8 Best Breakfast Foods to Jumpstart Weight Loss, Says Dietitian
Some mornings you may wake up and feel like enjoying something light—like Greek yogurt with berries, or a slice of toast with avocado. Other mornings you wake up ready to create the breakfast from your dreams: big, full to the brim, and filled with energy. Whatever mood you're in in the morning, why not start with a delicious meal that fuels the body and that can help you reach weight loss goals?
According to the Mayo Clinic, adults who eat a healthy breakfast have a greater chance at maintaining a healthy weight, have more controlled blood sugar levels, and even tend to perform better at work. There's no need to skip the first meal of the day, especially when it has so many great benefits to losing weight and keeping the weight off.
Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, a registered dietitian and communications specialist for Appetite for Health, explains that a common weight-loss mistake of people who cook breakfast in the morning is trying to cut out certain foods or even whole food groups. This can "make their weight loss effort very unsatisfying and then they crave their favorite foods," or possibly backslide into bad eating habits.
One step you can take to avoid this mistake is to eat "protein-rich" breakfast foods, says Upton. A high-protein breakfast keeps steady blood sugar levels and helps the body absorb carbohydrates at a slower pace, which in turn can be a major factor in weight loss.
There are plenty of healthy breakfast options out there to not only keep your body content but also nourished and ready for shedding off some of that extra weight. Luckily for us, Upton shared healthy breakfast recipes for all seven days of the week!
To continue helping you reach your goals, check out Exercise Habits for Weight Loss That Science Says Actually Work.
Healthy breakfast tacos
Instead of taco night, have yourself a plate of healthy breakfast tacos in the morning to get closer to your weight loss goals. The dish can incorporate a few well-rounded and nutritious ingredients, such as eggs, fiber-filled veggies, cheese, and a low-calorie tortilla. Due to the combination of protein, simple carbs, and healthy fats will keep you more full during the day and can result in you consuming fewer calories overall.
Get our recipe for Breakfast Tacos With Bacon and Spinach.
Egg veggie scramble
"Soy-based meat alternatives are all good options for breakfast," Upton explains. She makes an amazing egg and veggie scramble that includes: eggs, plant-based sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes, and any other veggies she enjoys or just has on-hand around the kitchen. If you're on a weight-loss journey, definitely keep your plate bright and full of veggies!
Vegetables are categorized by the CDC as low energy-dense foods, meaning they are low in calories but still impact the feeling of fullness. Many studies have seen vegetables have a great effect on fat loss. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when their participants would increase their intake of fruit and vegetables, they were not only more likely to lose weight, but also maintain weight loss. The more veggies in one's diet, the greater chance of leaning out and/or retaining a smaller figure.
Get our recipe for a Veggie Scramble With Mushrooms, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Recipe.
A breakfast burrito that is flavor-packed, healthy, and can help you reach weight-loss goals? Sign us up! Upton recommends her breakfast burrito recipes of two eggs and one egg white (or four egg whites total) scrambled with spinach, mushroom, chopped tomatoes, or salsa, all wrapped up in a small whole-grain tortilla.
This breakfast burrito has all the healthy nutrients you need: protein, veggies, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Upton says carbs aren't anything scary, in fact, she encourages "people to have some carbs for energy."
If you focus on getting in a lot more complex carbs, you can see much greater success in losing weight. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health explains that complex carbs are "derived from whole and unprocessed plant-based foods," which have more nutrients and will usually take longer for the body to digest compared to simple carbs. Not only do complex carbs have more nutritional value—like fiber, vitamins, and minerals—but they are also stored in either muscle cells or the liver to give you long-lasting energy until hunger strikes again.
Get our recipe for a Fiber-Filled Breakfast Burrito.
Greek yogurt combos
A solid go-to for Upton is creating various combinations using Greek yogurt with a load of toppings. One is her Greek yogurt parfait, which starts with 8-ounces of non-fat plain Greek yogurt, one cup of fresh berries, and a 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats. Combine layers of fruit, yogurt, and oats in a parfait glass or jar, and then top with two teaspoons of honey or agave.
Upton enjoys recommending this recipe specifically because it's "a great combo as the Greek yogurt is protein-rich and has no added sugar," both of which play a huge part in weight loss. Diets with a lower intake of dietary sugar have been seen to show significantly more weight loss than diets with no restriction, according to the BMJ.
Get our recipe for Fruit and Granola Yogurt Parfait.
Protein pancakes with Upton will have you never wanting to go back to basic pancake batter ever again. Her recipe uses one small ripe (overripe is better) banana, two eggs (or one egg and two egg whites), one tablespoon of nut butter, a pinch of cinnamon, and a drop of vanilla or almond extract (if desired).
"A good rule of thumb is to try to get 20 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast," Upton recommends.
Not only is protein very filling, but in terms of weight loss, it can benefit the body in different ways. The American Society for Nutrition found research that shows how a high-protein breakfast can foster healthy weight loss by strengthening and growing your muscle mass, giving your body more energy to be physical, and satisfying hunger hormones. In plain terms, protein will help build strong muscles that guide your body in burning more calories just by using energy doing everyday activities, while also keeping you full throughout the day.
Get our recipe for The Best Protein Pancakes.
Open-faced egg sandwich
The open-faced egg sandwich of Upton's choice includes two soft-boiled eggs served over a toasted whole-wheat light English muffin with arugula or spinach, sliced tomato, and two teaspoons of reduced-fat spread/light butter. All of this with a piece of fresh fruit on the side, and she says you'll really be ready to start your day off right.
Upton mentions that eggs can be one of the best foods for weight loss. Having eggs for breakfast can help soothe a frequent appetite and promote strong weight loss, according to one study published in Hormone Research and Paediatrics. The study saw how a high-protein content can be most effective for anyone trying to lose weight, due to the positive change in appetite hormones and regulating hunger satisfaction.
Get the recipe from Fit Foodie Finds.
And if you're big on breakfast sandwiches, try out these 16 Delicious Breakfast Sandwich Recipes You Won't Believe Are Healthy.
Cottage cheese with cereal and fruit
Instead of grabbing a plain bowl of cereal with milk, optimize your flavor pallet and contribute to your weight loss by reaching for more healthy foods. Upton recommends a bowl of cottage cheese with cereal and fruit, using 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 1/4 cup Grape-Nuts Fit cereal (which has six grams of protein in a 2/3 cup), and one cup of fresh berries.
Cottage cheese has a great source of low-calorie protein, according to Doctor Oz. Not only is cottage cheese perfect to throw into foods for an extra protein boost (such as pancakes, smoothies, salads, and more), but it also has a high source of calcium and B-complex vitamins.
Oatmeal with yogurt
Get the recipe from The Nutrition Twins.
Oats should be high on your list of foods to eat when trying to lose weight, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, because they have special antioxidants that are created by phenolic compounds and phytoestrogens (plant-based chemicals found in oats). These antioxidants act to reduce the effects of inflammation and calm digestion.
Upton suggests oatmeal with yogurt as a healthy weight-loss breakfast by including one cup of oatmeal with 1/2 cup non-fat or low-fat plain Greek yogurt, and one cup of fresh or frozen (no added sugar) berries right on top.
"I like oats due to their high concentration of beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that helps keep you satisfied and stabilize blood sugar levels," she says.
A previous version of this article was originally published on Mar 18, 2022.
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