The importance of a good breakfast for weight loss

One of the most common weight loss tips is about the importance of having a good breakfast every morning. Despite that many people still do not appreciate the benefits of having a protein rich breakfast.  In this article we explain the role of breakfast in losing weight and provide you with 5 more tips on how to control your hunger throughout the day and also how to make small changes to your everyday diet and enjoy a healthier life.

Question: Hi. I am 16 years old, and in High school. i get up at 5:15 am every morning Monday through Friday. I usually eat breakfast at 6am. My lunch is at 11:30am, and i ALWAYS get so hungry, i end up eating my lunch in class!!! Are there some kind of foods i should eat for breakfast to help me stay more full longer? All i have for breakfast is a buttered bagel and a Cliff bar. Please help. I really need to lose weight. 5 pounds a year is NOT cutting it.

Hello and thank you for your question and apologies for any delays in answering.

I must say that you do wake up very early and I am not surprised you are hungry by 11.30 am as it is a long time since 6 am. First of all you are still quite young and developing. Also from what I can see you wake up early and have a busy day at school. So you do need to make sure that you eat adequately and taking all nutrients. My first advice to you would be, don’t opt for low calorie, fad diets, you do need to look after yourself. Bellow I have summarised a few weight loss tipsfor your enquiry.

1. Protein based breakfast. Having a buttered bagel and a cliff bar will provide you with loads of calories and energy but to be honest there is not much nutrition to it. Basically what you are doing is throwing loads of sugar into your body 1st thing in the morning. You probably feel a bit bloated and really hyper for a while and then feel hungry, irritable burned out and a feeling that if you don’t eat you will drop, kill someone or cry. If you look into my article ‘Diet tips: carbohydrates and weight loss’ you will see in more detail why that happens. Now what can you do instead? Bin the clif bars highly recommended. Have a protein based breakfast. This is probably one thing that I recommend to everybody. Examples of protein breakfast are:

  • Eggs (scrambled, boiled, omelette, not so good fried though),
  • bacon or sausages (grilled not fried and try to aim for low fat sausages and of good quality either wise you could be eating just fat),
  • Ham
  • Cheese, yogurt
  • If more taste adventurous smoked salmon,  a tin of tuna (or fresh grilled)

You do have a busy day so do have a good breakfast. You could have 2 boiled eggs with a slice of toast and a couple of slices of bacon or ham. In terms of calories you may be eating the same amount as before but in terms of nutrition is much healthier and better for you. Also protein does make you feel fuller for longer and you will find that you will not be as hungry through the morning. I must warn you though that your body is used to eating high density carbs in the morning so it will miss it when you take it away and replace it with protein. In result you may have cravings of carb foods such as sugar, bread etc. Also you may feel tired at the beginning. Is normal, your body is not used to it and it needs time to adjust. I suggest starting on the w/end so you give yourself time to get used to the changes a little bit before going to school. For your body to adapt completely will take approximately 2 weeks but after the first few days you should feel more settled. In the long term you will feel more energetic and less bloated.

2. Have a handful of dried fruit and nuts mid day. If you do get sugar craving or you do feel peckish before lunch a handful of nuts or a fruit can help to curb it. Nuts are very nutritious and have a lot of the essential oils. However, don’t eat too many as they are rich in their calorie content. A handful should be enough. Alternatively have a fruit, such a banana. Bananas can be rich in sugar but I do find that they are very filling and one banana will not tip the scales over.

3. If you want to continue the good work through the day opt for healthy lunch and dinner. Avoid sandwiches, fried or processed foods through the day. You can look at my articles and previous answers I have given such as Diet Tips: The role of proteins in weight loss to get ideas of how to eat healthier and lose weight safer and healthier. Some suggestions would be to eat more salads and meat and eat fewer carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, potatoes, rice etc. You are young and you do need the energy and nutrition. Fruit and veg are full of nutrients so it is important to include them in your daily diet as much as possible. They also have less calories and help in losing weight or just not gaining weight. Don’t need to starve yourself or become obsessed with weight and calorie counting or watch everything you eat. Enjoy yourself as well.

4. Make small changes in your everyday diet. As I do not have more details on your food intake through the day I will give some general examples of how to make some changes. For example have a small bowl of pasta with loads of salad or veg instead of a large bowl of just pasta and bread. Have yogurt and fruit instead of a piece of cake or desert. Avoid drinking too many fizzy and sugary drinks such as coke, milkshakes hot chocolates etc; avoid snacking through the day. Have a big lunch instead of loads of little meals and snacks. Cut down on sugars, starches and carbs have loads of veg. salads, and proteins. I would not go to say have half fat milk or cheese as you are young and need it but do avoid as much as you can trans fats which can be found in fried food, some vegetable oils, processed foods and ready meals, crisps etc.(see also the ultimate list of fat burning foods)

5. Exercise. Will give you energy, increase calorie expenditure and is good for health. You are busy so you don’t need to do too much or you could be overloading yourself. Maybe walk to school and back if in walking distance instead of taking the bus. If time is tight then just do some activities in the w/ends such as go for a cycle, a run, clean the house or wash the car, go roller-skating with your friends. Alternatively just spend 20-30min in the house when you have some time to do a few exercises. If you are taking on exercises to do by yourself always make sure you know how to do them correctly and not injure yourself. Always stick to your ability and fitness level and recommended would be to get advice from a fitness professional. This could just be your PE teacher at school.

6. Finally other things that do help are having plenty of rest and sleep. It is very important for your age, health and development and for weight. If you do take on some exercise have one day at least that you do not exercise and rest.

Always consult a medical professional if you have any concerns or health complaints or have any medical conditions before making any changes in your diet or fitness.

About the author

Hara Hagikalfa

Hara Hagikalfa completed her BSc(Hons) in Health and Exercise Science, Sports Science and Medicine. She is a certified Personal Trainer and Pilates instructor. You can learn more about Hara and connect with her on Facebook

1 Comment

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  • You know there are so many different view points out there it is hard to decide which route to take! I think your eating times are great a high protein breakfast is important in the morning that is for sure. Yes, what you eat and how much you eat matters. Your body is telling you it is hungry and sometimes that can play tricks on you depending what type of diet you are on. Nothing wrong with having a healthy snack (a snack only) before lunch to get you through. Good Luck!!