I couldn’t agree more with the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
It gets your metabolism revving and has the ability to regulate your appetite so those late-morning and afternoon cravings don’t turn into bad snacking.
It also provides a great opportunity to get some added nutrition—if it’s done right. So today, I’m going to show you the right way—but first, let’s look at the wrong way.
The Wrong 500-Calorie Breakfast
If you’re like most Americans, your breakfast might look a little something like this: a blueberry muffin, a glass of orange juice, and a cup or two of hot coffee. That’ll provide about 500 calories, none of which will offer the benefits outlined in the paragraph above. To get breakfast right, you have to eat more and get plenty of protein and fiber.
Let’s take a quick look at the nutritional value of the muffin and OJ combo:
- 492 calories
- 16 g fat (and not necessarily healthy fat)
- 80 g carbohydrate
- 55 g sugar
- 6 g protein
- 1.5 g fiber
Here’s what this breakfast will do to you:
- Guarantee you’ll be hungry shortly after you’re finished
- Encourage poor food choices and cravings the rest of the day
- Contribute to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems
But don’t worry, because 500 calories can look a lot different. Let’s take a look at a nutritionally dense and diverse breakfast that will regulate hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin so you don’t get cravings, keep you feeling full for much longer, and contribute to a healthy heart, weight management, and reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.
A Power-Packed 475-Calorie Breakfast
- 1 large egg (70 calories, 0 g carbs, 5 g fat, 6 g protein)
- 1 cup liquid egg whites (120 calories, 0 g carbs, 0 g fat, 28 g protein)
- 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (90 calories, 3 g carbs, 7 g fat, 4 g protein)
- 1 packet regular oatmeal; 1/3 cup dry (120 calories, 20 g carbs, 2 g fat, 4 g protein)
- 90 g blueberries (50 calories, 13 g carbs, 0 g fat, 0 g protein)
- 1 cup black coffee (25 calories)
The calorie breakdown of this breakfast is:
- 36 g of healthy, fibrous carbs
- 14 g of healthy fat
- 42 g of protein
Now, you might look at that and say, “Hey! I can’t eat all that for breakfast!” Well, that’s even better! Have half for breakfast and the other half for a late-morning snack if you’re feeling peckish! You’re getting far more from your calories with this option and it will likely lead to way less consumption during the day!
Start Your Day the Right Way
These two breakfast options yield completely different results. The fiber, complex carbs, healthy fat, and protein in the second breakfast provide a slow release of energy, satiety, and the nutrients that will keep your brain and body functioning at a high level. Nutrient-dense foods are low calorie and when you eat them, you’ll eat less and feel better both in the present and future.
Leidy, H., et al., “Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, ‘breakfast-skipping,’ late-adolescent girls,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 27, 2013; 97(4):677–688. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.053116.
Leidy, H., et al., “The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effects on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’ adolescents,” International Journal of Obesity, July 2010; 34(7):1,125-33. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.3.
Weigle, S., et al., “A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2005; 82(1):41–48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16002798
Robello, C. J., et al., “Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety,” Nutrition Reviews, February 2016; 74(2):131–47. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv063.