What 12 highly successful people eat for breakfast

Richard branson coffeeReuters/Olivia HarrisVirgin Group billionaire Richard Branson.

How do the most successful people start their days?

From getting up early to exercise routines, the mornings are an important time to reflect and get your mind and body ready for the day ahead.

This includes getting the fuel you need to face the world.

From Richard Branson’s morning fruit salad and grains to the CEO of Whole Foods’ healthy smoothie, here’s what 12 successful people eat for breakfast every day.

Vivian Giang contributed to an earlier version of this article.

Richard Branson eats an old-fashioned, high-fibre morning meal.

Every morning, Branson eats a fruit salad and muesli, a granola-like dish popular in Germany and Switzerland.

On occasion, Branson will eat kippers, an oily fish that's been unpopular for decades, reports Christine Lagorio-Chafkin at

Al Roker makes a mean protein smoothie.

When the 'Today' show weather forecaster is in between television segments -- typically between 7:40 and 8:15 a.m. -- he drinks a protein smoothie, according to Bon Appetit.

It consists of protein powder, fibre powder, eight ounces of almond milk, frozen berries, ginger, and a little agave nectar. Sometimes Roker throws in almond butter.

John Mackey, founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, drinks green smoothies.

A well-known healthy eater, Mackey makes a smoothie every morning.

It includes almond, oat, rice, or soy milk, fresh fruit, and kale or spinach leaves, he tells The New York Times.

The 'Iron Lady' Margaret Thatcher had coffee and half a grapefruit.

In a 1979 interview with reporter Katherine Hadley at The Sun, Britain's first female Prime Minister said she tried to 'eat little.' When she did eat, the 'Iron Lady' preferred coffee and half a grapefruit.

'I don't have a big breakfast to give me energy for the rest of the day,' said Thatcher.

Justin Timberlake eats two breakfasts daily.

The crooner's first breakfast includes 'waffles with flax and almond butter and a scrambled egg.'

Then he works out. After that, he eats another egg or protein shake.

'I mostly work out so I can eat religiously,' he told Bon Appetit.

'Dilbert' creator Scott Adams eats a protein bar every day.

The first 20 minutes of Adams' day are exactly the same every day, including weekends and holidays. Putting his physical body on autopilot frees his brain for creativity, he said. He wakes up at 5 a.m., has coffee and a protein bar, and sits at his desk in his home office to read and get ideas.

'I give myself this 'treat' knowing I can be trained like any other animal. And I want to train myself to enjoy waking up and being productive,' he writes. 'I also want to prevent hunger later because it might interrupt my flow.'

Kelly Ripa starts the day with lots of coffee and eats a late breakfast of yogurt and granola.

As soon as she wakes, Ripa drinks a cappuccino with half-and-half that her husband makes. While hosting her show, 'Live with Kelly and Michael,' she'll have more caffeine: a triple-shot skim latte.

'I never eat breakfast until after the show,' Ripa told Bon Appetit. 'I can't seem to focus my mind if my stomach is digesting ... I usually have my yogurt and granola after the show. I find that if I eat beforehand, I'm just making digesting sounds.'

Winston Churchill always ate a hearty morning meal of eggs, meat, and toast.

Bucking the modern trend of eating light, Britain's beloved Prime Minister always ate a big breakfast, which included a poached egg, toast, jam, cold meats, grapefruit -- and whiskey soda.

He preferred his meal to be brought on two trays, reported The Telegraph. On the first tray, Churchill wanted the poached egg, toast, jam, butter, coffee and milk, jug of cold milk, and cold chicken or other meats. On the second tray, he liked his grapefruit, sugar bowl, glass of orange squash, and a whisky soda.

After eating, he would wash his hands and smoke a morning cigar.

Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder eats scrambled eggs or oatmeal.

Bachelder is a self-professed night owl, so she has a designed a morning routine that gets her 'in the right frame of mind for the day.' Breakfast is a big part of it.

'I love breakfast,' she says. 'My favourite menu when I travel is scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, and rye toast. At home, I like steel-cut oatmeal.'

NFL Hall-of-Famer Fran Tarkenton eats a variety of berries.

Tarkenton, who is also founder of GoSmallBiz.com and Tarkenton Companies, swears by his consistent breakfast routine. 'I eat berries every morning -- blackberries, blueberries, raspberries -- and that's it,' he says. 'Sometimes I'll switch off with steel-cut oatmeal, but nothing more.'

Tarkenton says his morning nutrition, including lots of hydration, helps him control his thinking, stamina, and weight. At age 75, he weighs the same as he did when he was in the NFL -- exactly 193 pounds.

Executive Kat Cole drinks shots of turmeric, wheatgrass, and aloe.

Cole, group president of FOCUS Brands, which includes Auntie Ann's, Carvel, and Cinnabon, always starts her day by drinking 24 ounces of water.

When she's not on the road, she also does shots of turmeric, wheatgrass, and aloe and has a high-protein snack before heading to the office by 7:30 or 8 a.m.

Birchbox exec Brad Lande drinks a 5-minute smoothie.

Lande, the head of Birchbox Man, wasn't always a morning person but now follows the same routine every day of the year.

He starts each morning by drinking hot water with lemon, saying it 'helps fight infection, lowers blood pressure, cleanses the liver, and rejuvenates the skin with Vitamin C.' For breakfast he has a simple smoothie, which takes five minutes to make. His favourite recipe: coconut water, banana, blueberries, kale, bee pollen, almond butter, and ice.

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