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The Worst Breakfast Habits for Weight Loss Over 40, Say Dietitians

These common habits aren't doing your body any favors.

What you eat for breakfast actually can play a huge role in looking your best and trying to lose weight—especially after 40. Unfortunately, following a few unhealthy breakfast patterns can reverse any efforts you make to try and slim down.  Luckily, we asked experts to list out some of those bad breakfast habits you need to break if you are over 40 and want to lose some weight—and what to focus on instead.

Once you break these habits, you still need to replace them with healthier, wholesome breakfast patterns. If you need to overhaul what your breakfast looks like, you don't want to miss these 30 Nutritionist-Approved Healthy Breakfast Ideas that will keep you full and satisfied.

Skipping breakfast

Displeased young woman doesn't want to eat her breakfast

Anyone who has to hit the ground running when they wake up might have gotten away with skipping breakfast when they were younger. But don't expect to lose pounds by forgoing this meal.

"Skipping breakfast is one of the worst habits I see in adults over 40," says Catherine Johnston, RD. "Life gets busy, and other priorities get in the way of self-care. Instead of skipping breakfast altogether, find a simple, nutritious breakfast option that you can automate into your morning routine. For example—a bowl of whole-grain cereals with a handful of berries and slivered almonds, a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, or a quick smoothie."

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Coffee for breakfast

woman drinking coffee

Some might assume you can replace our breakfast with a cup of coffee. While this habit can get your morning started a bit faster, don't assume it does any favors for your weight-loss journey.

"I always tell clients 'coffee is not a meal,'" says Johnston. "Coffee can suppress hunger cues, but often the lack of energy (calorie) intake shows up later in the form of an afternoon slump or evening sugar cravings. Make your coffee an iced coffee smoothie by blending coffee ice cubes with oats, a frozen banana, avocado, and milk to make a delicious coffee breakfast smoothie!"

Eating cookies for breakfast

coffee with biscuits

In certain parts of the world, eating a biscuit with coffee in the morning can be a tradition. But not paying attention to the number of biscuits could be causing issues with your weight loss efforts after 40.

"Usually, at breakfast, we take two to four biscuits with tea or coffee," says Shannon Henry, RD at EZCare Clinic. "But, did you know that a high-fiber or digestible biscuit contains 30 to 40 calories? Here, you can envision how many calories are in a chocolate cream biscuit or cookie. Instead, all kinds of cookies, biscuits, rusks, are made with baking powder, sugar, and salt."

"We often had tea or coffee snacks and ended up eating a lot of biscuits in 5 minutes," says Henry. "The result—we consume a lot of calories, which does not help us to lose weight. Instead of having these 'empty calories' (nutrition and calorie-free foods only), it is healthier to eat almonds, roasted soybeans, and puffed brown rice snacks with your breakfast coffee/tea."

Only eating carbs for breakfast

woman eating croissant

"After the age of 40, people especially postmenopausal women lose muscle naturally," says Henry. "As muscle burns more calories than fat, it slows down your metabolism and makes it harder to lose those contrary pounds. Without a healthy balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, eating sugary refined carbohydrates such as breakfast pastries can raise your blood sugar level, leading to a crash. In addition, it slows down your metabolism and does not help you lose weight."

"Eat a high-protein breakfast to boost your morning energy," she continues. "Protein is a key nutrient for weight loss. In fact, adding more protein to your diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to lose weight. Studies show that protein can help control your appetite and prevent overeating. Therefore, starting your day with a high-protein breakfast is an effective way to lose weight. It may include eggs, Greek yogurt, nut butter, and cottage cheese."

Not drinking enough water

drinking water

You have heard about the benefits of drinking water before, but if you don't start your day with enough hydration, you might have a harder time dropping the pounds.

"Dehydration eliminates the signs of thirst and instead sends out signals of hunger, which allows you to overeat," says Henry. "When your body is dehydrated the energy goes down and you feel tired. To refill that energy, you eat more and this eventually leads to weight gain."

In particular, Henry notes that drinking water in the morning can with weight loss.

"Water consumption increases the rate of metabolism so that the body can burn more calories," she says. "Drink at least 650 milliliters (around 3 cups) of water as soon as you wake up. Increase your patience to drink so much water every day! Do not take breakfast or lunch for at least 45 minutes after drinking water."

Not drinking enough water can lead to some other very serious effects. Make sure to check out What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Water for a full run-down of this bad habit.

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more about Erich