Dieting and Weight Loss: Breakfast
Whether you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight, lose weight, or even gain weight, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It gets you going for the day, and in my opinion, it can set the tone for the day. It’s really important for me to eat a very balanced breakfast –most of the time—because it gives me a good jumping-off point, and I already feel like I did something good by treating myself to a good breakfast.
It really doesn’t matter when you eat your breakfast, and honestly I can’t eat anything when I first get up – for at least an hour. I love to sip coffee for about an hour if possible, it’s my favorite time of day if I can get it! It’s easy for me to make breakfast whenever I want because I don’t have to go into an office. But most of the stuff I eat for breakfast is handheld and really easy to adapt to a to-go version, too. When I worked in an office, I treated myself to a chicken biscuit or bagel about once a week. But every other day I brought breakfast from home.
I try to get a lot of protein and fiber because I know that’s what will keep me full during the day. I also try to add in a fruit or vegetable to the breakfast depending on whether I’m going sweet or savory.
Lately I’ve been into savory almost every day, and I also like my breakfast to be somewhat bland. For instance, I love hot sauce on eggs for dinner, but not for breakfast. Just plain.
I thought I’d go over some of my favorite protein and bread choices all the handheld breakfasts.
Flat Out Wraps: These come in several flavors including Italian, but Flax Multigrain is my favorite flavor. (Italian seasoning=too much flavor in the morning. Am I alone on this? ) Flat Out Wraps are bigger and a little softer than a flour taco tortilla and have between 90-100 calories per wrap. Flax Multigrain has 8 grams of fiber (32% of daily needs), 1 gram of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.
Arnold Sandwich Thins: Arnold makes these in ever-increasing flavors. My new favorite is the potato bread, but they also make Honey Wheat, Multigrain, Flax and Fiber, 100% Whole Wheat, and Everything. Per serving each sandwich thin has 100 calories, 5 grams of fiber (20% of daily needs), 2 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.
Arnold Pocket Thins: Perfect for when you want a pita experience. Each pocket has 100 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 1 gram of sugar. I don't use these for breakfast so much, but they're perfect for lunch – especially with my Greek yogurt chicken salad.
Thomas Light Multigrain English Muffins: These are my favorite English muffins – they have 100 calories, 8 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and only one gram of sugar.
Thomas Bagel Thins: These come in plain, cinnamon raisin, whole wheat and everything. Each one has 110 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 2 grams of sugar.
Dave’s Killer Bread (21 Whole Grains and Seeds): This is perfect is you’re a poached egg on toast person (or avocado toast…is that still a thing?) It’s super nutty and grainy and satisfying. Each slice has 120 calories, 5 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and 5 grams of sugar.
To go with your bread, you need some kind of protein. My favorite and ultimate go-to is one whole egg plus one white. And you know the fastest way to cook it? In the microwave. I discovered this little trick when Henry was starting to eat solid foods, and I would make these for him (except his was 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk). Here’s how I do it:
Spray the inside of a small bowl with cooking spray. Break your egg plus white in the bowl. Add some salt and pepper, and whisk gently with a fork to break up the yolk. Microwave on high for 60-75 seconds. After that, you can put it on any of those breads!
My favorite right now it a Flat Out Light Multigrain Flax with a little blanket of spinach and the egg. After the egg cooks, microwave the spinach on the wrap to wilt it a little (about 20-30 seconds). Then cut the egg in half, arrange it on the wrap, and roll it up. So easy! So good for you, and less than 200 calories –all quality.
My other favorite breakfast proteins include 2 slices of Canadian bacon, 2 slices of turkey bacon, 2 links of turkey sausage, 1 turkey sausage patty, or 2 ounces of deli meat.
If you go for more of the sweet route, here are some of my favorites. First would be a Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Bar. It has quite a bit of sugar (10 grams), but also tons of fiber (9 grams) to keep you full, and it’s not very big (you really don’t need much in the morning—better to eat a small breakfast and have a snack mid morning that to stuff yourself early and feel sluggish until lunchtime!).
Another favorite of mine is plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, whatever is seasonal. My favorites are strawberries or mangoes. If you like granola, here is my recipe. It goes with just about anything! Just remember that although my granola is nutrient dense, it is also calorie dense. Just use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup for added crunch on your yogurt. If you buy granola from the store, check the ingredients and nutritional information. Be honest about portion size.
I like oatmeal in the winter, but you have to be picky about what kind you buy because most of the pre-flavored ones are full of sugar, artificial flavor, and not much else. But regular old oatmeal is actually really good for you, and easy to customize in a healthy way. If you have trouble with portion control, try to find plain oatmeal packets. Quaker Oats makes them, other brands do, too. One packet has 100 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, plus 40% of your daily iron! As a woman, that is very important. We tend to have low blood iron, especially if you don’t eat red meat often (I hardly ever do). Oatmeal is the perfect base for most any fruit (fresh or dried), nuts, or granola. I love Reduced Sugar Craisins by Ocean Spray– way fewer calories plus they're fortified with fiber. You can also do it with a swirl or jam if you’re short on time of ingredients. I like to cook the oatmeal with a light non-dairy milk, as opposed to 2% or something heavier.
Another good thing to have on hand in the morning are these energy bites. I make them from time to time, and they’re a perfect sweet pick-me-up. Think of them as healthy truffles.
The Bottom Line
You want to eat enough to jump start your body and get going. But you need to do it with sustainable energy like fiber and protein, and you need to portion control just enough to hold you over til midmorning snack. I used to make these huge veggie and egg scrambles that yes, they were technically healthy, they were huge! Probably 400 calories all together. Either way I was doing myself a disservice by eating so much at once. Now I make these “Anything Scrambles” that clock in about 225 calories. They take a little more time, so maybe save these for the weekend or even a dinner (my favorite time to eat them). “Anything Muffin Tin Frittatas” are my other favorite, and these are actually portable. Just make them ahead of time, and grab one frittata and a small piece of fruit or ½ an English muffin on the way out the door!
I hope you’ve found some of this information helpful!