For most people, breakfast is the easiest meal to make for losing weight. For one, you are at home, not at work, or being tempted by fast food when you’re out and about later in the day. The morning gives you the best control over what you eat. The ingredients for a morning meal can be very simple. You probably already have them in the pantry and refrigerator.
Secondly, eating a satisfying meal that keeps you from snacking or scarfing down a huge lunch has been shown to reduce overall calorie intake for the rest of the day.
“That may be due to the fact that people who skip breakfast tend to have less energy throughout the day or they feel hungrier and end up eating more calories later in the day,” says registered dietitian Reda Elmardi, RD, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist trainer and owner of The Gym Goat. “However, there is no definite answer as to whether eating a certain type of food for breakfast can help you lose weight. You need to find something that works for you and stick with it.”
If there’s any way to lose weight rapidly, a good place to start is breakfast. We asked nutrition, fitness, and weight loss experts for their opinion and suggestions for their favorite healthy breakfasts that can help you lose weight. Then, for more healthy tips, check out these Sneaky Weight Loss Tricks That Actually Work, Says Science.
No matter what you choose to eat for breakfast, registered dietitian Gaby Vaca-Flores, RD, founder of GlowAndGreens.com, suggests it contains each of the three macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Why? For the reasons mentioned above.
“Balanced meals with all three macros can promote weight loss by keeping you full longer and helping you consume fewer calories throughout the day,” says Vaca-Flores. Her favorite macro-rich breakfast is eggs and avocado on 100% whole wheat toast.
There is also research suggesting that eating two eggs for breakfast can boost weight loss when combined with a calorie deficit.
“This is likely related to the high protein content of eggs which can exert a positive effect on your metabolism and hunger hormones,” she says. “My favorite way to add flavor to eggs with avocado toast is with everything but the bagel seasoning and a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon.”
A protein shake makes a good quick breakfast when time is of the essence. But only if you make it with the right stuff. Too often, people blend up smoothies loaded with calories and added sugars. Even the powdered protein you choose to use can make a difference in improving satiety for weight loss, say medical board experts Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, also known as The Nutrition Twins and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. They recommend using pea protein powder for smoothies, noting that a study published in Nutrition Journal found that pea protein was more effective at staving off hunger than whey protein; improved satiety can potentially lead to weight loss.
They often suggest their clients try this recipe for a blueberry smoothie made with pea protein powder. To make it, you’ll need:
- 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 small banana
- 1 scoop (20 g) plain pea protein powder (or a flavor like vanilla)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground cardamom
- 3 ice cubes
- Optional add-ins: water (to thin the smoothie to your desired thickness), 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (for extra antioxidant/anti-inflammatory power), 1 to 2 drops liquid stevia (for extra sweetness if your banana isn’t very ripe or if you want some extra sweetness when using unflavored protein powder)
Blend all ingredients together until smooth, adding water as needed to reach desired thickness.
When you are breaking your overnight fast, make your meal fast. You’re more likely to eat breakfast if you make it simple and quick. Elmardi suggests hard boiling half dozen eggs to keep in the fridge for a quick breakfast or snack.
“Oatmeal with berries is another great way to start off your day because it’s full of fiber, which keeps you feeling fuller longer, and it has plenty of protein and iron,” she says. “A great breakfast option before a workout is protein- and calcium-rich plain Greek yogurt. Add fresh fruit if you want something sweet.”
Protein and fiber are a winning combination for keeping hunger at bay. Here are three super fast low-calorie breakfasts that pair a protein item with high-fiber food.
- Fiber One Original Cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk and fresh blueberries
- Medium apple with 1 Tbsp. almond butter
- Small pear and a low-fat cheese stick
This high-protein snack or breakfast comes from medical board member Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN, in her book You Can Drop It: How I Dropped 100 Pounds Enjoying Carbs, Cocktails & Chocolate—And You Can Too!.
To make Peanut Butter & Jelly Wonder Whip, you’ll need:
- 1 cup reduced fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter powder
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Liquid stevia (to taste, optional)
- Ground cinnamon (to taste, optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) red grapes, cut in half
To make it, combine the yogurt, peanut butter powder, vanilla extract, stevia (if desired), and cinnamon (if desired) in a serving bowl; mix well. Top the yogurt mixture with grapes. Serve immediately, or store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one day.
One of the critical steps to losing weight is gaining control over mindless eating. That’s why personal trainer Karisa Karmali, a National Association of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach and founder of Self-Live and Fitness, recommends high fiber and high-protein smoothies. “Protein increases satiety, which lowers the chances of binge-eating due to not being satisfied with our meals,” she says.
Try her favorite recipe, a high fiber green summer smoothie:
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1/2 of an avocado
- 1 serving of vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup of almond milk (or any milk of your choice)
- 1 tsp. of chia seeds (whole or ground)
Blend with or without ice cubes.
If you tire of oatmeal, try a nutty-flavored grain that’s not normally thought of for breakfast but makes a delicious protein- and fiber-rich morning meal. Here’s a popular diabetes-fighting recipe from our book The 14-Day No Sugar Diet.
To make breakfast quinoa, you’ll need:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp honey
To make it, combine almond milk, water, and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to between low and medium. Cover and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in the butter. Remove from the heat and let stand for about 5 minutes. Add the blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and cinnamon and mix well. Drizzle with the honey if desired.
You can make blueberry waffles into a hearty breakfast that will stick with you all morning long by using high-fiber psyllium husk, says medical board member Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of NY Nutrition Group, says in her book The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan. Derived from the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds, it has prebiotic potential, meaning psyllium can feed healthy gut bacteria, increasing probiotics and promoting a healthier digestive system.
“Psyllium can also increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, which studies show may increase your metabolism and fat-burning,” says Moskovitz.
To make these blueberry waffles, you’ll need:
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup cottage cheese
- 1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder
- 1 Tbsp vegan vanilla protein powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
To make it, place berries in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 1 minute. Coat the bottom and top the waffle iron with coconut oil so it’s evenly distributed. Crack an egg into a small mixing blow and add cottage cheese, vanilla extract, psyllium husk, protein powder, and baking powder. Mix well. Pour batter over the waffle iron and lower the lid. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Let it cool for 1 minute, and then carefully remove it from the waffle iron. Once the waffle is on the plate, finish with a topping of your choice.
When noon rolls around, check out these 11 Healthy, High-Protein Lunch Recipes for Weight Loss.