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The #1 Best Breakfast for a Vitamin D Boost, Says Science

It’s certainly not one you would expect.

We all know that standing in the sun for at least 5 to 30 minutes twice a week can help us get the sufficient amount of vitamin D we need. According to the Dietary Reference Intake, adults under the age of 70 need at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day, and adults over 70 need 800 IU. And yet, standing in the sun may not always be an option—especially during those winter months—so finding other ways to give your body a vitamin D boost is crucial. Food can be one way to get your vitamin D in, and wouldn't you know it, but there's one breakfast in particular that can give you a big vitamin D boost for the rest of the day.

First, let's dive into the different foods rich in vitamin D. The list is limited, but it does include some popular foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet. Eggs (with the yolk), mushrooms (that have been exposed to the sun), and fortified dairy and alternative milk products can all contain vitamin D. But one of the best sources of vitamin D come from fatty fish—which is what you should consider incorporating into your breakfast.

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Smoked salmon sandwich
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Fish, for breakfast? It may sound, well, fishy, but trust us on this one. Different forms of fatty fish—like salmon, tuna, and mackerel—are all rich sources of vitamin D in your diet, along with those heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

In particular, a study from the Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology states wild salmon as one of the richest sources of vitamin D with 988 IU in a 3.5 oz. serving—which is 124% of your daily value (DV).

Now it's highly unlikely that you'll bake a fillet of salmon for breakfast (unless you really want that, which honestly, good for you). So instead, an easy way to incorporate this fatty fish into your breakfast is to eat smoked salmon.

If you ask us, smoked salmon is a bit more breakfast-appropriate compared to other fatty fish. People order it on their bagel sandwiches or even slice it up to have it on the side with some soft-boiled eggs. But one of our favorite breakfast dishes using this item is this Smoked Salmon and Boursin Cheese Frittata Recipe.

smoked salmon boursin frittata
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Between the eggs and the smoked salmon, you'll get a boost of vitamin D with no problem. You can even look for choosing dairy products (milk and cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D for even more of a boost with your breakfast! Serve it as a breakfast with a cup of coffee and a side of fruit, or a delicious brunch with friends served with a simple bed of leafy greens and an oil-based vinaigrette.

Now another great way to get your smoked salmon in the morning is by putting it on a sandwich. Similar to the famous bagel and lox sandwiches you see in New York City, we have a healthier Smoked Salmon Sandwich served with whipped cream cheese, baby greens, red onions, capers, smoked salmon, all between two slices of whole-grain bread. For even more vitamin D, add a fried egg to your sandwich—which boosts your vitamin D count by another 37 IU. Just make sure to keep the yolk in the egg, because that's where all of those nutrients come from!

Looking for even more healthy vitamin D recipe ideas? Check out our list of The 45 Best Recipes for an Instant Vitamin D Boost.

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten