Whether or not you agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s hard to deny that starting your day off with a healthy meal can help set you up for a healthier day, every day. But even if you think you’ve got your healthy breakfasts figured out, there may be a few missing pieces of the morning puzzle that are throwing off your waistline and making it hard for you to feel on top of your game. Check out these four small changes that you can make at breakfast time to help you better keep your weight in check.
Say goodbye to cereal and granola.
We know, we know – cereal is kind of a breakfast staple in most households. But if we’re being totally honest, even the “healthy” cereal and granolas out there aren’t exactly rife with nutritional value. Plus, they don’t really do a good job of filling you up, meaning that it won’t be long before you’re hungry again after your morning meal. Instead the key is to opt for foods that are high in protein (think eggs or turkey bacon) and fiber (think oats). Plus, something like oatmeal – which, again, is high in that necessary fiber – can be a pretty good alternative for people who are reluctant to give up cereal because they’re fans of the flavor.
The earlier you eat, the better.
Well, kind of. This rule doesn’t mean that you need to set your alarm to wake up at 5 a.m. to have your breakfast with the rising sun. Instead, earlier in this case just means that the sooner you eat after you wake up (whenever that may be), the better. For the most part, it’s best to try to have your breakfast about 30-60 minutes from when you wake up in the morning, because that’s how you’ll be most likely to rev up your metabolism. Not to mention, eating earlier in the day rather than later means that you’ll be less likely to get super hungry throughout the day, assuming, of course, that you have a filling, energy-boosting breakfast.
Munch on fruits and vegetables.
Whether you’re following through on this rule or not, fruits and vegetables are supposed to make up about half of any meal you have, and breakfast is no exception. And while it may feel easier to work fruits into your breakfast – you can top off your oatmeal with some berries, or enjoy some whole wheat toast with ricotta and strawberries – vegetables can easily make their way onto your morning plate with a little bit of creativity. To change things up and provide your body with fresh new vitamins and nutrients, throw some vegetables like mushrooms, spinach, and peppers into an omelet in the morning, or whip up a morning smoothie infused with kale or other greens.
Measure, measure, measure.
You might think that all is well and good with your breakfast because you make it a habit to start the day with a healthy option like peanut butter on whole wheat toast and a banana on the side, but how much peanut butter are you actually spreading onto your toast? The reality is that, more often than not, people underestimate how overboard they’re going with their portions, and since even the healthiest foods in the world are really only good for you when had in moderation, it’s important to know your portions to maintain a healthy diet and waistline. Instead of just guessing, start measuring out ingredients like peanut butter for your toast, or sugar for your coffee, and before you know it, you’ll develop a better ability to eyeball what healthy portions look like on your own, without the help of your measuring spoons.