You wake up from your overnight slumber and the hunger pangs hit. Breakfast is calling your name—and it’s a must to appease your appetite and fuel you up for the next several hours, right?If you’re trying to lose weight, breakfast is all the more important. It’s a healthy lifestyle habit that has been shown to help people shed pounds while also preventing weight gain over the long haul. How? By kicking off your metabolism with good fuel. Your body will thank you for it later.
The key to weight loss—at breakfast, or any other meal of the day—is keeping an eye on calories and playing a bit with your portions of carbs, protein, and fat. Ideally, breakfast should be about 300 to 400 calories and a bit lighter on carbs (think: less than 50 grams).
Why so low in carbs? Because, while carbs are great for supplying energy, in my nutrition practice, I find that most women consume far more than they need for breakfast. The result: blood sugar and insulin highs, rollercoaster energy levels, and mood swings. Think about how you felt the last time you ate a sugary bowl of cereal? Exactly.
That’s why I urge women to not only pull back slightly on the carbs at breakfast, but to chose good quality, fiber-filled whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and pulses (AKA beans, chickpeas, and lentils) for their carbs. That will help give your body an energizing boost without setting you up for a blood-sugar crash 30 minutes later. And, by including good-for-you protein and fat in your morning mix, you trigger satiety, slow digestion, and level out your blood sugar even more. That way, you stay fueled and energized straight through until lunch.
Here, five of my favorite low-carb breakfasts. They are super simple to whip up and will start your day on the path to healthy weight loss.
Makes 6 servings (1 cup each)
1/2 cup raw whole oats
6 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, washed and dried
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 sprigs fresh mint, washed and dried
Toast the oats in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. In each of 6 fluted glasses, place 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. Add 1 tablespoon of blueberries, 1 tablespoon of oats, and a drizzle of honey. Repeat until each glass is filled to the top. Top each glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 205 (From Fat 39); Fat: 4 g (Saturated 3 g): Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 172 mg; Carbohydrates: 28 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 14 g
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Makes 1 serving
2 eggs, cracked and whisked
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 Tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated
1 large whole-grain wrap
2 small tomatoes, diced
Crack eggs into a small bowl and whisk until well-blended. Set aside. On the stovetop over medium heat, in a small omelette pan, add olive oil, red onion, and garlic, sauté for a few minutes. Pour in the eggs, add the paprika and cheese. Allow to cook for a minute. Using a spatula, loosen the edges until the center solidifies and flip one side over the other. Cook for another minute and slide omelet from the pan onto a bed of arugula on a whole-grain wrap. Top with tomatoes. Fold wrap over omelette and cut in half, if desired.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 556, Total Fat: 36 g, Saturated Fat: 11 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 452 mg, Sodium: 569 mg, Carbohydrates 34 g, Dietary Fiber: 26 g, Sugars: 4 g, Protein 25 g
Makes 3 servings (2 muffins each)
6 large whole eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and black pepper
4 large basil leaves, julienned
1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 avocado, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk eggs in a small bowl with cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour into muffin pan, filling each one almost to the top. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Check after 15 minutes and remove when muffins are browned and cooked through. The eggs will rise in the tins as they bake. Turn them out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cook for a minute. Place on a plate and top each one with a tomato slice, bits of basil, and a slice of avocado. If desired, add a dash of grated cheese on top.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 251, Total Fat: 17.4 g, Saturated Fat: 6.5 g, Cholesterol: 385 mg, Sodium: 320 mg, Carbohydrates: 6 g, Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g, Protein: 19.7 g