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A healthy breakfast contains carbohydrates, protein, dairy and fat.
Many people on weight-loss diets skip breakfast thinking that it will help save calories and lead to weight loss. In reality, it does the opposite, says the Dairy Council of California. Skipping breakfast increases your hunger throughout the day, which can lead to overeating, cravings for unhealthy foods and weight gain. Eating a healthy breakfast before you begin your day not only provides you with important nutrients, but also jumpstarts your metabolism and contributes to weight loss, according to MayoClinic.com.
Breakfast and Weight Loss
Eating breakfast helps reduce your hunger later in the day, preventing you from feeling ravenous and binging on whatever unhealthy snacks you can get your hands on. When you skip breakfast, your body enters a period of prolonged fasting, during which your insulin response increases and your body stores fat at a higher rate. Over time, this can increase your risk of obesity, according to MayoClinic.com. According to a study published in "PLoS One," adolescents who ate breakfast at least five times per week had lower body weight, fat mass, waist circumference and body mass index than those who rarely ate breakfast. This led researchers to conclude that skipping breakfast is related to higher body fat percentage and risk of abdominal obesity.
The benefits of breakfast don't end with weight loss. Eating breakfast helps you concentrate better throughout the day and makes you more alert. When you eat breakfast, you are more likely to meet your daily nutrient recommendations, as well. Eating breakfast has also been linked to improved hand-eye coordination, better problem-solving skills and increased physical activity throughout the day, according to MayoClinic.com.
Not all breakfast choices are nutritionally equal. The key to a healthy breakfast is including foods from all the food groups to make a balanced meal. Doing so will not only optimize the health benefits of your breakfast, but it will also help you feel full longer, making you less likely to overeat. Incorporate whole grains, such as whole-wheat bagels, oatmeal or bran muffins, as well as lean proteins, like all-natural peanut butter, eggs or chicken. Include a low-fat dairy product, like yogurt, skim milk or cottage cheese and complete the meal with some fruits and/or vegetables. Examples of balanced breakfasts include oatmeal topped with blueberries and a handful of almonds, an egg omelet with mixed vegetables and low-fat cheese and a smoothie made with fruit, leafy greens, yogurt and flaxseed or wheat germ.
Because of its convenience and almost nonexistent preparation time, dry cereal is a go-to breakfast choice for many people. While breakfast cereals can be a healthy weight-loss breakfast, you have to choose carefully because some cereals are loaded with sugar and calories. Look at nutrition labels and choose cereals with 120 or fewer calories per serving. Pick a cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, but aim for one with 5 grams or more. Choose cereals that don't have a lot of added sugar -- less than 5 grams per serving.