The #1 breakfast habit to get into if you want to lose weight is, drumroll please… simply, eating breakfast, says Kim Rose, RDN, CDCES, a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist in Central Florida.
“Many of my clients skip breakfast and eat a meager lunch thinking they are ‘being good’ when that just makes losing weight harder,” she says. “By dinnertime, they are famished and graze on everything in sight and continue well into the night.”
When Rose educates her clients on why eating a well-balanced breakfast every day can help them drop pounds, and if they adopt that habit, they usually have much more success.
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Why eating breakfast supports weight loss.
Making a habit of eating breakfast offers a number of health benefits.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced breakfast gives you the energy to tackle the day.
First of all, breakfast refuels your body and brain after a nighttime fast. That’s why what you choose to eat for breakfast is as important a decision as choosing to have breakfast.
You want a well-balanced breakfast that includes all three macronutrients—protein, fat, and carbohydrates—to deliver energy slowly over the course of the morning.
“That sets the stage for your eating the rest of the day,” Rose says. “If you eat a substantial breakfast, you’ll modify your calorie intake the rest of the day and be less inclined to constant snacking. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to burn off those calories all day long instead of consuming them at night when your body is winding down and you’re more likely to store those calories.”
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Breakfast fuels your brain so you can make smart food decisions.
“Contrary to popular belief, carbs are good for you; they are your brain’s preferred source of energy,” says Rose. “So, carbohydrates should be a part of every breakfast.”
Significant research done on school children has documented the negative impact not eating a well-balanced breakfast has on kids’ academic performance. And the same is likely true for us adults. A Finnish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating eggs for breakfast regularly enhances cognitive function in middle-aged men.
How to build the perfect breakfast.
Since she stresses that the composition of breakfast is important for weight loss, we asked Rose to give us her favorite quick-and-easy recipe for a morning meal that contains the three macronutrients: Avocado toast with an over-easy egg on top.
“You get lean protein from the egg, healthy fat from avocado, and carbohydrates and fiber from whole-grain toast,” she says. “Easy. Mash up some avocado on the toast, add a fried egg on top, and sprinkle on black pepper, smoked paprika, and some salt. It’s quick and filling.”
But what if there’s no time to cook?
We’re busy people, especially in the morning. How do you make eating a good breakfast a habit when you’re running out the door and only have time to grab a premade muffin? “In the morning we have a lot of easily accessible carbohydrates that are low in fiber and have added sugars, so I recommend the law of addition,” explains Rose. “Ask yourself, ‘what macronutrient can I add to that muffin to make it more of a well-balanced meal?’ Maybe some no-sugar peanut butter or some fruit or a hard-boiled egg.”
Most dieters operate with the law of subtraction. Better to use the law of addition. Boil a half dozen eggs on Sunday, so you have them ready for the week.” Or blend up a whey protein smoothie for breakfast. For a full diet program based on whey and plant-based protein smoothies complete with delicious recipes, check out our book The 7-Day Smoothie Diet by the editors of Eat This, Not That!