Try These 8 Healthy Latino Breakfast Foods

There are so many healthy Latino breakfast foods to choose from!

As a Latina dietitian, I love to help my clients learn to build healthy meals while including their favorite Latin American foods. Not only is it delicious, but including familiar favorite foods also helps make following a nutrition plan easier!

If you’re looking for healthy breakfast ideas that incorporate your favorite Latino foods, look no further! In this post I’ll share 8 popular, healthy breakfast idea from across Latin America.

So let’s talk breakfast!

three examples of latino breakfast foods side by side

What makes a healthy breakfast?

Just like any meal, we want to hit our three major macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fat at breakfast time. We also want to make sure we are getting in fiber (ideally in the form of non starchy vegetables).

Other than that, the difference between what’s a breakfast food or a dinner food is mostly cultural. Remember that you can eat anything at any time of day, so long as you aim for a balance of carbs, protein, fat, and veggies.

What are the common breakfast foods of Latin America?

This is a tough question to answer as there is so much regional variation!

But some common themes tend to emerge such as eggs (no surprise there), rice and beans, and other starches like plantains or tortillas. Savory meals like rice and beans or soup are actually fairly common breakfast foods in Latin America. This means you can always eat leftovers for breakfast to save extra time!

Of course, Latin America has its fair share of sweet, starchy breakfasts such as pan dulce or even cereal. I left those out of today’s breakfast post but remember that anything can be balanced, especially if you’re willing to try out some unconventional combinations!

Examples of Healthy Latino Breakfasts

I chose eight breakfasts from across Latin America and showed how they can make a healthy breakfast!

Costa Rica: Gallo Pinto

gallo pinto

Gallo pinto, the classic rice and black bean dish from Costa Rica, is often served with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Like other rice and bean dishes, gallo pinto provides a good mix of protein, fiber, and carbs.

For a fully plant-based meal you can always leave out the eggs and just have the gall pinto itself for breakfast.

To get the veggies, I added greens to the scrambled eggs and slices of avocado and tomato to make a balanced plate.

Try this gallo pinto recipe

Mexico: Huevos Rancheros

huevos rancheros

Did you know Mexico is one of the largest consumers of eggs in the world?

There are so many Mexican egg dishes you can choose from to make a balanced breakfast. The best part is eggs are so easy to pair with vegetables.

In classic huevos rancheros, eggs provide protein and B vitamins, tortillas provide fiber and carbs. The salsa adds a bit of vegetables, and you can always add a bit more by serving with avocado slices.

Try this huevos rancheros recipe.

Mexico: Molletes

mexican molletes on an orange background topped with avocado and pico de gallo

Molletes are a Mexican open-faced sandwich topped with refried beans. You’ll also commonly see cheese and assorted vegetables on top like salsa or avocado.

I love molletes for breakfast because I love including beans at breakfast. It’s a great way to get a boost of fiber and protein first thing in the morning.

To get the most balanced breakfast from molletes, opt for one half of a roll plus a generous serving of veggies on top like pico de gallo, avocado, or even pickled red onions.

Try this recipe for molletes

Dominican Republic: Mangú con los Tres Golpes

tres golpes

Okay so this is more like dos golpes. The classic tres golpes includes queso para freír (frying cheese), eggs, and fried salami. To make this balanced you want your proteins to make up about a quarter of the plate, so I chose to just focus on the cheese and the egg.

But you could pick two out of three, or have slightly smaller servings of all three. Your mangú provides fiber and carbs for energy, and those pickled red onions totally count as your veggie, along with avocado and tomato slices!

Try this mangú recipe.

Cuba: Tortilla de plátano maduro (sweet plantain omelet)

plantain omelette on a blue plate

I’ve shared in another post about Cuban breakfast foods that tortilla española (Spanish omelet) is a very common dish in Cuba. While the most traditional version of this dish is made with potatoes, versions with plantain are also common.

I love making tortilla española with sweet plantains because it adds a sweet and savory element to the dish.

This omelet with starchy vegetables is a healthy breakfast, too! The eggs provide protein, and the plantains provide resistant starch which is great for gut health. You can also get healthy fats and antioxidants in this dish if you cook it with olive oil.

It’s common to serve a dish like this with a small side salad or some avocado slices for extra vegetables, as well.

Try this sweet plantain omelet recipe

Colombia: Avena


Avena means oatmeal in Spanish. And it’s true that regular oatmeal is a relatively normal breakfast in many parts of Latin America. But in Colombian food, “avena” also means a specific type of oatmeal shake you’ll see at breakfast time.

Cooked oats are chilled and blended with milk for a refreshing take on oatmeal. I also love this one because it’s portable!

Avena is a healthy breakfast, combining whole grain oats with a protein source (milk).

The oats are a great source of fiber, and healthy complex carbohydrates. Oats may help lower cholesterol, thanks to the beta-glucans (1). And whole grains like oats may help reduce inflammation and prevent colorectal cancer (2).

Try this Colombian avena recipe

Ecuador: Majado de verde

Majado de verde is a mashed green plantain dish commonly seen at breakfast in Ecuador. For a traditional breakfast, serve with a fried egg and avocado.

This dish can also provide vegetables if you cook it with garlic and onion, and serve it with avocado. Talk about a hearty, nutritious breakfast!

Try this majado de verde recipe

Brazil: Açai Bowl

acai bowl with berries and granola

Do you think California and fancy grocery stores when you hear “açai bowl?”

While they’re a relatively recent trend here in the US, açai smoothies and bowls have been a Brazilian treat for a long time!

And they have the potential to be a super healthy breakfast, pairing antioxidant-rich açai with high-fiber foods like granola, nuts, and seeds.

Depending on your favorite recipe, you may need to add a protein source either into the smoothie itself or on the side.

Try this açai bowl recipe

Looking for more healthy Latino meal ideas?

We’ve just scratched the surface of all the healthy Latino breakfast foods out there!

From avena to huevos rancheros, there are so many Latino breakfast foods that are delicious and nutritious.

Looking for more healthy meal ideas that celebrate your favorite Latin flavors? Grab a copy of my free 1-week Mexican meal plan! Get your copy when you sign up below.


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