Skipping breakfast can be a slippery slope. It's practically an invitation for quick and tasty processed or fast food to enter your diet, which might be a convenient way to temporarily fight off hunger, but it's not doing much for your long-term health. The quality of the food you consume is of utmost importance while on your weight loss journey, along with implementing daily, no-excuse nutrition and lifestyle habits, like following a balanced diet. These foods will help you look and feel your best–and that should start first thing in the morning.
15 Best Breakfast Foods to Help You Lose Weight
More and more research seems to be emerging that recommends drinking at least 16 oz of water immediately after waking up. The concept is basically this: imagine not drinking water (or anything, really) for the next 6-9 hours. My mouth feels bone dry just thinking about going without my morning seltzer and fresh squeeze of lemon. Even while we sleep, we steadily release water vapors through exhalation, so the least we could do for our health is replenish that lost water as soon as possible.
Green tea is a proven weight loss superstar. Listen up, gym rats: green tea is especially high in phytonutrients called catechins that offer a slight metabolic boost to help you burn more calories, 24/7. Green tea specifically targets belly fat. One study found that green tea will actually help you shed more belly fat during workouts. And another study found that compounds in green tea might prevent weight gain, especially belly fat accumulation.
Carb-loading with oats first thing in the morning will make you feel alert and energized for the rest of the day. Steel-cut oats are an amazing source of dietary fiber, which not only keeps you full but will also maintain more stable blood sugar levels to help you avoid crashing. Cook your steel-cut oats in chicken broth and add frozen veggies for a savory breakfast, or do all the work the night before with our filling recipe for overnight oats.
Blueberries are one of the top sources of powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins, which fend off cardiovascular disease and even protect against dementia. They’re also packed with vitamin C, a must-have for smooth, glowing skin, and fiber to keep you feeling full. Top your granola with blueberries or simply wash and package some up to-go for that morning commute.
Yogurt is among the more filling healthful breakfast options. Just make sure you opt for one with full fat, or better yet, make your own Greek yogurt at home for all of the natural probiotic benefits. Probiotic yogurt offers plenty of L. Acidophilus, a probiotic shown to boost immune health and prevent mild digestive upset. Looking for a change from regular yogurt? Try kefir. Kefir also has a tangy taste thanks to its probiotic content and will supply L. Acidophilus, just like yogurt, plus B. Bifidum, a probiotic that boosts digestive health, lowers inflammation and helps control allergies.
Strawberries are another delicious option in the berry family. Rule #1 when it comes to all fresh produce in general, but especially berries: enjoy them ASAP, as in, right when you get home. The fresher the berry, the more powerful the antioxidants present. Use berries in your breakfast smoothies, add them to oatmeal, or just enjoy a big bowl of berries on their own and leave it on your desk if you're one who tends to skip breakfast.
Eggs are a hearty source of protein, which makes them fantastic for boosting metabolism and especially good for weight loss. Opting for an egg-based breakfast will help you shed more belly fat when you’re following a weight loss diet, a recent study found. Make sure you’re eating the whole egg. New research shows that egg yolks contain a protein called anti-lipase immunoglobulin that could prevent fat absorption. Plus, you’ll get essential nutrients that aren’t present in the white, like vitamin A and iron, and vitamin B-12, an energy-boosting nutrient.
Grapefruit gained popularity as an American snack food in the 1940s, it even has its own dedicated spoon for the occasion. Researchers have since found that citrus scents can stimulate your nervous system, making them a perfect choice first thing in the AM. Citrus fruits in general come loaded with vitamin C, a nutrient with a serious reputation as an immune booster. Much like vitamin D, vitamin C helps “activate” certain immune cells to keep your immune system strong, and it also protects immune cells from damage so that they can keep fighting away disease. A single grapefruit will provide you with all the vitamin C you need for the day.
As it turns out, the notion of whether peanut butter could be considered a healthy food can go either way, so ensure you are eating the healthiest version possible by opting for certified organic peanuts, and consume peanut butter with foods that contain omega-3 fats, like walnuts, chia seeds or simply mix flaxseed oil directly into the jar. Or, add 1-tablespoon chia seeds to our awesome peanut butter protein shake recipe.
Nuts are high in fiber and protein, plus they're a great source of monounsaturated fats that offer ample health benefits because they not only lower total and “bad” cholesterol, they actually improve the amount of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol, which is also why healthful monounsaturated fats should make up the majority of your fat intake: up to two-thirds of all the fat you eat in a day, according to Colorado State University. Other studies have even shown that eating more nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews made the top three healthiest nuts) could even protect against cancer. So get to snackin'.
Avocados and those "healthy fats" you've been hearing so much about are just the beginning. Avocados are also packed with fiber, a slow-digesting carb that keeps your blood sugar levels stable, which helps fight off cravings. And as for the monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, they've been shown in animal studies to boost fat loss. For a filling and savory breakfast: try our egg baked in avocado recipe.
Raspberries are surprisingly loaded with fiber. A cup of raspberries will give you the same amount of fiber as certain varieties of beans, minus the gas-inducing oligosaccharides. Most Americans do not consume the recommended dietary fiber intake and would benefit from a high-fiber diet, and this goes way beyond bowel movement regularity. Fiber can also reduce bad cholesterol levels while promoting good cholesterol, reduce blood glucose levels, increase mineral absorption–the list goes on and on.
This might surprise you, but tomatoes are another amazing source of antioxidants and also contain higher water content, meaning they are hydrating as well as nourishing and a perfect healthful breakfast food option. Try using tomatoes instead of crust to keep this baked egg recipe low in unhealthy fat–the added healthy antioxidants will provide energy and cell repair. Prepare the night before and throw them in the oven before your morning shower, and then emerge to find a ready-to-eat, healthy weekday breakfast.
Kale is yet another nutrient powerhouse, and possibly the best thing you could do for yourself in the morning is load up your breakfast smoothie with leafy greens. Low in calories, kale is perfect for keeping you full without causing weight gain. Plus it's packed with plenty of immune-friendly nutrients. Leafy greens are a great source of vitamin A (most have all your daily needs in one serving), along with vitamin C and iron. Kale and collards in particular come loaded with calcium, well-known for its role in maintaining proper bone health. Calcium also sends chemical messages that help stimulate your immunity, key for immune cell growth.
Sweet potatoes are a perfect savory breakfast option packed with ample vitamins and minerals. Just one steamed sweet potato contains fiber as well as vitamin A and C, manganese plus vitamin B6, potassium, copper, niacin, riboflavin, phosphorus, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium and iron. These little powerhouses will stabilize your blood sugar production, boost brain function, enhance immunity (since they're high in antioxidants), promote vision health, and of course, aid in healthy, sustained weight loss.