Many chronic dieters start each day with a renewed sense of hope that “today is the day I am going to stick to my diet.” Breakfast then becomes the natural starting point for any diet, meal plan, healthy eating vow, etc. Now, I’m all for starting each day with a positive outlook, but sometimes, in regards to our diet, we aim for perfection and it backfires. For example, when someone starts a new diet they often times put a ton of energy into prepping and planning their meals. They may even wake up early to make sure they have time for the perfect breakfast. As time passes they may begin to put off food prep and start hitting the snooze button a few times and before you know it they’re back to a refined grab ‘n go breakfast, the drive through or worse yet – skipping breakfast all together.
A Real Life Example of How Simple a Healthy Breakfast Can Be:
Recently while helping a client plan some meals I pulled out my [imaginary] magic wand and asked her “If you could eat whatever you wanted for breakfast without worrying about your weight, something that would keep you sustained through the morning and that you like to eat, what would that be?” She reported back that her favorite breakfast is eggs, whole grain toast with real butter and coffee with cream. She also went on to say that this breakfast is easy for her to prepare, she likes it, and she feels satisfied through the morning when she eats this. Despite this, she was a bit shocked when I said “okay, we’ll start your breakfast meal plan with eggs, toast and coffee”. She felt that she needed to avoid carbs and up her protein and veggies at breakfast to lose weight. I did convince her to add in some fruit if she needed it but she really had already found a breakfast that was going to work for her. As I’m sure you’ve heard me say before, permanent results are about consistency not perfection.
I’d like to share some practical breakfast tips that will hopefully help you break the yo-yo diet cycle and shift your focus to feeling good and fueling your body with foods you love.
A Non-Diet Approach to a Healthy and Easy Breakfast
- Create a Balanced Breakfast: If your breakfast only consists of 1 or 2 food groups then you are likely missing out on balanced nutrition. Aim to take in at least 4 food groups for breakfast. Here is a quick example, a small veggie omelet with cheese is 3 food groups, add in fruit and/or toast for a total of 4-5 food groups.
- Have Back-up Breakfast Options on Hand: Let’s face it, we are all bound to have “one of those days” where we are lucky to make it out the door alive. That doesn’t mean your breakfast has to be sacrificed. It’s important to have some grab and go items on hand. I would still try to aim for at least 3 food groups. Fruit, a cheese stick, and a breakfast bar would be a nice balance.
- What if You’re Just Not a Breakfast Person: I see it all the time. Many people just don’t have an appetite in the morning. I don’t support pushing ourselves to eat when we aren’t hungry but in this case you may need to try and stimulate a morning appetite. Start off by eating something small. A piece of fruit, toast or cheese. If that is still too much for you in the morning try juice or a small smoothie.