We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when you’re rushing around in the morning trying to get stuff done and get ready for the day, it can be pretty easy to just skip it.
If you’re looking to lose weight, however, you’re probably going to want to re-prioritize and make sure you’re squeezing it into your schedule.
Getting a healthy, balanced breakfast might be the missing link if you’ve been struggling to lose weight because as it turns out, calories on their own aren’t everything when it comes to shedding fat. A high-quality, nutritious breakfast is well worth its weight in calories when it can set the tone for your eating behaviors for the rest of the day.
So here’s why you should leave a little room in your morning routine for a weight loss breakfast.
Why You Should Be Eating Breakfast
It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason. Eating a good breakfast helps with your weight loss goals because it can:
• Start your day off on the right foot. Eating a good breakfast definitely has its place in a healthy lifestyle. Getting up early, having a good morning routine, and eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast are all great ways to set the tone for the rest of the day. Researchers have seen that people who eat nutritious breakfasts tend to choose better foods throughout the day – aka less heavy-carb and heavy-fat choices, and it’s also been associated with better sleep patterns at night! [*]
So as you can see, eating breakfast can set the tone for all the good habits that you want to establish when you’re trying to lose weight and get healthy.
• Keep you fueled for heavier workouts. There’s evidence that doing your cardio in the fasted state (in other words, having not eaten for several hours) is a good way to lose weight, but if you have an intense workout sesh planned (think HIIT or heavy lifting), you’re probably going to want to fuel up so you can stay energized. Even if you do choose to do an early fasted cardio workout, you can get the right nutrition to recover with a healthy breakfast right after.
• Keeps you full for longer. If you’re skipping breakfast, you might find that you’re feeling hungry, and that could be a recipe for disaster when it comes to cravings and overindulging later on in the morning. Choosing not to eat breakfast might make your appetite and hunger hormones increase, so you crave more throughout the day and feel less full even when you do eat. This can lead to overeating to satisfy that hunger, and that could essentially “cancel out” the calories you skipped for weight loss in the morning. [*]
• Might even help you maintain your weight loss. Maintaining weight loss is a whole different monster than losing weight, and studies have shown that eating a high-quality breakfast is a common habit among people who managed to avoid regaining the weight that they previously lost. [*]
One possible exception to this is if you’re doing intermittent fasting. Many people who intermittent fast correctly and consistently choose to skip their breakfast and start eating later on in the day, and this comes with the benefit of eating fewer calories throughout the day when done correctly. Consistency is key, though, so you shouldn’t expect great results if you’re eating breakfast and intermittent-fasting sporadically.
What Your Breakfast Should Include
It’s really important to note, though, that eating breakfast doesn’t mean eating sugary cereals, pancakes, and piles of bacon every day. Just like any meal that you include in your diet when you’re trying to lose weight, it needs to be balanced and well-thought-out if you want to see any results.
If you want to lose weight, your breakfast needs to be portioned and nutritious, and one of the most important things to make sure it includes is a good amount of protein.
Eating a breakfast that’s high in protein can help your weight loss goals in a couple of different ways: you’re giving your body the refuel it needs to build muscles after a good workout, which also gives your metabolism a boost. High-protein breakfasts are also just more satisfying than carbs, and can help to manage your hunger hormones and even help process any higher-carb meal that you do eat later in the day! [*]
Some good protein-rich foods to eat for breakfast include:
- Non-dairy yogurt
As is the case with any meal you eat while trying to lose weight, make sure that you’re watching your portions and keeping an eye on your calories.
Breakfasts To Avoid
On the topic of things you want to avoid in your breakfast, you’ll want to minimize your intake of poor-quality carbohydrates.
All those classic breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles, french toast, and sugary cereals might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of breakfast, but those foods are going to be a good reason that you’re not losing weight.
Not only do they not offer much in the way of nutrition, but highly-processed carbohydrates for breakfast can quickly elevate your blood sugar, which can make your insulin levels spike. [*] This is bad news for weight loss because high levels of insulin can lead to more fat accumulation.
Instead, get your carbohydrates from healthier sources like fruits and vegetables, and make sure to pair them with protein to avoid intense blood-sugar spikes. For example:
• Apples and almond butter
• Non-dairy smoothie with berries
• Eggs and sweet potato skillet
The Bottom Line
A good breakfast can be a great tool to have in your weight-loss arsenal, but it truly should be a healthy and balanced breakfast if you want to see the results. Make sure to prioritize protein, choose high-quality carbohydrates, and pair with a good workout routine to start seeing some serious results!