Breakfast tips for weight loss
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Among the general population, about 28 percent of men and 18 percent of women ages 18 to 34 skip breakfast every day, according to a study by The NPD Group. In a study Harvard School of Public Health researchers looked at the health outcomes of 26,902 men and found that men who skipped breakfast had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from heart disease compared to men who regularly ate breakfast. The researchers believe that people who do not eat breakfast end up eating more at night, which could lead to metabolic changes and heart disease. A healthy breakfast also helps in controlling weight too.
Ingredients of a healthy breakfast
Aim for a range between 300 and 400 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with the 300 to 350 range, and if you’re trying to maintain weight, especially if you’re working out, shoot closer to 350 to 400 calories.
About 45 to 55 percent of your breakfast calories should be devoted to carbs, which is about 40 to 55 grams of carbs. Skip sugary and overly processed foods or those made with enriched white flour, and choose whole grains, fruits, and veggies. You can include low carb vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, lettuce, cucumber etc. in your meal.
About 15 to 20 percent of your breakfast calorie amount should be protein, which works out to about 13 to 20 grams. Getting enough protein at breakfast is important for keeping you satisfied throughout the morning. And studies have shown that getting at least 20 grams of protein at breakfast may help you lose weight as well. Eggs, dairy products, soy milk, protein powder in smoothies, nuts and seeds, and whole grains are great sources of protein.
Meat – Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, etc.
Fish and Seafood – Salmon, trout, shrimps, lobsters, etc.
Eggs – Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
Shoot for about 10 to 15 grams, which is about 30 to 35 percent of your total breakfast calories. Instead of saturated fats like bacon and cheese, go for monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) like olive oil, nuts and seeds and the butters made from them, and avocado. The best cooking fat to use is coconut oil. It is rich in fats called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are more fulfilling than others and can boost metabolism slightly.
Aim for about 25 percent of your recommended daily total of 25 grams per day. That works out to about six grams, but it’s OK to go above that, as long as it doesn’t bother your digestive system. Berries, pears, apples, oranges,greens and other veggies, nuts, seeds, and whole grains can help you reach that goal.
If you follow the equation for carbs above, then you won’t have to worry about going overboard on sugars, especially if you’re eating a combination of foods like fruits, whole grains, and dairy products. But for a ballpark number to keep in mind, stick to 36 grams or fewer. And when it comes to added sugar, try not to exceed six grams — that’s about 1.5 teaspoons’ worth of any sweetener (white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, or agave).
Ideally you should eat breakfast within 30 to 60 minutes of waking up. If you’re not keen on eating anything big first thing, split this meal up into two parts, having something light close to waking up and the other half about an hour and a half later. This also works well if you’re a morning exerciser and prefer not to have a full stomach while you work out. If you’re exercising, you can aim to have the more carbohydrate-based portion of your breakfast (fruit, toast, etc.) prior to working out and the more protein-centric portion afterward.
Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid
When you sleep, your body slows down while you’re not eating. So when you wake up, if you don’t break the fast (yup, that’s where the name comes from), your body will burn calories slowly. To jump-start your metabolism and get your body burning calories, you need to eat. Not fueling up also deprives your brain of glucose, which is why you feel foggy-headed and cranky. Think of breakfast as an opportunity to get your fill of valuable nutrients such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C.
You know skipping breakfast entirely is a no-no, but not eating enough will also backfire. It’ll leave you feeling hungry soon after eating, which will cause you to need more food and can translate to more calories consumed over the course of the entire day. Stick to the formula above, and you’ll not only feel satisfied longer, but you’ll also have more energy for the workouts that can make you drop pounds even faster.
Leaving out a key component of the breakfast formula such as avoiding all carbs or going too heavy, such as having an all-protein meal, means you’re not going to get enough satisfaction or nutrition from this first meal. Following the formula above will allow you to eat a balanced meal while also helping you see weight-loss results.