Let’s get something straight: “Studies show that people who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight – and maintaining their weight loss – than those who skip it,” says Colette Heimowitz, a nutritionist with Atkins Nutritionals. Now you need to figure out what makes the healthiest breakfast. Heimowitz says your goal should be to control carbs and sugar and get sufficient protein. Make it anti-inflammatory protein for an even better defense against weight gain. These are our favorite four.
Eggs are the real deal. Julie Andrews, The Gourmet RD, says they are a “complete protein,” meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids -the ones our bodies can’t produce so we must get them via food. From eggs we get good fats, choline, selenium, biotin, iodine, phosphorus and vitamin A. Most of these are in the yolk so forget about making just the whites. An egg has 6g of high quality protein, only 70 calories and no carbs, “Eggs are inexpensive, readily available and very versatile,” she says. Scramble up two eggs and mix in black beans, top a sunny side-up egg with avocado or just have a hard-boiled egg with a dash of sea salt.
Plain Greek Yogurt
What has major protein (some brands upwards of 20g per cup!) and is low in calories and carbs? We’ll take plain Greek yogurt for the win! “It will keep you satiated throughout the morning so that you avoid sugary cereals,” says Heimowitz. She suggests a half-cup of plain whole milk Greek yogurt with a quarter cup of toasted wheat germ, a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or two tablespoons of slivered almonds. Or load it up with a couple of other filling, anti-inflammatory toppings: blueberries and chia seeds. Berries have antioxidants and vitamin C and chia seeds deliver omegs-3s.
“Research suggests that quinoa helps suppress the release of cytokines, which could be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of inflammation,” says Dr. Luiza Petre, MD, director of the Medi-Weightloss Clinics. One cup of quinoa has 9 grams of protein as well as whole grains, which reduce fat and takes inches off your waist because they’re absorbed into the blood stream at a slow pace. We say: it’s not just for lunch and dinner! Cook up 2 cups and add unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, raw honey, walnuts chia seeds and tart cherries. Walnuts are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, as is chia. In addition, the seeds have protein and fiber. And don’t forget the cherries! Dr. Petre says they have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews and sunflower seeds, are packed with protein (about 4 to 7 grams per ounce), fiber and heart-healthy fats, a combo that keeps you full for the longest period of time. “Nuts and seeds are calorie-dense so it’s important to pay attention to portion size,” says Andrews.” Try adding 15 almonds to your breakfast. They contain less than 10 calories, 2g of fiber and 4g of protein. Add an apple and you have 180 calories, 6g of fiber and 4g of protein. The fiber content also works in favor of weight loss.