Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast
- on March 15, 2011
What's for breakfast - coffee? Most mornings, we barely glance at the kitchen. Fixing breakfast takes up precious time that's in short supply. But there's ample evidence that the simple act of eating breakfast -- every day -- is a big part of losing weight, lots of weight.
"People skip breakfast thinking they're cutting calories, but by mid-morning and lunch, that person is starved," says Milton Stokes, RD, MPH, chief dietitian for St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City. "Breakfast skippers replace calories during the day with mindless nibbling, bingeing at lunch and dinner. They set themselves up for failure."
It makes sense: Eating early in the day keeps us from "starvation eating" later on. But it also jump-starts your metabolism, says Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, nutrition manager for the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University Medical School. "When you don't eat breakfast, you're actually fasting for 15 to 20 hours, so you're not producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight."
But there’s more to it than simply not skipping the meal. Many children eat sugary cereals and breads for breakfast, chased down with a can of soda or sugary fruit juice. These kinds of eating habits may cause even more harm than not eating breakfast at all. So, whats for breakfast?
When you plan breakfast meals for yourself and your family, vow to avoid any of these common, typically non-healthy breakfast items:
- Fruit juice
- Waffles and pancakes
- Bagels and toast
- MOST cereals (especially those that are mostly sugar)
Here are a few of my favorite HEALTHY breakfast choices:
- Eggs with peppers: Many people love eggs. Egg whites are healthier than whole eggs. Scramble with a little olive oil, red and green bell peppers, maybe broccoli, onions, black pepper. Goes well with whole-wheat toast.
- Cottage cheese and fruit: Get low-fat cottage cheese. Add any kind of fruit. Apples, citrus, berries.
- Protein shake with extras: I use whey protein powder. Blend up with low-fat milk and water, some frozen fruit, and perhaps some almond butter or oatmeal. That may sound weird, but it’s actually pretty good, and pretty filling. A little ground flax seed works well too.
- Kashi Golean Crunch: Many whole-grain, high-fiber cereals are a good choice, but I mention this particular one because it’s a favorite of mine. It has a high amount of protein and fiber, low sugar. Add low-fat milk, and perhaps some berries if you like.
- Oatmeal, flaxseed, blueberries & almonds: Steel-cut oatmeal is probably the healthier choice, but if you are in a hurry, the instant kind will do fine (it doesn’t have as much fiber, but the other ingredients make up for that). After microwaving the oatmeal, add ground flaxseed, frozen blueberries, sliced almonds. You can add a little cinnamon and honey (not a lot) if you’re using the non-instant oatmeal. That’s four power foods, full of fiber and nutrients, protein and good fats, with only a couple of minutes of prep time. And very tasty!
Breakfast may or may not be the "most important" meal of the day, but it certainly is important. Try one of these healthy breakfast options, and avoid the sugar-laden treats. If you have any breakfast "favorites", I'd love to hear them.
Have a healthy week!