Weight loss diets are most effective when they provide balanced nutrition and help you achieve a calorie deficit at the same time. Losing weight, and keeping it off, centers not just on how much, or how little, you eat, but also on what you eat. The purpose of a weight loss diet is to go under your current daily energy requirements by a few hundred calories, and eat sufficiently and nutritiously so that you feel satiated and satisfied between meals.
Irrespective of how much weight you want or need to lose, and what your proposed timeline for losing said weight is, remember that a healthy daily calorie deficit to look forward to is 350 calories to 500 calories. Going below your energy requirements by 350 to 500 calories every day can ensure you lose 0.5 to 1 kg a week, without going hungry or feeling the urge to empty the fridge or pantry at the end of the day.
A sustainable weight loss diet is not a crash diet. You lose weight by eating sufficiently and choosing clean and nutritious foods that you can feel are nourishing you. And a good, thought-out breakfast will set a good tone to your day, and your diet. Below are 5 of my favorite breakfast recipes low in calories that are perfect for a sustainable weight loss diet, and nourishing and filling at the same time.
1) Plain oatmeal or oats porridge
- Ingredients: 50 grams of rolled or ground oats at 195 kcal, 200 ml of low-fat 1% or 1.5% dairy milk or non-dairy milk (cereal grain milk, nut milk) at 90 kcal.
Oats have up to 390 kcal (kilocalories) per 100 grams. You can easily eat 50 g (grams) in the morning at breakfast and get 195 kcal. Cook your oatmeal in 200 ml (milliliters) of a low-fat 1% or 1.5% dairy milk at just 45 kcal per 100 ml and get an extra 90 kcal. This puts your breakfast at just 285 kcal.
Optional: if you don’t like your oatmeal unsweetened, you can add 1 packet of brown sugar at just 5 grams to sweeten it. This will add just 20 kcal to your breakfast which is still very much a diet meal. Alternatively, you can sweeten the oatmeal with 1 teaspoon or tablespoon of a raw honey of your choice, but only if you are not allergic. Just remember to mix in the honey after you’ve cooked the oatmeal to preserve its therapeutic properties. One tablespoon of raw honey at 25 grams per tablespoon will add another 75 kcal to your breakfast.
What are the benefits?
Oats have 11.6 grams of dietary fiber for every 100 grams to help keep you satiated until lunch, and provide additional benefits for digestive health by feeding good gut bacteria and regulating transit time. Just 50 grams of oats will also get you 33% of you daily vitamin B1 requirements, 13.5% of vitamin B5, 7% folate (vitamin B9) and 65 vitamin B2, which is a lot. You need B vitamins for healthy, beautiful skin and good energy levels throughout the day.
Just 50 grams of oats at breakfast time will also supply 19% of all the iron you need in a day for energy and vitality, 21% of your daily zinc for good immunity, 25% of your daily magnesium for good blood pressure numbers, good disposition and benefits for muscle cramps, and over 37% of your daily phosphorus for strong bones and teeth.
Dairy milk that is low fat naturally has a good content of potassium with blood pressure lowering benefits, and provides protein for satiation, good disposition and enhanced productivity. Discover how much potassium in milk, including cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo and camel milk.
Another of the benefits of having milk in the morning is that it’s often fortified with vitamin D, vitamin A and calcium with benefits for immunity, fertility and bone density. You can also choose low-lactose milk, non-fat milk which has an even higher potassium content, or non-dairy cereal grain or nut milks for your oatmeal.
2) Oatmeal or oats porridge with toppings
- Ingredients for the oatmeal: 40 grams of oats at 156 kcal, 175 ml of low fat 1% or 1.5% milk at 79 kcal.
- Toppings option: 10 grams of raw almonds at 58 kcal or 10 grams of raw pistachios at 57 kcal or 15 grams of raw walnuts at 99 kcal.
- Toppings option: up to 100 grams of strawberries at just 35 kcal, 50 grams of blueberries at 29 kcal, 20 grams of dried cranberries at 65 kcal.
If you struggle to eat plain oatmeal porridge, then adding some toppings to it may very well save your breakfast, and diet. Oats porridge with toppings is a good option for you if your weight loss diet is not very restrictive calorie-wise because toppings will add quite a few calories to your breakfast. But you can always make your porridge with water, non-fat (skim) milk or reduce the amount of oats by 10 grams to account for the energetic value from the toppings.
What are the benefits?
Raw nuts and seeds provide lots of healthy unsaturated fats and protein to keep your thinking sharp and your productivity high. The fats and protein in nuts and seeds also help keep you satiated for longer and add balance to your meal, pairing nicely with the simple carbohydrates and fiber in the oatmeal. Fresh and dried fruits contribute with fiber and sugars for both quick and lasting energy, and healthy antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits.
3) Avocado and toast with herbal tea
- Ingredients: 100 grams of avocado at 165 kcal, 80 grams of bread at 175-290 kcal, 1 cup of unsweetened herbal tea.
Avocado toast is the epitome of a modern, nutritious breakfast. To keep it low in calories and diet friendly, limit intake to just 100 grams of avocado, which is about half of a medium to large avocado, depending on the variety. A serving of 100 grams of avocado will get you 165 kcal.
Either slice or mash the avocado with a fork and spread on fresh bread or toast, as it is or sprinkled with a little salt. Consider 80 grams of bread, which is 2 to 3 slices depending on the bread. You can have the bread fresh or toast it in the pan. Depending on the type of flour used, whether or not the bread is sweetened, you may get anywhere from 175 to 290 kcal.
Have a herbal tea you like with your breakfast to get good hydration and start your day right. Depending on how many calories you can have a day so that you are still achieving a deficit conducive to weight loss, you may or may not sweeten your tea. A packet of brown sugar at 5 grams has about 20 kcal. Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon of a raw honey of your choice.
What are the benefits?
Bread is absorbent and helps counteract morning acidity from acid reflux. If you choose whole wheat bread, you also get dietary fiber for good transit and lasting energy to keep you satiated and satisfied until lunch. Avocado is full of healthy fats to nourish the skin, the brain and keep your productivity up. Fats in avocado also benefit the heart and contribute to lasting satiety.
Avocado further provides good amounts of potassium which helps keep blood pressure numbers low (see how much potassium in avocado). Avocado is also a good source of vitamins C, E and K with anti-inflammatory benefits, and B vitamins for good energy levels.
A herbal tea is hydrating and further helps fill you up without adding to your intake of calories, although you still have some room for a little sweetener. You can choose diuretic herbal teas to help your lose water weight, or savory dried fruit herbal teas (strawberries, rose hips, or mixes) rich in antioxidants.
4) Boiled egg white omelet with bread and a herbal tea
Ingredients: 200 grams of egg white at 110 kcal, 80 grams of whole wheat bread at 175-290 kcal, 1 cup of unsweetened herbal tea at 0 kcal.[/natureword]
In a bowl, whip 200 grams of egg white until fluffy with just a pinch of salt. In a large non-stick pan, heat close to 1 inch of water and, once it starts to boil, turn down the heat, and gently pour the whipped egg whites. Cover with the lid and cook over low heat. You can also turn the omelet on the other side if needed.
Enjoy with 80 grams of a fresh bread of your choice, or toast, and 1 cup of unsweetened herbal tea. If your diet allows for it, you can also sweeten your tea with 1 packet of brown sugar at 5 grams which will add another 20 kcal to your meal. Choosing a bread that is lower in calories can also help you stay on track with you calorie intake and achieve the deficit needed to lose weight.
What are the benefits?
Egg whites are very low in calories at just 55 kcal per 100 grams, perfect for a weight loss diet. More important, they are high in protein with a protein content of over 10 grams for every 100 grams. Protein is vital for a strong immune system and is needed to synthesize neurotransmitters for the brain which regulate mood and appetite.
Protein is especially good in a weight loss diet because it’s satiating and provides lasting energy. Eating protein also doesn’t spike blood sugar levels which helps prevent food cravings that ruin weight loss diets. Eating protein when you are looking to lose weight also helps grow muscle mass – muscle tissue actually burns more calories and furthers weight loss.
Bread provides carbohydrates for quick energy and balance in terms of macronutrient profile which helps combat hunger. If you choose a whole wheat or whole grain bread, you also get complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber to keep you satiated, and regulate transit. And a herbal tea provides anti-inflammatory antioxidants and exerts diuretic effects to help reduce water weight and associated swelling.
5) Toast with low calorie jam or confiture, and black coffee or cappuccino
- Ingredients: 80 grams of whole wheat bread at 175-290 kcal, 2 tablespoons of a low calorie jam or confiture at around 120 kcal, 1 cup of black coffee or 1 cup of cappuccino with 200 ml of non-fat or low-fat milk.
Sometimes breakfast has to be sweet and quick and that’s ok, even in a weight loss diet. Because some days satisfying a craving is as important as eating nutritious food. A serving of 80 grams of whole wheat bread, which is about 2 or 3 slices, will get you 175 to 290 kcal. 2 tablespoons of a low calorie jam or confiture will get you around 120 kcal.
This will put your breakfast at 295 kcal or 410 kcal, depending on the bread you choose. This leaves room for a cup of unsweetened black coffee which you don’t even need to count towards your daily calorie intake. You can choose regular coffee or a coffee substitute such as dandelion coffee made from dandelion root or chicory coffee made from chicory root.
Or, if your bread has around 220-250 kcal per 100 grams, you can have a cup of unsweetened cappuccino made with up to 200 ml of non-fat or low-fat 1% or 1.5% milk which will add up to 90 kcal to your breakfast. That will put everything at just 385-410 kcal which is very much a diet meal.
What are the benefits?
Bread is a good option for breakfast because it’s absorbent and can help counteract morning acid reflux and stomach acidity. Because it’s bland, flavorless, bread is helps counteract have nausea from acid reflux. Choosing a good whole grain bread will also provide both quick and lasting energy, helping keep you energized.
A low calorie jam or confiture hits the sweet spot without raising your calorie intake too much, and provides quick energy and beneficial antioxidants. Not to mention it’s good for mental health knowing that you can still eat something sweet while on a diet. A rose hip jam, a strawberry jam or raspberry jam are all good options.
Coffee is full of antioxidants and stimulating, contributing towards morning productivity. If you don’t like coffee or can’t have it, you can always go for a coffee substitute. Dandelion root coffee and chicory coffee have the coffee taste, dandelion more than chicory, and have hepatoprotective benefits, diuretic and anti-inflammatory effects.
You can also make yourself a cappuccino with milk, dairy or non-dairy, and get extra nutrition, especially if the milk is fortified. Dairy milk will get you protein and very little fat to contribute towards satiety, and minerals such as magnesium and potassium with benefits for high blood pressure. Dairy milk is also hydrating and can help counteract the dehydrating effects of coffee. Nut and grain milks are great if they are free of sugar and fortified to add some nutrition to your breakfast, without causing digestive upset.
This post was updated on Wednesday / May 5th, 2021 at 11:29 PM