Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, details the seven best foods on the list of healthy breakfast for weight loss.
Eating a well-balanced breakfast is one of the best ways to enforce a healthy weight loss routine. Yet according to the NDP Group, 31 million Americans skip breakfast every day. Mornings can get busy, and for those looking to cut calories to lose weight, it may seem like an easy meal to gloss over.
However, the science tells us to rethink this notion. Eating more of the right morning foods has proven to be beneficial for shedding extra pounds.
In fact, a 2013 randomized trial of overweight and obese women found that participants who ate a 700-calorie breakfast enjoyed better weight loss results and waist-size reduction compared to women who only ate 200 calories at breakfast.
Breakfast Tips to Support Weight Loss
As a dietitian, I first urge you to keep in mind a few important tips before cooking up a giant breakfast spread to lose weight:
- Your first meal of the day should be balanced in protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and a serving of fruit or veggies.
- Ditch the breakfast bars and pastries. While tasty, these processed foods can be too energy-dense. Simple carbs can also lead to short-lived satiety. You’ll feel full fast, but end up hungry again sooner than later, thus potentially leading to excessive snacking throughout the day. Instead, stick to whole and minimally processed foods.
- The key to losing weight is maintaining a healthy calorie deficit. Consider tracking your calories for a few days to get a gist of how much you normally eat for breakfast and other meals.
7 Ideas for Healthy Breakfast for Weight Loss
Eggs are a standard of any breakfast menu. Moreover, they’re a nutritionally dense superfood that can help influence a full day of healthy eating. Eggs have a 50-percent better satiety index than most breakfast cereals and white bread. This means that eating an egg or two at breakfast can be the difference between reaching for a mid-morning snack or feeling perfectly full until lunch time.
Eggs can also enhance weight loss results. One 2008 study concluded that people who eat eggs as part of their morning meal found better results in body-fat percentage, body mass index (BMI), and waist-size reduction compared to those who didn’t eat eggs.
Breakfast Idea: Another great thing about eggs is that there’s no shortage of ways to cook them. Include the key food groups for weight loss by scrambling eggs with leafy greens and topping it on whole-grain toast. Have limited time to cook in the morning? Consider making muffin-tin or hard-boiled eggs the night before for a tasty grab-and-go option.
Unlike eggs, legumes are one the most underrated breakfast foods for weight loss. Legumes are a delicious plant-based protein option that are also packed with fiber, an important component of any balanced meal.
Studies have shown that consuming high-protein and high-fiber foods at breakfast are more likely to lead to greater weight loss results time after time. But what makes legumes different? A 2016 study found that bean- and pea-based foods are more likely to promote feelings of fullness compared to traditional animal-protein meals. Simply put, legumes are a healthier alternative to breakfast meats like bacon and sausage.
Breakfast Idea: Try creating your own lentil breakfast patties and freezing them for quick morning meals. Otherwise, toss some black beans into your next breakfast burrito.
3. Ezekiel Bread
In the spirit of praising legumes for weight loss, we can’t overlook Ezekiel bread. Ezekiel bread is an organic hybrid of legumes (soybeans and lentils) and cereal grains (wheat, millet, spelt, and barley). Ezekiel is a sprouted bread, meaning the grains undergo water submersion in order to germinate.
This process brings about many benefits, including improving the bread’s nutrient profile. Ezekiel bread is high in the amino acid lysine and decreasing the presence of antinutrients. Ezekiel bread is low-fat, sugar-free, and a good source of fiber, thus making it an ideal healthy breakfast idea for weight loss.
Breakfast Idea: Integrating Ezekiel bread into your breakfast routine should be effortless. It can pair deliciously with almost any other breakfast food and even make a healthier swap for French toast.
Avocados boast many health benefits, and weight management is one of them.
This nutrient-dense fruit is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids and minerals. A 2013 study had participants consume roughly three tablespoons of heart-healthy oleic acid—such as that in avocado oil—for a month. The result? They lowered their belly fat by almost 2 percent. Additionally, avocados can help curb hunger, making it a strategic food to include on your list of healthy breakfast ideas for weight loss.
Still, an entire avocado is approximately 322 calories and contains almost 30 grams of fat, which you should consider when planning your morning meals.
Breakfast Idea: Consider topping your Ezekiel bread or egg scramble with only a third of a medium-sized avocado.
5. Greek yogurt
Science says that the most important macronutrient for weight loss is protein. Luckily, a single cup of Greek yogurt for breakfast provides about 20 grams. Further, this high-protein breakfast for weight loss can actually help support hunger hormones. But how? It increases hormones that help you feel full, like GLP-1, and reducing hormones that promote feelings of hunger, like ghrelin.
Breakfast Idea: Yogurt parfaits are one of the easiest breakfast foods to prepare. Sprinkle in your favorite berries, nuts, and granola for a quick, well-balanced breakfast to support your weight management goals.
Oatmeal is one of the best breakfast foods for weight loss. Replacing simple carbs in your daily diet with complex grains can be an effective way to cut down on both calories and sugar. Additionally, oatmeal can help boost your daily fiber intake, which is important in lowering your risk for belly fat. For reference, a half-cup of rolled oats is packed with four grams of fiber.
Finally, a 2015 study found that people who regularly eat oatmeal for breakfast experience less mid-morning hunger and eat less during lunch.
Breakfast Idea: Avoid adding overly sweet ingredients (like flavored milk) to your oats, as added sugar can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Instead, naturally sweeten your oatmeal with berries, sliced bananas, or a light drizzle of maple syrup.
We all know that berries are jam-packed with health benefits because of their impressive antioxidant profile. But who knew that they’re also one of the best weight loss snacks?
Like most weight-friendly breakfast foods, berries provide fiber to help keep dieters from feeling hungry shortly after eating. Moreover, they make great substitutions for common breakfast sweeteners that are high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Breakfast Idea: Instead of using syrup or other sugary add-ons, consider topping your morning oatmeal or Greek yogurt with your favorite berries.