Vicki Shanta Retelny, R.D.N., is a lifestyle nutrition expert, author, speaker, culinary consultant, and founder of the blog Simple Cravings. Real Food.
You wake up from your overnight slumber and the hunger pangs hit. Breakfast is calling your name—and it’s a must to appease your appetite and fuel you up for the next several hours, right?
If you’re trying to lose weight, breakfast is all the more important. It’s a healthy lifestyle habit that has been shown to help people shed pounds while also preventing weight gain over the long haul. How? By kicking off your metabolism with good fuel. Your body will thank you for it later.
The key to weight loss—at breakfast, or any other meal of the day—is keeping an eye on calories and playing a bit with your portions of carbs, protein, and fat. Ideally, breakfast should be about 300 to 400 calories and a bit lighter on carbs (think: less than 50 grams).
Why so low in carbs? Because, while carbs are great for supplying energy, in my nutrition practice, I find that most women consume far more than they need for breakfast. The result: blood sugar and insulin highs, rollercoaster energy levels, and mood swings. Think about how you felt the last time you ate a sugary bowl of cereal? Exactly.
That’s why I urge women to not only pull back slightly on the carbs at breakfast, but to chose good quality, fiber-filled whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and pulses (a.k.a. beans, chickpeas, and lentils) for their carbs. That will help give your body an energizing boost without setting you up for a blood-sugar crash 30 minutes later. And, by including good-for-you protein and fat in your morning mix, you trigger satiety, slow digestion, and level out your blood sugar even more. That way, you stay fueled and energized straight through until lunch.
Here, five of my favorite low-carb breakfasts. They are super simple to whip up and will start your day on the path to healthy weight loss.
Makes 6 servings (1 cup each)
1/2 cup raw whole oats
6 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, washed and dried
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 sprigs fresh mint, washed and dried
Toast the oats in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. In each of 6 fluted glasses, place 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. Add 1 tablespoon of blueberries, 1 tablespoon of oats, and a drizzle of honey. Repeat until each glass is filled to the top. Top each glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a sprig of mint. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 205 (From Fat 39); Fat: 4 g (Saturated 3 g): Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 172 mg; Carbohydrates: 28 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 14 g
(Learn how bone broth can help you lose weight with Women’s Health’s Bone Broth Diet.)
Makes 1 serving
2 eggs, cracked and whisked
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil