When you’re trying to lose weight by cutting calories, skipping breakfast might seem like an easy solution. However, missing breakfast can be counterproductive to your weight loss efforts, causing you to feel hungrier and potentially leading to overeating later in the day.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that any breakfast is good for you. Eating a bowl of sugary cereal or picking up a donut on the way to work might make you temporarily feel full, but that feeling won’t last long. When you’re trying to avoid overeating, it’s important to choose healthy breakfast foods that will digest slowly, keeping you feeling full and energized throughout the morning.
Here are six healthy breakfast ideas for weight loss that will make your morning meal healthier:
Focus on Protein-Rich Foods
Rather than loading up on carbs at breakfast, choose foods that are rich in protein. Protein digests more slowly than carbohydrates, which helps to keep you feeling full until your next meal. Carb-heavy breakfasts, meanwhile, cause your blood sugar to spike, which can leave you craving food again in just a couple of hours.
Good sources of protein for a healthy breakfast include eggs, nut butter, and chia seeds.
Opt for Slow-Release Carbs
You don’t have to completely give up carbs for a healthy breakfast, but you should look for “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as whole wheat toast or oatmeal. Slow-release carbs don’t cause your blood sugar or insulin to spike as much as highly refined carbs (such as white bread). Since insulin affects how your body stores and processes glucose (sugar) for energy, keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels stable may help you burn fat more efficiently and avoid putting on weight.
Make Friends with Fiber
The next time you’re in the cereal aisle at the store, look for a box with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is another dietary component that helps you stay satiated for longer. It may also help you shed extra pounds. A study from the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that a diet that includes 30 grams of fiber per day can help promote weight loss, lower blood pressure, and improve the body’s response to insulin.
In addition to choosing fibrous cereals as a healthier breakfast idea for weight loss, you can also increase your fiber intake by incorporating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into your breakfast.
Incorporate Healthy Fats (in Small Doses)
Eating a fat-free breakfast might seem like a healthy choice, but it will cause you to feel hungry again quickly. Instead of completely banishing fats from your breakfast during a weight loss regimen, include small amounts of healthy fats that will provide a slow release of energy throughout the morning. Whole-grain toast with avocado, smoothies topped with chia seeds, and 2% fat yogurt are all great options.
Limit Your Refined Sugar
Foods with a lot of refined sugar pack in the calories without providing essential nutrients. And unfortunately, a lot of breakfast food favorites—including donuts, muffins, and many cold cereals—are high in refined sugar. If you’re looking for healthy breakfast ideas for weight loss, limit (or avoid) breakfast pastries and look for cereals that have less than 6 grams of sugar per serving. If you’re craving sweetness with your breakfast, try adding fresh fruit to unflavored oatmeal.
Eat Breakfast Mindfully
Eating quickly without paying attention can cause you to miss fullness cues and consume more calories than you need. Set aside time to eat a healthy breakfast, even if it means waking up a little earlier or prepping the meal the night before. To free up more time for eating mindfully, you could try portioning and freezing fruit for smoothies or making overnight oats.
Remember: if you’re trying to change your eating habits to lose weight, you don’t have to do it alone. Weight loss doctors from Diet Doc can help you develop a customized weight loss plan and are always available for consultations and nutrition counseling as you put that plan into action.