Losing weight isn’t all about eating less.
In fact, there are ways that eating less can damage your weight loss journey. One of those is the habit of skipping breakfast.
Breakfast “breaks the fast” after your dinner and sleep. Your body has fasted for 8-12 hours, and if you don’t feed it, certain physiological adjustments take place to help you survive potential starvation. Food, when you do finally eat lunch, is more likely to be stored as fat, to save reserves for later. Hunger is triggered, to encourage you to put more effort into finding food.
However, when you eat a nutritious breakfast, your body is reassured that it will have the energy it needs to function. Eating breakfast actually revs up your metabolism.
“Among participants in the National Weight Control Registry, an ongoing study of more than 4,000 people who’ve lost a minimum of 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year, 80 percent are regular breakfast eaters. Meanwhile, other research shows breakfast skippers have 4.5 times the risk for obesity.”
The average American skips breakfast, and is ravenous by lunchtime and often overeats. Sometimes lunch is skipped as well, and the consequences just get worse. Some don’t last until lunch, filling the void with doughnuts and other sugary snacks. Spiking blood sugar in this way leads to even more issues.
Yet we know from research that students do better in school after a nutritious breakfast. We know that fitness goals are easier to reach with proper nutrition. It’s even been proven that people who eat breakfast tend to have a healthier diet overall.
Choosing the Right Diet Breakfast
Learning to make healthy choices for breakfast is key. This isn’t a time to pile on the carbs with a tower of pancakes, and most of the “convenience” instant breakfast foods are almost as bad. If you’re diligent, you can find high fiber and low sugar fruit and nut or granola bars, but you need to be careful in your choices.
What you’re ideally looking for is a low carb meal with some protein and fiber. Ideally, 7 to 10 grams of fiber, which will fill you up and reduce the likelihood of overeating later in the day. The protein and some healthy fat will help you feel sated, reducing hunger.
“In a 12-year study of more than 74,000 women, those who ate the most fiber were half as likely to gain weight as those who ate the least.”
While it can be challenging to find time for breakfast, there are quick ways to make it work. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a sit-down meal. Smoothies are a great choice. For something more substantial, prep steel-cut oatmeal the night before so that you just need to add milk and heat it. Add fruit, chia seed, ground flax, chopped nuts, apple or cacao nibs to keep it interesting. Breakfast wraps can also be prepared the night before, for a heat and run breakfast.
Healthy Diet Breakfast Ideas
- Oatmeal (rich in fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, folate and potassium).
- Greek Yogurt with fruit and/or nuts (rich in protein and calcium).
- Bananas – choose the slightly green ones for resistant starch. Bananas are rich in potassium too.
- Eggs – even a couple of hard boiled eggs on the run are a big improvement over no breakfast. They offer lots of protein and are rich in Vitamin D too. If you have more time, try a Spinach & Bacon Omelet.
- Almond butter – a quick source of healthy fat and protein. Add it to a wrap with scrambled eggs, or spread it on that slightly-green banana.
- Smoothies – add some fiber-rich raspberries or low calorie, high antioxidant blueberries to a green smoothie for a delicious and nutrition-rich start to your day.
- Sliced apple with cheese.
- Granola or Muesli with cinnamon, nuts and seeds.
- Cottage cheese with fruit.
- Even soup can be breakfast, especially on a cold day.
Add coffee or green tea to your breakfast. Both will boost your metabolism to help you reach your diet goals.
Notice that toast and cereal aren’t on this list. If you must have them, choose whole-grain bread and add some protein, or choose a cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber and less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
What are your favorite healthy diet breakfast ideas?