Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Healthy Habits: Favorite Breakfast Recipes Under 300 Calories

One of the most important tips I can give to help you along your weight loss journey is: DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST!! Eating within an hour of waking in the morning (ideally 30 min) jump starts your metabolism. This means you will burn more calories throughout the day. Not eating breakfast sends your body into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy. The key is to put something (fuel) in your body that can be converted to energy and metabolized slowly. Sugar will metabolize quickly giving you a burst of energy but won't last very long. The right kind of carbs, fat and protein will give you sustained energy over several hours.

Interesting thing about sugar. If you eat sugar, your body will crave sugar. Then it's an ongoing battle with yourself, trying not to eat the 'bad stuff'. If you don't believe me, try this experiment. Eat sugar early in the day and then pay close attention to what you 'want' to eat for the rest of the day. Then take a day and make one of the breakfast recipes below and see what your body is craving for the rest of the day. Obviously this doesn't mean that you won't want sugar any more. But you will find that if you can go for about three days without sugar your body stops craving it. Fresh, sweet fruit becomes sugar to you and you will truly notice the intense sweetness of things like fresh pineapple or oranges and grapefruits. You will start to crave the natural sugars in fruit for energy.
I always drink a 24 oz bottle of water first thing after waking in the morning. Then I eat about a cup of fresh fruit giving me carbs for energy and jump starting my metabolism. That's enough food to exercise on; you shouldn't exercise on an empty stomach, but definitely don't want a full stomach. After exercise I will make one of the breakfasts below.

These are three of my favorite breakfast recipes. All are under 300 calories!!

Fresh Banana Nut Oatmeal  (267 calories)
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Skim Milk
1/2 Cup Quaker Rolled Oats (NOT instant)
1/2 Ripe Banana
3 Walnut halves

Put water, milk and oats in small sauce pan on stove. Turn stove on low-med. Stir frequently as it heats, oats will cook (approx 3-4 min) and start to thicken. Do not turn on high, do not boil.

Meanwhile in cereal bowl, mash 1/2 banana with fork. Break walnut halves into small pieces on top of banana.

When oats are cooked pour into cereal bowl over banana. Mix with spoon.

Chocolate-Strawberry Smoothie    (285 Calories)
1/2 Cup Skim Milk
1/2 Cup Cold Water
1 tsp Ground Flax Seed
1 Scoop Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
1/2 Ripe Banana
5 Large Frozen Strawberries

Put in Blender in order above and blend until smooth. If you like it thicker, add one or two more strawberries.(add 7 calories for each strawberry you add)

Protein Bowl    (234 Calories) 
This recipe makes 4 servings: 234 calories per serving
(This is a variation of Jillian Michael's Breakfast Bowl)
2 Cups Fat Free Plain Yogurt
2 Cups Fat Free Cottage Cheese
3 Tblsp Sliced Almonds
1/2 Cup Quaker Rolled Oats (NOT instant)
2 tsp Vanilla

1/2 Cup Fresh Blueberries OR Blackberries OR Strawberries (Can also use frozen berries-let thaw first)

Combine yogurt, cottage cheese, almonds, oats & vanilla in a bowl. Mix. Divide into four-1 cup servings in four storage bowls with seals. Put in fridge. Needs to sit overnight or at least four hours for oatmeal to "cook" as it absorbs moisture.

Put fruit on top of protein bowl at the time you are eating it.

There you go...three great breakfasts that are quick and easy or make ahead, super nutritious and great tasting! Enjoy!

When do you have the most difficulty creating a healthy meal; when fixing breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Are you most interested in changing your eating habits or your exercise habits right away? Or both?


  1. Question: I know the difference between regular oatmeal and instant is that in the instant it is 'cracked' instead of whole, but what difference does that really make? Do you know?
    And to answer your question, lunch is the hardest meal for me. Breakfast is easy because I usually scramble 1 egg and 1 egg white and have a glass of milk, or have instant oatmeal and milk. Dinner is easy because I'm mass producing for the family and I have my husband's dietary needs to think about as well. (He's lost 32 lbs now, on a sidenote). But for lunch it's just me, the pre-schooler and the 12-yr-old who fixes her own lunch, so I usually do some kind of a sandwich or we eat out while running errands. I'd love some light, quick lunch ideas for things that I can keep on hand. Any ideas?

  2. I like it. Very informative and interesting. A good way to jump start. My hardest time to eat healthy is every meal. lol I am going to try your sugar test. Hi-My name is Carolyn. I am a sugar addict. Ill let you know how it goes.

  3. Shell...there are really two reasons for raw tolled oats instead of instant. 1) Any refining process used to make it instant breaks down the original whole (perfect) grain. The original whole grain is always more nutritious (short answer). 2)Most instant oatmeal in packets adds sugar. Check the box it comes in to see if it has sugar. Don't wonder why you are craving sugar all day if you eat these packets for breakfast. :)
    If you can find an instant oatmeal with no sugar added, that is an acceptable substitute if you absolutely don't have time to make raw oats. As a caveat...I can make that banana nut oatmeal from walking in the kitchen to sitting down to eat it in 5 minutes. So, it really doesn't take much time at all.
    Also, If I make a smoothie or eggs for breakfast, sometimes I will make the oatmeal recipe for lunch.

    Carolyn...I'm with you on the sugar. If I eat it, then I keep craving it. I have to get myself off of it for several days then I know longer crave it. Let me know how the test goes!!

  4. Shell...I will address lunch ideas soon. However, if you have eggs for breakfast, try one of the breakfast recipes for lunch!

  5. Nice Marianne. I just found this through the link you left for Debbie. Sounds like you are doing well. I can't wait to put this stuff on my shopping list and try.

  6. Thanks Barb! I welcome feedback and questions.


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