It isn’t enough to have a coffee as you run out the door in the morning. Breakfast is the key to fueling yourself for the day, and maintaining a balanced diet. But not all breakfasts are packed with the nutrients you need. In fact, one seemingly healthy breakfast option can leave you starving and derail your diet. Take a look at the common breakfast food that could be causing you all sorts of trouble.
For starters — yes, you should be eating breakfast
It can’t be emphasized enough how much a diet depends on eating breakfast. Eating something in the morning helps kick-start your metabolism for the rest of the day. Plus, those who eat breakfast make better food choices throughout the day because they are less likely to be ravenous come lunch time.
But not all breakfasts are created equal
Of course, it’s what you eat in the morning that determines how your diet shapes up for the rest of the day. While eating breakfast is essential for maintaining long-term weight loss, it’s unwise to shovel a sugary pastry or bagel loaded with cream cheese down your throat. Loading up on sugar and bad carbs will actually make you hungrier before midday, probably not what you were aiming for.
What you need to eat to stay full after breakfast
The ideal breakfast for anyone — whether you are on a diet or not — contains protein and fiber. The protein gives you energy while the fiber helps keep you full until lunchtime. And lucky for you on-the-go individuals, you don’t have to slave in the kitchen every morning to get these elements into your breakfast. (More on that a little later.) There are a couple simple breakfast staples that are proven to do the trick. But beware …
The diet destroyer
One of the best breakfasts out there, without a doubt, is oatmeal. But the prepackaged instant variety? It’s one of the worst things you can eat for breakfast. While standard oats give you fiber to squash hunger, those packets of insta-oats are packed with sugar, which will make you crash after a brief burst of energy. And because instant oats are processed to cook faster, they have a higher glycemic index, so your body digests them faster. It’s no wonder so many people complain about being hungry hours before lunch!
The better alternative
No matter how tempting the “instant” variety may be, sticking to regular old oatmeal is your best course of action for keeping your diet on track. Consider preparing them the night before to save yourself time in the morning. You can add whatever liquid you like to about a half a cup of oats, and let it sit overnight. (This guide from Epicurious.com will give you some inspiration.)
Pump up the protein
As we previously mentioned, having protein as part of your daily breakfast will help you get up and go in the morning. And luckily, there are many delicious ways to pack your oatmeal with protein. You can start off by soaking your oats in a high-protein milk overnight. The next morning you can add nuts, chia seeds, or Greek yogurt. Heck, you can even go the savory route and add egg whites with some cheese. The possibilities for making this the perfect breakfast are nearly endless.
For those busy mornings …
We understand — even if you prepare your oatmeal overnight, there isn’t always time on a busy weekday morning to sit down and enjoy it. If this is the case, consider throwing your oatmeal into a shake with protein powder or into a banana smoothie. Need something hand-held? Consider baking your protein-packed oatmeal into cookies over the weekend so you can grab one and go during the week.