What You Should Eat for Breakfast If You Want to Lose Weight

Knowing what to eat to lose weight makes shedding pounds a little easier. Choosing the right breakfast foods, however, still seems challenging. Breakfast food provides so many savory, sweet, irresistible options that avoiding bacon and fried eggs can feel like an impossible obstacle. Even convenience foods like “healthy” cereals aren’t helping you lose weight. Here’s why what you’re eating isn’t working — and what to have instead.

Why your current breakfast leaves you ravenous

A muffin on a white plate next to two pears.

Scarfing down a muffin while driving to work isn’t an ideal breakfast. | Astryda/iStock/Getty Images

If you’re loading up on cereal, instant oatmeal, and granola bars that like to pretend they’re not actually candy, you probably feel the side effects. Poor concentration, midmorning headaches, and sugar cravings are all telltale signs you’re not eating a decent breakfast. Refined sugars and foods lacking in essential nutrients will set you up for a miserable day. They’ll also increase your chances of binging on junk food later. Nutritionally, empty calories aren’t much different from not eating anything all — and that’s bad. Here’s what to eat instead.

Flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds

A clear bowl full of green pumpkin seeds.

A crunchy and satisfying snack to keep those junk food cravings at bay. | Furo Felix/iStock/Getty Images

You may have heard that seeds contain fat and calories — two things you don’t want to overdo when you’re trying to lose weight. The good news is, seeds are filled with healthy fats — and though they’re high in calories per serving, their other health benefits outweigh this downside. Their high protein and fiber content make them some of the healthiest breakfast add-ins you can find. Incorporate seeds into a variety of recipes, including breakfast smoothies and bowls, whole grain oatmeal, and homemade pastries.

Something made with whole grains

White Quinoa in a bowl on a wooden table.

A healthy and delicious substitute for starchy pastas and rice. | Karisssa/iStock/Getty Images

You might think of oatmeal and whole wheat toast as the healthiest grains you can eat for breakfast. Unfortunately, much of the bread and oatmeal Americans eat are highly processed. You can do better. Brown rice and quinoa are among the healthiest whole grains you can incorporate into your first meal of the day, says Rodale’s Organic Life. Use either as a base for a healthy grain and vegetable medley. You can also try baking your own oatmeal using whole or steel-cut oats.

An omelet

A white omelette with veggies and hash browns.

An omelet is packed with protein and very filling. | Bhofack2

Don’t shun eggs from your diet, especially if you like each day’s breakfast to be a little different. If you’re really determined to lose weight, though, a few hard-cooked eggs on your way out the door might not be enough. Instead, try adding more to your egg-based breakfast. A typical omelet only takes minutes to make, and often includes eggs, cheese, and even vegetables — providing the protein and fiber you need to stay full and lose weight. Making your own omelet gives you the freedom to experiment with new, tasty, and healthy ingredients.

A sweet potato breakfast bowl

Sliced sweet potatoes on a wooden table.

You can make your sweet potato breakfast bowl as sweet or savory as you’d like. | Margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Sweet potatoes aren’t a starch strictly confined to your dinner menu. They’re great for any day’s lunch, dessert, and even your breakfast. Rich in vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes also provide protein and fiber, and are much more filling than a bowl of cereal or a protein bar. You can create your own delicious breakfast bowl using sweet potatoes, whole grains, and vegetables. Don’t hesitate to add your own herbs and spices to enhance the flavor without using salt or sugar.


Milk kefir grains on a wooden spoon.

Add kefir to your smoothies for a boost your gut will appreciate. | Dulezidar/iStock/Getty Images

Kefir is technically a grain, but commercially, it’s combined with cow’s or goat’s milk to form something between the consistency of yogurt and milk. As a yogurt alternative, kefir provides a long list of vitamins and minerals to give you an early morning nutrition boost. Like both milk and yogurt, you’ll get plenty of protein, which combined with fiber, can help promote feelings of fullness. Fermented foods also promote a healthy gut flora, which aids digestion — another essential for healthy weight loss.

Avocado toast

Avocado toast with egg whites and pea shoots on paper against a white wood background.

This brunch favorite is actually a great on-the-run breakfast option. | Jenifoto/iStock/Getty Images

They’re that really annoying fruit you keep buying and leaving on the kitchen counter for too long, but avocados are an excellent breakfast staple. They’re especially beneficial when you use them in place of high-fat or high-sugar breakfast spreads. You can get creative with your avocado obsession — or you can just put it on (whole grain) toast like the rest of us. Regardless, it’s much healthier than butter, jelly, and most brands of peanut butter. It’s also a much smarter spread than cream cheese.