You know that eating breakfast in the morning can keep you from bingeing later in the day and possibly help you lose weight. The only problem: Most of us are straight-up zombies first thing in the morning and end up eating like one, mindlessly scarfing down whatever is in our path.
But, the thing is, eating breakfast doesn’t have to take much thought. All you need is fiber from whole-grain carbohydrates or fruit, protein, and healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, says Jaime Mass, R.D., of Jaime Mass Nutritionals. To make sure you are getting all the right nutrients, try to get 5 to 10 grams of fiber from a carbohydrate source, about 14 to 20 grams of protein and 7 to 13 grams of fat.
So, how do all these nutrients work to help you lose weight? The fiber works to absorb water which means you’ll feel fuller and won’t overeat at lunchtime. Fiber also promotes healthy digestion so you’ll be able to avoid feeling bloated. And, when your digestion is working as it should, you’ll be absorbing more nutrients which means you’ll have the energy for your workout, says Mass. The protein and fat work together to help slow digestion of fiber, sugar, and carbohydrates which will level out your blood sugar and prevent energy crashes.
One more thing to remember is portion size. We know it sounds obvious but it is key. Exactly how much you should be eating depends on your height and weight but an average woman looking to lose weight should try to keep her breakfast between 300 to 350 calories.
The breakfast: 1 medium apple, sliced, topped with 2 Tbsp of almond butter mixed with 1 Tbsp of protein powder.
Why it works: The protein in the powder gives the nut butter an extra boost without adding too many calories.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 370 cal, 20 g fat (2 g sat), 30 g carbs, 19 g sugar, 4 mg sodium, 6 g of fiber, 22.2 g protein
The breakfast: A piece of whole-grain toast topped with about 3 Tbsp mashed avocado and 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
Why it works: Eggs are a super great protein source first thing in the morning. But if you find yourself really stuck for time and unable to make scrambled eggs or an omelet, plan ahead. Keep a stash of hard-boiled eggs in your fridge and you can whip this together in no time.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 208 cal, 12 g fat (3 g sat), 15 g carbs, 1.5 g sugar, 62 mg sodium, 6 g of fiber, 12 g protein
The breakfast: A smoothie made with 1/2 cup berries, 6 oz nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, and 1 Tbsp almond butter
Why it works: Nuts slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and this means your blood sugar won’t spike and you won’t experience that dreaded energy crash.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 381 cal, 19 g fat (2 g sat), 33 g carbs, 9.5 g sugar, 5 mg sodium, 11 g of fiber, 26 g protein
The breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal mixed with 1/2 scoop protein powder (whey, soy, or hemp) and 1 1/2 Tbsp of your favorite nuts (almonds are great) and 1/2 cup fresh berries (any kind).
Why it works: This meal is easy to put together and contains many fat-burning nutrients. It is also loaded with antioxidants and fiber!
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 227 cal, 8 g fat (0 g sat), 23 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 4 g of fiber, 15 g protein
The breakfast: 3/4 cup Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 cup breakfast cereal (pick a kind that contains more than 5 grams of fiber per serving), 1/4 cup berries, apples, or pears, and 7 walnut halves
Why it works: “I love this breakfast option because it is convenient and easy to grab,” says Mass. Who doesn’t love a ‘no cook’ breakfast!
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 287 cal, 10g fat (1 g sat), 29g carbs, 9 g sugar, 44 mg sodium, 7g of fiber, 27g protein
Does this information make you feel more confident about starting your day right?