While eating breakfast alone isn’t enough to cause weight loss, it is one important step in adopting a healthy lifestyle, which over time can help you lose weight. Eating breakfast can help you avoid overeating later in the day or being too hungry and overeating at lunch, which is one great benefit.
Eating breakfast can also jumpstart your metabolism. Think of your metabolism as a fire and food as wood. Fire burns out if you don’t keep adding wood, right? The same is true for your metabolism. So get the fire started early by eating some breakfast!
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Here are three of my favorite breakfast combos–give them a try depending on the amount of time you have in the morning:
1) Low-fat yogurt with fruit (fresh or frozen) and a sprinkle of oats and nuts
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2) A whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter, banana slices and a drizzle of honey
3) An egg and veggie scramble using two eggs and whatever vegetables are stored in the fridge (peppers, onions, and mushrooms are some of my favorites). Serve it with a side of salsa and a piece of whole wheat toast.
Many patients are hesitant to eat breakfast, saying that if they eat breakfast they feel hungry a few hours later (and subsequently eat a snack), whereas if they skip breakfast they can hold out until lunch. Although on the surface it might seem like holding out until lunch would be a surefire way to lose weight, it’s actually the opposite.
By eating breakfast you are supporting normal metabolic function. It’s good to feel hungry, ideal to eat three meals a day, and perfectly healthy to have three snacks interspersed between your meals. By supporting your metabolism, you are helping your body burn fat to make energy. When you suppress your metabolism, your body holds on to fat. When you skip breakfast, your body interprets this as stress and goes into “survival mode” (ahem, hold-on-to-fat mode).
My ideal breakfast is one that’s low in quick-burning carbs, low in sugar, and rich in nutrients, fiber, and/or protein, with a touch of healthy fat. Eating meals and snacks that have protein and fat in them helps you feel full longer, as they take longer to digest. This prevents the “spike and crash” energy (and corresponding blood sugar dysregulation) that comes with having a piece of toast, a glass of juice, a stack of pancakes, or a handful of granola for breakfast.
I would like to once and for all debunk this myth that granola is a health food. It’s coated with sugar! But stirring some raw oats and toasted almonds into yogurt, on the other hand, is a great way to have a protein and fiber-rich breakfast.
For people who don’t have time to cook in the morning, I suggest eating dinner leftovers for breakfast and breaking out of the breakfast-must-be-sweet mentality. Another idea is to hard-boil eggs the night before and then grab a couple on your way out the door.
Otherwise, eggs, turkey bacon, whole fat yogurt, a salad with goat cheese, steamed kale with sesame oil, celery with peanut butter, and steel-cut oats (not instant oats) with butter and salt are all personal favorites.