Better breakfast, better bod. Sounds simple, right? It can be. All you have to do is rise and shine and get to work, conquering your weight loss goals first thing with some healthy hacks. Not only will these swaps inspire you to stay disciplined as your day goes on, but all of your mindful mornings will add up and slim you down in no time. One pound is 3,500 calories so by cutting 5,749, you’ll lose more than a pound a week. All it takes is a tweak here and a swap there to close the gap on your ideal weight.
And once you have breakfast beat, you can look to lunch—and even do dinner better while you’re at it! But before you get ahead of yourself, take the first step with any of these 15 Healthy Breakfast Ideas and don’t look back.
Stop With The Sugar
Sorry, sweet tooth: it’s time to remove the best part of your coffee routine. By adding one Sugar in the Raw packet to your cup of joe in the a.m., you’re setting yourself back 20 calories. That may not sound like much, but if you’re anything like the average American who drinks two daily cups of the stuff, that number jumps to 280 each week. No wonder this practice made it onto our list of 37 Worst Breakfast Habits For Your Waistline. So whether you drink it black or splash in some milk, do yourself a favor and keep sugar out of the equation from now on.
Calories Saved: 280
Buy Better Bagels
Even if the bagel you bite into every morning is whole wheat, that still doesn’t make this an acceptable choice in our book—and not just because you’re slathering cream cheese all over it. Toppings aside, a Thomas brand bagel is full of empty calories—240 of them, to be exact! But since we understand that asking you to banish your favorite breakfast to the trash can may be a lot, we’re proposing a compromise. Buying a bagel thin of the same flavor from the same brand can cut your calorie count by more than half, saving you 260 before you’ve put anything on it if you eat two a week.
Calories Saved: 260
Even if you go for healthy toppings, that toast isn’t totally innocent. In fact, according to the USDA, each slice of whole wheat bread is 69 calories. That means if you’ve been adding this to your morning meal as a crunchy side, it’s time to just toss it. But if you’ve been making a meal out of it, whether you’re piling on nut butter or avocado slices, you still have a chance to salvage your go-to with a sweet potato. Throw a slice of this veggie into the toaster—yes, you read that right—and top it like you would a piece of bread. Just trust us; 100 grams of this is 161 calories less than 100 grams of your favorite thrice-weekly loaf.
Calories Saved: 483
Switch It Up At Starbucks
Shorten that mile-long Starbucks order with a more reasonable request. A grande green tea, whether you like it iced or steaming, comes full of caffeine and metabolism-boosting EGCG—without even hitting 50 calories. Not only does a standard caramel frappuccino of the same size have more grams of sugar than that, but it has 375 more calories as well. If you start your mornings with sugary Starbucks drinks like this, an intervention is long overdue. Otherwise, you’ll keep pounding 2,625 more calories in a single week just to get your caffeine fix. Not worth it.
Calories Saved: 2,625
Don’t Go For Faux
Why buy jam when you’ve got fresh fruit at your disposal? The next time you’re tempted to use a tablespoon of the processed stuff, which the USDA clocks at 56 calories, go for real raspberries instead. You can consume half a cup three times a week and save yourself the 72 extra calories you’d get with raspberry jelly. Stop going for the sorry substitute when you don’t have to.
Calories Saved: 72
Get The Greek
Put your spoon down and back away from the flavored yogurt before someone gets hurt. You think we’re exaggerating, but scarfing down one carton of Yoplait’s Thick and Creamy Peaches and Cream yogurt, for instance, can really thwart your weight loss goals. With 180 calories, not to mention almost 30 grams of sugar, you’d be so much better off starting the day with anything of the Greek or Icelandic variety. We recommend Siggi’s 0% Strained Icelandic-Style Skyr; it ranked high when we tested 12 yogurts, and a 5-ounce cup is only 100 calories. Make the swap four times a week and save 320 calories.
Calories Saved: 320
Avoid Sweet Cereal
Looks can be deceiving. The box your cereal came in may have looked healthy, but a closer peek at the nutrition label will often tell you otherwise. For example, Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch cereal may seem like a nutritious choice; it does say “whole grain,” after all. But don’t be fooled. Try a 110-cal serving of Special K Red Berries every weekday to halve your calorie intake and cut down on sugar while you’re at it.
Calories Saved: 550
Pour With Purpose
More milk means more calories. Just one cup of the stuff is 103, according to the USDA, and that adds up whether you’re adding some to your coffee, pouring it into your cereal bowl, or just drinking it straight. No one’s saying to cut it from your diet altogether if you don’t have a lactose intolerance, but opting for another option three times a week couldn’t hurt. A cup of Silk’s almond alternative has 43 fewer calories and will leave you with a milk mustache to feel good about.
Calories Saved: 129
Mix Up Your Meat
You may love Trader Joe’s—who doesn’t?—but that doesn’t mean you have to love every product they sell. You may actually be committing some serious breakfast mistakes if you’re blindly buying from them. Take bacon, for instance. Their peppered and uncured turkey bacon, which is only 40 calories a slice and rich in protein, is a great addition to any morning meal. But scarfing down the regular stuff once a week comes close to doubling that number at 50 more calories.
Calories Saved: 50
Choose Different Cheese
If you’ll always go to bat for bagels, don’t feel (too much) pressure to rid them from your diet, but at least try tweaking your toppings. While we don’t know how much you usually smear on, we do know that 100 grams of cream cheese is 342 calories—and 34 grams of fat, if you were curious. Save 488 calories with the same amount of cottage cheese twice a week, while packing on the protein. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it with berries mixed in.
Calories Saved: 488
Know Your Limits
While we usually recommend saying yes to yolk since it’s got B vitamins and immune-boosting selenium, you can cut a bunch of calories if you opt for only egg whites every now and again. The American Heart Association advises against more than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day, so you shouldn’t be consuming more than 1.5 eggs for breakfast anyway, which is where egg whites come in. Regardless of how many eggs you want in your weekend omelets, substituting two yolks with whites will still thicken your dish for a more satiating start to your Saturday and Sunday, all while saving you 76 calories each time.
Calories Saved: 152
Spoon Out These Oats…
Yes, that box of Quaker oatmeal specifically says it’s for “Weight Control,” but no, you shouldn’t throw it in your grocery cart. Sidestep flavored oats like this maple brown sugar option and stay simple—you can always dress your bowl up with toppings later. (We recommend a handful of fresh fruit and nuts). But what you can’t do is take back the 160 calories in the flavored bowl, so always reach for this brand’s original organic instant oatmeal instead. Eating the 100-cal packet three times a week will fill you up without filling you out.
Calories Saved: 300
…But Write Out These Waffles
When blueberries are 15th on the ingredients list, you know you’ve got a problem. Avoid Eggo’s when you’re in the frozen section and go for Kashi’s brand of waffles instead. They don’t just have double the fiber and 40 fewer calories, but fruit is much higher up on the ingredients list. Now that’s a whole wheat option that makes a whole lot of sense. But if you’re still struggling to build a better Sunday brunch, use this Best And Worst Frozen Breakfast Foods guide to tackle the freezer section.
Calories Saved: 40