Out of all the meals during the day, breakfast is possibly the most conducive to weight loss. This is because most people tend to consume less food during their first meal of the day, in comparison to lunch or dinner. Moreover, healthy and low-calorie options such as fresh fruits and whole grains are typically present in breakfast menus.
Nevertheless, this does not imply that breakfast is exempt from weight gain pitfalls. If you are having difficulty achieving or sustaining a healthy weight, it may be worth examining what you consume after waking up. Several breakfast practices could potentially undermine your weight loss goals.
Take a look at these 20 behaviors that nutritionists warn could result in unintended weight gain. Keep reading for some helpful insights, and don’t forget to check out the Best Healthy Breakfast Foods for Weight Loss.”
Eating more could be the initial move towards weight loss during breakfast! According to Steph Magill, MS, RD, CD, FAND, not eating breakfast or having an unbalanced one that lacks sufficient fiber, protein, and moderate carbs could quickly lead to weight gain. “Fiber and protein help give you that full feeling, so you’re less likely to reach for snacks an hour after you eat,” she explains.
Magill references studies that demonstrate that individuals who eat breakfast in the morning are less likely to snack excessively in the evening. Therefore, there’s no need to hold back when it comes to consuming your morning meal!
Coffee Contains a Lot of Calories
When it comes to weight loss, it’s essential to assess your morning coffee routine. Are you sipping on a basic cup of Joe, or indulging in a high-calorie, frothy beverage? “Incorporating elaborate coffee drinks or creamers and other additives into your coffee without keeping track of the calories can result in weight gain since the calories aren’t being accounted for and can cause a calorie excess,” explains Nicole Swingle, RD. To prevent this, Swingle advises treating yourself to fancy coffee on occasion rather than making it a daily habit.
Just Drinking Coffee
We understand that there are times when you may not want a complete breakfast first thing in the morning, or a busy schedule may prevent you from sitting down for a nutritious meal. However, a cup of coffee, even with cream, does not provide the necessary nutrients to energize your morning, leaving you feeling hungry. To prevent sudden hunger pangs and the subsequent consumption of whatever is available, it’s best to incorporate some protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats into your liquid breakfast.
Grabbing Breakfast at The Convenience Store or Station
It can be challenging to find a healthy breakfast option at most convenience stores or gas stations. Therefore, if possible, it’s best to avoid these locations for your morning meal.
According to Melissa Altman-Traub MS, RDN, LDN, opting for a muffin and latte at a convenience store could lead to weight gain if you consume more calories than you require throughout the day. “A muffin could contain 500 calories or more with 50 grams of added sugar, and a flavored grande latte may contain 350-400 calories with at least 30 grams of added sugar, which is more added sugar than most individuals should consume in a day,” she cautions.
Going Out For a Sit-Down Breakfast
Indulging in a sausage-and-egg combo at a restaurant once in a while may not hinder your weight loss goals, but making it a regular habit could lead to additional pounds. Restaurant meals tend to have larger portions, higher calorie counts, and excessive levels of fat, which can have adverse effects on your health.
Don’t read labels
It may come as a surprise, but some granolas have the same amount of added sugar as a bowl of ice cream, and a protein bar can have more calories than a candy bar. Simply because a product is marketed as “healthy” does not necessarily mean that it is. Therefore, when selecting breakfast foods, it’s advisable to read the labels carefully. You may be astonished by what you discover.
Eating Straight From The Cereal Box
While mornings can be hectic, if you find yourself grabbing handfuls of cereal directly from the box for a quick breakfast fix, it might be time to set your alarm a little earlier. It’s difficult to determine the serving size of cereal without a bowl for reference. After consuming several handfuls, you may end up consuming more calories than you intended.
Going All in on Carbs
You may have heard that there are good carbs and bad carbs when it comes to weight loss. According to Amanda Liptak, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and CEO of Nutrient Rich Life Nutrition Coaching, breakfast favorites like pancakes, bagels, and oatmeal are typically carb-heavy when prepared traditionally. They lack the fiber and protein necessary to regulate blood sugar, resulting in hunger pangs sooner.
To stabilize blood sugar and promote satiety, try adding a protein source such as lean chicken sausage or pistachios to a carbohydrate-heavy breakfast. For something new and exciting in the mornings, try Applegate Naturals’ chicken and sage breakfast sausage or Wonderful Pistachios’ fun variety of flavors.
Eating on Your Car
Mindful eating can be challenging when you’re in a hurry and eating breakfast on the go while driving. The distractions of driving can divert your focus from your food, leading to mindless eating and overconsumption. It’s best to eat breakfast at a time and place where you can give it your full attention. Research has demonstrated that mindful eating can be an effective strategy for weight loss.
Wrong Smoothie Ingredients to Like
When it comes to smoothies, they can be a great way to add extra fiber and nutrients to your breakfast. However, it’s important to pay attention to the macronutrient balance in your blender. “Choosing a fruit smoothie over a protein-rich smoothie can lead to weight gain, as a fruit smoothie mainly consisting of carbohydrates without healthy fats and protein will not keep you feeling full,” explains Swingle.
Looking for a protein-rich base for your smoothie? Consider trying Vega’s plant-based Real Food Smoothie protein powder, which provides 20 grams of protein and includes ingredients like spinach and oats for added nutrition.
Drink Fruit Juice
While fruit juices may provide essential nutrients, they are not satiating enough to fill you up, and they often contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. It’s best to keep your juice portions moderate during breakfast to get the necessary vitamins and minerals while limiting your calorie intake.
Eating too Much After a Workout
Perhaps you have had an intensive early morning workout, but don’t let your calorie-burning efforts go to waste by indulging in a calorie-laden breakfast. Instead of consuming excess calories after your exercise session, eat breakfast before the workout and have a small snack afterward.
Adding Pastry to Your Order
Kimberly Wiemann, MS, RDN, advises against adding a sweet start to your day from coffee shops, as that donut or pastry could quickly add several hundred extra calories, leading to several pounds of weight gain per month. Instead, opt for a better-for-you option like a fruit and yogurt parfait or egg white wrap when you’re on the go and visiting coffee shops or fast-food drive-thrus.
Make Your Breakfast low fat
Fat-free craze of the 80s and 90s may have done more harm than good for weight loss, but its impact still remains. While attempting to shed pounds, you may be tempted to cut out fats from your breakfast altogether. However, hold on! Fat is an essential macronutrient that provides a sense of fullness and performs several crucial functions in your body. Incorporating healthy fats from foods like smoked salmon, eggs, and yogurt in your breakfast is highly recommended.
Doing Your Overnight Oats Wrong
According to Michelle Saari MSc, RD, founder of The Dietitian Prescription, overnight oats have become a popular breakfast choice, but they may contribute to weight gain. This is because many overnight oat recipes include high-calorie ingredients like nut butters, maple syrup, and crushed nuts. While these ingredients are nutritious, they can be high in calories in small portions.
To make your overnight oats more weight loss-friendly, Saari recommends measuring out your ingredients to increase your awareness of how many calories you’re consuming. Additionally, try to achieve a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber in your oatmeal.
Eating Early in the Day
If you wake up before the sun, resist the urge to have breakfast right away. According to research, consuming breakfast immediately after waking up can lead to weight gain. You may also end up eating an unplanned fourth meal if you feel hungry later in the morning. Instead, try delaying your breakfast by an hour or two to prevent consuming unnecessary calories before lunch.
Eating and Scrolling
Eating while scrolling through social media or checking emails has become a common habit, but it can lead to overeating and weight gain. According to Moushumi Mukherjee, MS, RDN, distractions like watching TV or using your phone while eating breakfast can cause mindless consumption, leading to larger portions and excess calories. To promote mindful eating and avoid weight gain, try disconnecting from electronic devices during meal times.
Eat Only Protein Bars
According to Ashley Harpst, RDN, a sports dietitian at Go for the Gold Nutrition, protein bars are intended to be quick and easy snacks rather than complete meals. If you regularly opt for a protein bar for breakfast, especially a smaller one, you may end up feeling hungrier than anticipated. “Many protein bars aren’t filling, and those who regularly substitute them for full meals may overeat snacks throughout the rest of the day,” she warns.
Can’t be Hydrating
If you want to shed some weight, remember to drink enough water, as it can help reduce your appetite and increase your metabolism. Thus, skipping a glass of water in the morning can hinder your weight loss efforts. Consider making water your weight loss companion during breakfast by filling up a bottle that you can carry with you wherever you go.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
The last habit we’ll discuss isn’t directly related to breakfast but rather, what comes before it. Research shows that insufficient sleep can increase your risk of weight gain and obesity. To improve your sleep quality, establish a consistent bedtime routine, create a relaxing environment in your bedroom, and avoid screens before going to bed. By doing so, you’ll wake up feeling rested and ready to start your day with a healthy breakfast.