What's for Breakfast?
Skipping morning meals can actually hinder your weight-loss efforts.
Your mother was right: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and should not be skipped.
"Studies show that the mere act of eating breakfast is very helpful with weight control," said Dave Grotto, a Chicago-based dietician and author of the book, 101 Foods that Could Save Your Life.
Still, one in four Americans do it daily, according to a recent survey conducted by the Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association. And that's not good.
"If you don't eat in the morning after having slept all night, you'll be more likely to overeat at lunch and dinner," warns Milton Stokes, a Connecticut-based dietician.
Skipping breakfast not only makes you feel irritable, light-headed and unable to concentrate, it is also linked to weight gain.
"Your metabolism is slowed while sleeping, and if you don't eat breakfast, your body will store fat to save itself," Stokes said.
Some skip breakfast to save PointsPlus® values or calories; others to save time.
But Stokes isn't buying it. "You take time to brush your teeth, you take time to shower. Take time to eat breakfast."
So then, what's for breakfast?
Anything, said Stokes. "Something is always better than nothing," he said. "If that's a cold slice of vegetable pizza, so be it. At least it's something."
For maximum efficiency and daily energy, Stokes and Grotto recommend pairing lean proteins with whole-grain fibers to get the body ready to face the day.
And don't fear the egg.
"Eggs have been wrongly demonized for a long time," Stokes said. "They're a good source of protein and Vitamin D, they're cheap, widely available, and you can do almost anything with them."
Another time-saver: Boil a batch of eggs on a Sunday and store them in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go breakfast when paired with a piece of fruit and a glass of low-fat milk.
Try a veggie omelet. (You may want to use cooking spray instead of oil, or use 1 tsp of healthy oil.) A good time-saver: pre-chop your veggies and store in an airtight container, and simply sprinkle over a batch of scrambled eggs.
Or make a simple breakfast sandwich by pairing an egg and a piece of cheese on a whole grain English muffin.
Don't like eggs? Spread peanut butter on a tortilla, and sprinkle some blueberries, strawberries or raisins on top.
Another quick option: blend a batch of your favorite fruits with low-fat yogurt and a drizzle of honey.
Of course, there's also the good-old American standard: the bowl of cereal, hot or cold.
And if all else fails, consider last night's leftovers.
"There really is no definition of what breakfast should be or what it should consist of," Stokes said. "Eat what you like. Just eat something."
About the Writer
Nick Divito is a Las Vegas-based freelancer who has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, New York Magazine, Newsweek, The Associated Press and others. He has lost 60 pounds with WeightWatchers.