There’s a difference between enjoying the feast and overdoing it (ask your stomach, it knows). It’s a hard line to walk when there are irresistible once-a-year classics spread across the table in front of you, but enjoying everything without going overboard can be as easy as getting in a good breakfast. Really.
What you eat for breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving plays a major role in how much you put in your pie-hole later during dinner. Why? “Certain foods are more satiating than others, meaning they will keep you feeling full longer than other foods and ward off ravenous hunger that leads to overeating,” explains Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian and nutritionist based in New York City. This is key to your success if you’re aiming to keep holiday portions in check and lose belly fat. “When you arrive at the table extremely hungry it's easy to eat too much too quickly before your brain has a chance to recognize how much food your body actually needs. You may even go for second helpings, even though you've already eaten enough, which can leave you uncomfortably full and bloated.” This isn’t how you want to feel if you’re planning to enjoy a little tag football or brave the Black Friday crowds later that night.
To find out which foods will best help you stick to your Turkey Day goals, we chatted with Kaufman and dug through the research. Click through the slides to learn which breakfast foods—that you likely already have in your kitchen—will help you keep your appetite in check all day long. Plus, yummy ways to eat each one.
“Oatmeal can be a great Thanksgiving morning meal option because it contains fiber which keeps you full and satisfied,” explains Minchen. “Oatmeal also contains some protein that, when combined with flax seeds or walnuts, will provide the full spectrum of essential amino acids that are required for adequate protein intake and satiety.” Minchen recommends the steel cut variety if you happen to have it on hand because it serves up more essential vitamins and minerals than similar hot cereals. No time to whip up a healthy breakfast before your guests arrive? Pull together one of these 50 Best Overnight Oats Recipes the evening before the holiday madness.
Nearly everyone has a jar of peanut butter hiding somewhere in their kitchen, and we suggest you go dig it up! Adding the protein and fiber-filled spread to your breakfast can help control cravings for up to 12 hours, according to a 2013 British Journal of Nutrition study. Yup, 12 hours! Sounds like the ideal thing to eat if you don’t want to go overboard during dinner. Top whole grain toast (which digests more slowly than white varieties) with two tablespoons of peanut butter. Add raisins and bananas for natural sweetness, added nutrients and satiating fiber. Rather sip your morning meal? Throw some nut butter into one of these delicious weight loss smoothies.
“Berries are high in fiber and water, making them a valuable addition to a filling breakfast,” notes Minchen. “Fiber and water act together as natural appetite suppressants and blood sugar balancers, so they keep your energy going strong! They are also high in anti-aging antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytonutrients. You can't go wrong with these sweet and delicious nutritional gems!” Pair berries with Greek yogurt, cinnamon and a touch of honey or add them to your whole-grain cereal bowl.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help ward off hunger and boosts feelings of satiety. A 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal, found that eating fresh avocado with lunch can decrease the desire to eat by 40% in the hours after the meal. While we can’t be totally certain this will work with breakfast, it’s definitely worth a shot. Try smashing up some avocado onto a piece of whole grain toast. Top with pepper, salt and chili flakes for a punch of flavor.
(Avocado are one of the 26 foods that melt Love handles. See which other foods made the list.)
“Boasting about 5 grams protein and 10 grams fiber in just two tablespoons, chia seeds are a filling and energizing breakfast addition,” says Minchen. “The small but mighty seed also boasts 20 percent of the day’s calcium, and seven grams of Omega-3 fats, which further support satiety, energy and balanced blood sugar. Minchen suggests adding chia to cereals, Greek yogurt and smoothies. Or if time allows, try making one of these 50 Best Chia Seed Recipes on Instagram.
Believe it or not, the science checks out: 25 percent of the calories in eggs are burned just by digesting the eggs themselves. Plus, the protein-packed breakfast staple suppress ghrelin, the hunger hormone, so you won't feel ravenous leading up to the big feast. Whip up an omelet that includes fiber-filled veggies (like kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts) and serve with whole grain toast to further boost your satiety.
And after the holiday feasting is through, be sure to check out these
20 Weight Loss Tricks You Haven't Tried! The tried and tested tips are sure to get you back into your skinny jeans.
Apples are rich in fiber and loaded with water, which makes them a filling and satisfying way to manage appetite, explains Minchen. “They are excellent baked in the oven with some cinnamon or eaten raw with a tablespoon of peanut butter smeared on top.” Sounds delish!
Since cinnamon is used in so many traditional Turkey Day dishes you're bound to have it in your kitchen. According to researchers, the spice is rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidants that may improve insulin sensitivity and, in turn, our body’s ability manage hunger cues. Add it to your oatmeal or sprinkle some on a sliced banana. And speaking of the yellow fruit, check out these 21 Amazing Things Bananas Do To Your Body!
We know hummus and breakfast aren’t exactly a classic combination, it may be worth making an exception. A study published in the journal Obesity found people who ate a single serving a day of chickpeas (the main ingredient in hummus) reported felt 31 percent fuller than their counterparts who didn’t eat the beans. It’s no surprise, really. Chickpeas are full of fiber and protein and also have a low glycemic index, which means the body digests them very slowly, keeping you feeling fuller, longer. Schmear two tablespoons of hummus on toasted whole-grain bread and round out your meal with a piece of fiber-filled fruit, like an apple or pear. Looking for something to sip? We suggest one of these delicious weight loss teas.
Eat This! Tip
Look for hummus that’s olive-oil based and doesn’t contain tahini. Tahini has a high omega-6-to-omega-3 fatty acid ratio.
While water isn’t really a food, staying hydrated is essential to controlling your food intake, since even mild dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. “Dehydration is really common on Thanksgiving because people are so busy they forget to drink regularly throughout the day. Come dinner time, they are tired, hungry and sometimes even moody,” warns Minchen. “Remember to drink one 8-ounce glass of water or seltzer every 60 to 90 minutes throughout the day to prevent dehydration-related fatigue, cravings and overeating!” And if you find plain ol’ H20 to be a bore, whip up a pitcher of delicious detox water!