My number one weight loss tip – Start your breakfast with veggies!
If you asked me how to lose weight this would be the very top suggestion on my list. I’ve honestly stopped focusing on calories in and calories out and changed direction to focus on what I am eating and how it impacts my entire health.
I absolutely love Beachbody’s Portion Fix and will give them credit for changing my breakfast forever.
Changing my thoughts surrounding breakfast by far is the number one change I made in improving my health and nutrition.
What do you think of when you think of breakfast?
What do you usually eat for breakfast? What do you see on most breakfast restaurant menus? Does it typically include VEGETABLES? I doubt it!
The typical American breakfast includes things like eggs and bacon, pancakes, waffles, muffins and donuts. Let’s not forget my personal favorite (insert sarcasm here) – breakfast cereal!
Breakfast cereals do have one health benefit I can think of – most are fortified with vitamins, but other than that most do not provide much in the way of nutrition. Many are loaded with unnecessary sugar and just plain bad for your health.
Vegetables for breakfast! Yum!
When I made the change to adding vegetables to my breakfast it was life changing. You see, I really thought my breakfast was health. I was eating things like overnight oats with chia seeds and blueberries or waffles with peanut butter or pancakes with sugar free syrup. Those were three of my favorite go to breakfasts. Although my breakfast choices prior are actually healthy – other than the artificially sweetened syrup, switching to vegetables was by far the biggest and best change I made in shedding extra pounds and eliminating my sugar cravings.
I do still have these breakfast options occasionally, other than the artificially sweetened syrup, but they are no longer my first choice for breakfast. I have completely eliminated most artificial sweeteners with very minimal use of stevia or monk fruit. Now, I try to start every morning with vegetables. So, even when I do eat the above-mentioned breakfast choices, I always include at least one serving of vegetables with it.
Why do I include vegetables?
Vegetables are loaded in fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. They fill up your belly, help reduce sugar cravings, and keep you feeling full longer.
I did a quick search for some research on breakfast and vegetables. As you can guess, there’s not a ton of research out there on this specific of a topic. However, surprise! I did find a couple articles to back up my personal findings on weight loss and health benefits of starting your day with veggies.
One study investigated breakfast patterns and their impact on central obesity. They broke the study participants into three categories – “bread and grains, meat products, and coffee” dietary pattern, the “sweets, tea and coffee” dietary pattern, and the “fruits, vegetables, and eggs” dietary pattern. As you can probably guess the third group “fruits, vegetables, and eggs pattern had the lowest rate of central obesity.
More digging, I found a research article reporting weight control behaviors of people successful at maintaining weight loss and two of the factors were regularly eating breakfast and consuming vegetables regularly. Although this article didn’t put the two factors together, it still supports my theory that vegetables for breakfast is an excellent strategy for losing weight and maintaining the weight lost.
So what else do I include in my breakfast besides veggies?
Whole grains or a starchy or root vegetable
Besides vegetables I include a serving of some type of whole grain or root vegetable. Some of my staples are cooked oats, brown rice, quinoa, amarynth or sorgum. Sometimes I’ll eat yuka root, potatoes, or rutabagas. A new favorite is Jerusalem artichoke, also called a sunchoke. I have been pretty obsessive about trying new vegetables lately.
I complete my breakfast with a plant-based protein – tempeh, tofu, beans, or chickpeas, to name a few. A note about plant-based proteins. I am 100% plant based and I do intend to write some detailed articles on getting started with plant based and reasons for reducing animal food sources to 15-20% of your diet, but for now you’ll just have to settle with more fiber and keeping your belly full for reasons to try a plant-based protein in your breakfast.
Plant based protein is not a deal breaker for a fantastically healthy breakfast. Rather, it is an opportunity to add plant-based proteins into your day. The reasons I recommend it for breakfast is most people consume meat with their supper meal. Therefore, eliminating animal sources for your breakfast protein is an easier swap.
Eye rolls now.
So, let me give you some of my weird breakfast concoctions.
Black beans, riced cauliflower with peppers and onions over brown rice seasoned with homemade taco seasoning and a dash of hot sauce. (Okay, this one is not that weird, but probably not what you think of for breakfast).
Air fried tempeh with a mix of turnip fries and sweet potatoes. Yum! You could just as easily roast these in the oven. These are one of my faves!
Ethiopian injera with red lentils and collard greens.
Oatmeal with chia seeds and blueberries paired with a tofu veggie scramble.
This is just some ideas of what I eat for breakfast now. These may sound like bazaar ideas for breakfast but changing my thoughts on breakfast has been a complete game changer for me. My day is no longer started with sugar and simple carbohydrates, but rather loaded with vegetables, fiber, plant-based proteins, and complex carbohydrates.
Akbarzade, Z., Mohammadpour, S., Djafarian, K., Clark, C., Ghorbaninejad, P., Mohtashami, M., & Shab-Bidar, S. (2020). Breakfast-Based Dietary Patterns and Obesity in Tehranian Adults. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 29(3), 222–232. https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20042
Santos, I., Vieira, P.N., Silva, M.N. et al. Weight control behaviors of highly successful weight loss maintainers: the Portuguese Weight Control Registry. J Behav Med 40, 366–371 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-016-9786-y