As the saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but the reality is that all meals matter and you should focus on nutrition throughout the day. If you want to boost energy levels and cognition in the morning, you need to begin the day with hearty foods. When we say “hearty” foods, we are not referring to breakfast classics like eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and hashbrowns. Hearty foods are intended to be nutritionally dense and not greasy.
A plate full of grease and trans fats is not the right breakfast if you are restricting caloric intake to promote weight loss. One plate of those foods can easily put you at a thousand calories, or somewhere very close to that number. Not to mention, these foods can make you feel sluggish and weighed down. Breakfast is not something to give up on because there are easy ways to make nutritious meals in the morning.
If Weight Loss Is The Goal, How Many Calories Should You Eat At Breakfast?
Breakfast can put you in a bit of pickle because you need calories for energy, but you don’t want to eat so much food that you have to carefully count calories the rest of the day. Skimping on calories will likely make you hungry mid-morning before lunch, which is why you must focus on quality calories. If your goal is to consume 1,500 calories per day, then breakfast should be in the 300-400 calorie range. A great low-calorie breakfast is the tried and true green smoothie. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables will offer many vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed. You’ll find healthy breakfast foods below.
Old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut oats are packed with fiber, which works to keep you full between meals, and they contain slow-release, complex carbohydrates. A recent study found that eating slow-release carbs for breakfast, such as oatmeal, can assist the body with burning more fat. Complex carbs, like those in oatmeal, do not spike blood sugar like refined carbs do. This means that insulin levels won’t spike as much, and too much insulin signals the body to store fat.
Raspberries are antioxidant powerhouses, but most people don’t know that they are great sources of fiber. One cup of raspberries contains eight grams of fiber! As we previously mentioned, fiber helps you feel satiated to prevent overeating and unnecessary snacking. The Journal of Nutrition published a two-year study that concluded that boosting fiber intake by eight grams per day for every 1,000 calories consumed resulted in 4.5 pounds of weight lost.
Peanut butter is often a suggested breakfast item, but the truth is that peanuts can be difficult to digest, and peanut butter can have high amounts of sodium. Almond butter contains healthy fats, fiber, slow-release carbs, and protein, all of which are necessary for a healthy breakfast. You can add almond butter on sliced apples or bananas, or add it to your oatmeal for a balanced meal.
The best part about chia pudding is that you can make it the night before so that it will be ready to go in the morning. It takes several hours for the pudding to firm up and resemble the texture of tapioca. One 12-week study found that diabetics who ate chia seeds in the morning experienced improved blood sugar levels and reduced cravings. The fiber content is outstanding, with one ounce containing 11 grams of fiber.
Most weight loss programs encourage people to eat grapefruit for the reason that they contain a lot of water and fiber, two things that are necessary for weight loss. One study with 91 obese adults revealed that consuming half a grapefruit before meals led to significant weight loss. Another 12-week study found that people who ate grapefruit in the morning lost an average of 3.5 pounds, which was five times more than a controlled group. Grapefruit can accompany most breakfasts, and it can even be freshly juiced to obtain its health benefits.