by Melissa Herman, RD, CDE
If you are trying to lose weight, one of the healthiest habits you can begin is to eat breakfast daily. Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner, and dieters are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off when they eat breakfast. What’s more, people who typically eat breakfast also get more fiber in their diets, and less fat and dietary cholesterol. Mix up your morning routine with one of these five healthy breakfast foods:
- BERRIES: Berries may be small, but they are chock full of fiber and antioxidants. Why is fiber so important? Research shows that incorporating fiber into your diet is a great way to prevent weight gain or even lose weight. Fiber also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The antioxidants in berries can help your body fight stress that can lead to illness. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants not only helps improve your health but also protects your skin and hair, and may prevent certain diseases. If you can’t find fresh berries, unsweetened frozen berries are a great nutritious alternative.
- EGGS: Eggs deliver protein, which is great for dieters. Protein keeps you satisfied and feeling full much longer than carbohydrates and fat. Add some veggies to your eggs for a complete breakfast.
- GREEK YOGURT: Greek-style yogurt is even better than its American-style counterpart. Why? Greek yogurt contains fewer carbs, sugar and salt—and it often has twice the amount of protein. Look for a low-fat version, and stay away from the flavored versions—they are full of sugar. Keep plain Greek yogurt in your fridge as a staple. Use as a recipe substitution, or enjoy it with fresh fruit for breakfast.
- OATMEAL: Oatmeal is loaded with dietary fiber and can lower cholesterol. Skip the flavored kind, which has added sugar. For more flavor, add in healthy toppings like peanut or almond butter with a banana, or almonds and berries.
- GRAPEFRUIT: According to one study, eating half a grapefruit before each meal may help you slim down faster, thanks to the fruit’s fat-burning properties and its beneficial effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Pair with protein for an ideal breakfast, such as eggs or Greek yogurt. If you are taking prescription medicine, ask your doctor about possible interactions with grapefruit.
Meeting with a registered dietitian to develop a personalized plan is another great way to help lose the weight and keep it off. Together, you can develop a nutrition plan tailored to fit your health needs. Once you’ve established a healthy eating and lifestyle action plan, a dietitian can provide ongoing coaching and advice for a range of health
needs, including elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, hypertension (high blood pressure), digestive disorders, celiac disease, obesity and food allergies.
Melissa Herman is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at FirstHealth Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center, which offers services in Moore, Montgomery, Hoke and Richmond counties. For more information, call 800-364-0499 or visit www.firsthealth.org/nutrition. For healthy breakfast recipes, visit www.firsthealth.org/recipes.