As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your metabolism and provides you with energy. Though, it’s pretty easy to turn an otherwise “healthy” breakfast into a calorie bomb.
Here are five common ways your breakfast may be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts.
1. Consuming too little protein or too many calories
Are you making a morning smoothie with chia seeds, flax, almond butter, avocado and everything else that’s “healthy”? If you’re adding in all of the superfood ingredients that are high in healthy fats, but still lacking in protein, it may be hard to speed up your metabolism.
Make sure to add protein powder, or at least more nut butter to your morning smoothie to ensure it has enough protein. The superfood ingredients are great, but they’re also high in calories. If you’re adding a nut butter, which doubles as a protein and fat, adding another healthy fat like avocado isn’t the best idea. Make sure you create a balance of nutrients.
2. Only eating carbs
Are you eating one small bagel with a little cream cheese or butter, and thinking that because your breakfast is only 150 calories, you’re in the clear? Think again. When you eat carbs for breakfast, you’re setting yourself up to crave more carbs later in the day.
“Carbs give you mental satisfaction, but they don’t give you physical fullness,” said Dawn Jackson Blatner, dietitian and author of The Superfood Swap. “It’s OK to have some carbs at breakfast, like a piece of sprouted, whole-grain toast, but it needs to be rounded out with protein and produce to actually keep your energy and appetite in check. Think toast with an egg and avocado/spinach or toast with almond butter and green apple slices.”
3. Eating prepared frozen breakfasts, packed with sodium
There are a variety of frozen breakfast meals on the market today. But did you know that many of these contain chemicals and high levels of sodium? They can also be loaded with lots of artificial sugars. Check out the ingredients on the back of your favorite frozen breakfast before you buy it.
“Sodium should be 20 percent or less of your daily value,” advised Blatner. “And aim for breakfast to be about 300 to 400 calories.”
Instead of buying frozen, pre-made meals, try to prepare easy breakfasts the night before, that you can grab on the go the next morning. Overnight oats, hard-boiled eggs or well-balanced smoothies are great options.
4. Juice-ing it up
Are you assuming that a cup of orange juice or apple juice is just as healthy as juicing on your own? If you’re a daily juice drinker, that eight ounce of liquid may be sabotaging your weight-loss goals. And if you’re pouring orange juice from a container it’s probably packed with sugar (most store-bought juices are).
Instead, substitute your morning juice with one glass of water and one orange.
“Skip the juice and eat a piece of whole fruit for fewer calories, less sugar and more fiber. And if you are thinking about using your juicer at home, keep it to one piece or cup of fruit and then focus on including water-rich veggies like cucumber, celery, romaine, spinach, kale,” said Blatner.
By making a few simple tweaks to your morning breakfast habits, you’ll be on the road to a faster metabolism and filling up on fuel that your body can use to burn its way towards weight loss.
5. Using too much cooking oil or butter
If you’re cooking an omelet or eggs for breakfast, you may be using too much olive oil every morning. Carefully measure out the amount before pouring it into the pan to ensure that you’re using one tablespoon of oil or butter.