You know that eating breakfast in the morning can keep you from bingeing later in the day and possibly help you lose weight. The only problem: Most of us are straight-up zombies first thing in the morning and end up eating like one, mindlessly scarfing down whatever is in our path.
But turning your breakfast into weight-loss fuel doesn’t actually take much brainpower. All you need is fibre from whole-grain carbohydrates or fruit, protein, and healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, says Jaime Mass, of Jaime Mass Nutritionals.
Make sure your morning meal has the perfect combo of kilogram-dropping nutrients by aiming for roughly five to 10 grams of fibre from a carbohydrate source, about 14 to 20 grams of super-filling protein, and around seven to 13 grams of craving-crushing healthy fat.
“The most important thing about breakfast is the mix of nutrients,” says nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants and author of Read It Before You Eat It. “This healthy combination is the perfect way to get energised for the day and help you focus,” she says.
Why It Actually Works
Here’s how these nutrients also work together to help you lose weight: The fibre in your meal absorbs water to keep you fuller longer, which means you won’t overeat at lunchtime because you’re starving, says Mass. And since fibre also supports healthy digestion, you’re not going to feel bloated. Plus, when your digestive tract is running smoothly, your body absorbs more nutrients so you have energy to hit the gym, she says.
The other key players in this weight-loss-friendly breakfast – protein and healthy fat – slow down the digestion of fibre, sugar and carbohydrates to level out your blood sugar and prevent crashes. And when your blood sugar is stable, you’re more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day (make it to your workouts and avoid impulsively eating snacks when you’re not hungry).
What Else You Should Keep in Mind
In addition to noshing on the perfect mix of nutrients, keeping an eye on the portion of your breakfast will also help you reach your weight-loss goals. But the exact amount you should be eating really depends on your height and weight, says Mass. For the average active woman looking to drop kilograms, Mass recommends keeping your breakfast somewhere around 1200 to 1400 kilojoules.
Now that you’ve got all that info, we’re about to break it down so you never have to think about it again. Here, we bring you five perfect morning meals that meet these fat-burning requirements. Say goodbye to pre-lunch hunger!
READ MORE: 40 Foods That’ll Help You Upgrade Your Diet
The breakfast: 1 medium apple, sliced, topped with 2 Tbsp of almond butter mixed with 1 Tbsp of protein powder.
Why it works: The extra protein from the powder gives your nut butter a protein boost without adding a ton of kilojoules, says Mass.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 1549kJ 20g fat (2g sat), 30g carbs, 19g sugar, 4mg sodium, 6g of fibre, 22.2g protein
The breakfast: A piece of whole-grain toast topped with about 3 Tbsp mashed avocado and 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
Why it works: Eggs are a great source of morning protein, but if you don’t have time to make scrambled eggs or an omelet, keep a stash of hard-boiled eggs to make this quick recipe, says Taub-Dix.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 870kJ, 12g fat (3g sat), 15g carbs, 1.5g sugar, 62mg sodium, 6g of fibre, 12g protein
The breakfast: A smoothie made with 1/2 cup berries, 170g nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp chia seeds and 1 Tbsp almond butter.
Why it works: Nuts slow the absorption of the carbs, says Taub-Dix, which means they won’t give you a blood-sugar surge.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 1595kJ, 19g fat (2g sat), 33g carbs, 9.5g sugar, 5mg sodium, 11g of fibre, 26 g protein
The breakfast: 1/2 cup oatmeal mixed with 1/2 scoop protein powder (whey, soy, or hemp) and 1 1/2 Tbsp of your favourite nuts (almonds are great) and 1/2 cup fresh berries (any kind).
Why it works: Not only is this breakfast super-easy and full of fat-burning nutrients, it also contains tons of antioxidants and fibre, says Mass.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 950kJ, 8g fat (0g sat), 23g carbs, 5g sugar, 0mg sodium, 4g of fibre, 15 g protein
The breakfast: 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt topped with 1/2 cup breakfast cereal (pick a kind that contains more than 5 grams of fibre per serving), 1/4 cup berries, apples, or pears and 7 walnut halves.
Why it works: “I love this breakfast option because it is convenient and easy to grab,” says Mass. Three words: no cooking involved.
MAKES ONE SERVING. Per serving: 1201kJ, 10g fat (1 g sat), 29g carbs, 9 g sugar, 44 mg sodium, 7g of fibre, 27g protein.