stuffed/flavored breads with dips, along with an occasional flavored milkshake. It is difficult to go for too long without eating anything, I also take a small plate of fruits or some juice after a while for a midday brunch before my actual lunch." -- Dr. Aditi Gupta, internist, head of the doctor's panel at JustDoc

"I usually have a power bar (one of the GoMacro bars) and a cup of coffee and/or a protein shake (Juice Plus) en route to work." -- Dr. Mark Ellerkmann, director of urogynecology at the Weinberg Center for Women's Health and Medicine in Baltimore

"On the drive to work, I drink coffee with flavored cream at 6:13am, and do my first case. After my first case, I eat the rest of my breakfast at around 9am, which is a fruit smoothie with one cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt, one half-cup blueberries, one half-cup frozen strawberries, and a banana. I have this with a bagel topped with Nova lox and cream cheese." -- Dr. Jacob Freiman, plastic surgeon

"Black cherry Chobani yogurt with Bear Naked granola Maple-icious granola. Coffee with Truvia and French vanilla creamer.-- Dr. Heather Sered, service chief at the Miami VA Hospital

Do I recommend this to my patients? No, but doctors are the worst patients.

"My breakfast depends on which hospital I am at. My preference is plain Greek nonfat Chobani yogurt with granola, and when available, I add blueberries or Craisins. Or I'll have a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese, or a vegetable egg white omelet with coffee or water." -- Dr. Jeremy Dennis, second-year resident, anesthesia

"I eat all kinds of things for breakfast, but they're not always healthy: Greek yogurt with bananas or granola or flax seeds, Cheerios with molasses, Quest power bars, or a whole-wheat English muffin with a variety of toppings." -- Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, family medicine and provider at One Medical.

"My everyday breakfast is always some kind of bread (ciabatta, English muffin, multigrain, bagel) with either peanut butter, melted Gouda cheese, or cream cheese, plus a latte." -- Dr. Alejandra Vivas, dermatologist

"I do not eat breakfast per se. My regimen includes: coffee with or without dairy-free creamer (no sugar), 500mg of vitamin C, 5,000 IU of vitamin D, fish oil, and 1,000mg of DHA and EPA. I have been doing this for five years. Do I recommend this to my patients? No, but doctors are the worst patients." -- Dr. Alex Foxman, internist

"I eat a bowl of cereal, usually Raisin Bran or Corn Flakes, with cashew or almond milk and absolutely no coffee." -- Dr. David Dennis, hematologist-oncologist

"I only eat breakfast if I am hungry when I leave for work. If I do have something, it would usually be a banana. More likely that banana would be a mid-morning snack because I usually take lunch at 1:30 in the afternoon." -- Dr. Michael S. Goldrich, ear, nose, and throat doctor

Poached egg on a bed of arugula... a drizzle of olive oil and sherry vinegar

"I eat breakfast around 7:30am. I like Arrowhead Mills Maple Buckwheat Flakes and fresh raspberries and almond milk. Some days I make a smoothie with organic bananas, apples, spinach, a tablespoon of Justin's almond butter for protein, chia seeds, raspberries or blueberries, and almond milk. I also like to make tea out of organic mint leaves." -- Dr. Inna Ozerov, ophthalmologist

"I eat steel-cut oatmeal for long-acting, low-glycemic carbs, some egg whites or a protein shake for protein, and typically a fruit for a quick post-workout meal first thing in the morning. I usually work out on an empty stomach prior, so I'm starving when I get home. It also gives me sustained energy for the day. If I really have a sweet tooth, I'll try and indulge at this time of day too, because its less likely to result in that spare tire than eating something sweet at night." -- Dr. David Greuner, NYC Surgical ​​​

"I usually don't feel like eating for several hours after I wake up in the morning, so I drink a cup of peppermint, lemon, and ginger tea. I understand the importance of 'breaking the fast' within the hour of awakening, so I usually make a smoothie made with almond or coconut milk, PolisheD Body Fit Powder, spinach, strawberries or blueberries, and cashew butter. For variety, I will do carrots, ginger, and celery combo. On weekends, I try to eat whole foods that include protein, carbohydrate, and grain. For example, fried eggs, sautéed quinoa, and spinach, or avocado toast on Ezekiel bread with peppers." -- Dr. Natasha Sandy

"My favorite breakfast is the one my husband makes for me (he is the chef in the family!): a poached egg on a bed of arugula, with sliced tomato and avocado and a drizzle of olive oil and sherry vinegar with a touch of cracked pepper. It's high in protein, fiber, and healthy monounsaturated fats. Since I don't like to eat eggs every day, I often alternate with steel-cut oatmeal topped with bananas and strawberries." -- Dr. Jennifer Haythe, cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center

A handful of almonds and a Boca spicy "chicken" patty, which takes me four minutes

"I'm often pressed for time in the morning. I often eat a handful of almonds and a Boca spicy 'chicken' patty, which takes me four minutes. When I have more time, cereal and strawberries." -- Dr. Nitin Kumar, Bariatric Endoscopy Institute

"I like eggs, and they happen to be chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy proteins, and amino acids. On my days off, when I have an extra minute to cook, I will make an omelet with two organic egg whites, 1oz of organic milk, stirred, salted, and lightly fried with some coconut or olive oil. Some days I will cut some scallions and a strip of red pepper into my omelet, or on other days I prefer to add an ounce of Vidalia onion with four to five grape tomatoes and dill. Either way, I typically top the almost-ready omelet with a pinch of organic mozzarella cheese." -- Dr. Svetlana Kogan, author of Diet Slave No More! 

"Ezekiel multigrain bread toast with organic natural (peanuts-only) crunchy peanut butter, cup of delicious chai (milk and tea leaves boiled with ginger, sugar, cardamom, and mint), and a banana or some other fruit." -- Dr. Urvish Shah, gastroenterologist

"My favorite breakfast is a small portion of steel-cut oatmeal sprinkled with walnuts, black raspberries or blueberries, along with a cup of green tea and an 8oz glass of water, preferably alkaline water." -- Dr. Joseph Mosquera

"I make a smoothie (about 16oz or so) with two scoops of whey protein (Cornerstone, Synergy Ultimate Balance, UltraMeal, or UltraMeal rice), one scoop ground flaxseed, one scoop hempseed, 4-6oz of milk (rice, soy, almond, hemp, coconut, hazelnut, or low-fat cow), frozen or fresh fruits (berries, usually), nut butter, and a variety of other vegetables including greens (spinach, kale, chard), bell peppers, and herbs." -- Dr. Allan Sosin, internist and nephrologist

"I eat fruit and unsweetened Greek yogurt, or eggs and oatmeal for breakfast. If I'm in a hurry, I’ll pick one of my protein smoothies or protein bars." -- Dr. Caroline Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center

This is going to sound weird...

"Usually it's a cup of coffee and a smoothie (0% Greek yogurt, organic peanut butter, and celery). It's not the best-tasting smoothie, but it's filled with protein. I also take a multivitamin and a probiotic with breakfast." -- Dr. Febin Melepura, pain specialist of Stanford Pain & Sports Medicine

"I'll have either a poached egg with avocado on whole-grain toast -- this is the optimized balance of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals -- or I'll have non-dairy yogurt with nuts and berries. This provides ideal amounts of calcium, heart-healthy fats, and antioxidants." -- Dr. Lisa Benya, founder of CURE by Dr. Benya

"My breakfast typically involves breads such as toast with jam or butter, as well as a few fruits. I like to eat South Indian specialities too like idli, dosa, or sambar on most days." -- Dr. Haleema Yezdani, gynecologist and consultant at JustDoc

"Well, if I have time, I have two eggs over easy with 1/2oz of cheese and hot sauce on top. If I'm rushing out the door, I will have a protein shake or a high-protein meal replacement bar. My breakfast is always accompanied by a large glass of ice water and a cup of coffee with a teaspoon of cream." -- Dr. Wendy Scinta, medical director, Medical Weight Loss of New York

"This is going to sound weird, but my daughter likes tortillas so when she makes her own, she makes me a couple with peanut butter. I eat one for breakfast and the second one is for mid-afternoon so that I can eat on the run." -- Dr. Mark A. Rasak, cardiologist, Cardiovascular Clinical Associates

"My favorite breakfast is the sweet onion frittata with turkey sausage from Balance by bistroMD. I pair it with our favorite protein-packed turkey sausage for a grand total of 25g of protein, and the entire meal is just 270 calories for a great way to start your day and keep you full all morning long." -- Dr. Caroline Cederquist, weight-loss doctor and founder of bistroMD

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Christina Stiehl is a Health and fitness staff writer for Thrillist. She's now going to start having a variety of donuts and flavored milkshakes for breakfast. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaStiehl.