Breakfast. We’ve all heard it’s the most important meal of the day about 1,200 times, right? We know that a healthy breakfast gives us the fuel we need to start the day, yet too many of us rely on unhealthy choices to kick off our mornings (donuts come to mind). Especially if you’re trying to lose weight, eating the right breakfast can hold the key to success, since a balanced early meal gives you the energy and nutrients after overnight fasting, to set you up for steady blood sugar and healthier food choices for the rest of the day.
But eating a superstar breakfast to help usher along weight loss isn’t always easy. Is a banana and almond butter enough? Is avocado toast with a side of fruit salad too much? What’s the best breakfast to power up your metabolism? Or to refuel up after an early morning workout? For the answers, we reached out to Registered Dieticians to share their best plant-based morning meals to have if you’re trying to lose weight. Choose one and stick with it or rotate through these six healthy choices.
1. Overnight Tropical Chia Coconut Pudding from Bansari Acharya, MA, RD at Foodlove.com
How to make it: Mix one cup of unsweetened coconut milk (or any other unsweetened plant-based milk, or even water) with four tablespoons of chia seeds. For flavoring, you can add a splash of vanilla extract and, if you’d like, a sweetener of choice like agave syrup, at this stage and mix everything thoroughly. Place it in the fridge overnight to set. In the morning, top it off with fruits such as mango, kiwi. and pineapple and, for an added tropical kick, unsweetened coconut flakes. To change this recipe up, you can also swap oats for chia seeds.
Why it helps with weight loss: “This breakfast recipe is excellent for those who are trying to lose weight as chia seeds are high in many vitamins, minerals, and protein, while also being low in calories,” says Acharya, also noting that they contain omega-3s, which are an essential fatty acid providing excellent benefits for your heart and brain. “Furthermore, chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, which helps in those trying to lose weight by improving digestion and reducing cholesterol.” Two tablespoons of chia seeds boast an impressive 11 grams of fiber and clock in at only 130 calories.
2. Spiced Chickpea-Avocado Toast from Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Fitter Living
How to make it: Place two tablespoons of roasted chickpeas (you can roast them the day before for swifter prep); check out our recipe here on one slice of whole-grain toast along with a quarter cup of mashed avocado. Add fresh herbs like basil or parsley and spices like red hot chile pepper flakes or sea salt as desired.
Why it helps with weight loss: “The chickpea avocado toast is not only vegan, but it’s full of protein, fat, and fiber to keep you totally satisfied for hours,” explains Kostro Miller. “One huge struggle for people trying to lose weight is feeling hungry between meals. This breakfast option uses a three-tiered approach to battling hunger: healthy avocado fat, plant-based protein, and fiber in every main ingredient.” It’s also the kind of thing you’ll come to crave every morning.
3. Banana-Cacao Fruit Smoothie from Jinan Banna, Ph.D., RD
How to make it: In a high-powered blender, add frozen fruits of your choice (we love frozen berries for all of their antioxidants!) along with a tablespoon of cacao nibs, half a banana, and half a cup of unsweetened soy milk or unsweetened plant-based milk of choice. Blend until smooth.
Why it helps with weight loss: “This recipe provides fiber, heart-healthy fat, and protein to help you stay full while trying to lose weight,” offers Banna. “It’s important to focus on foods that provide a sense of satisfaction and don’t have a lot of empty calories to leave you hungry again quickly.” To make this shake even more filling, add a tablespoon or two of your favorite nut butter.
4. Almond Butter Toast with Berries from Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss One Portion at a Time
How to make it: Spread one tablespoon of almond butter on a slice of Ezekiel bread after toasting (or eat it untoasted, if you prefer) and serve with one cup of blueberries. You can also swap whole wheat bread and peanut butter in this recipe. For a different flavor profile, serve with a sliced banana instead of blueberries.
Why it helps with weight loss: “This is a good breakfast if you’re trying to lose weight as it’s the perfect combo of being a good source of fiber, healthy plant-based protein, and good fat,” says Young. (Nut butters are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.) The blueberries are also rich in phytonutrients, good-for-you chemical compounds made by plants. “This recipe is also simple to make, especially if you’re in a rush.” That 10 a.m. Zoom call waits for no stragglers, dear readers.
5. Better-For-You PB&J from Robin Barrie, MS, RD, CDN, CSSD
How to make it: Make chia jam by combining 16 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries (or any berry) with four tablespoons chia seeds, three tablespoons lemon juice, and one-to-three tablespoons maple syrup for sweetness (if the fruit is really sweet, use less) in a small saucepan on the stove at medium heat. Stir frequently until the fruit defrosts or breaks apart and the ingredients begin to gel together (about five-to-seven minutes). Remove from heat and place in a glass container and allow to cool to room temperature. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for a few hours or overnight for maximum seed expansion. Use for the next three-to-five days. When making your breakfast, slather the jam on an Ezekiel whole-grain English muffin and serve.
Why it helps with weight loss: “Ezekiel muffins have all-natural ingredients and are delish, while the chia seeds in the jam keep you feeling satiated,” notes Barrie. “Pick your favorite berry for the jam and try any type of nut butter you like! You will feel full for hours.” If you’re craving something sweet after dinner, this also makes an excellent healthy dessert.
6. English Muffin Tomato-and-Avocado sandwich from Jinan Banna, Ph.D., RD
How to make it: Pop a whole wheat English muffin in the toaster. Pour a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper on each half and add sliced tomatoes and avocados. A splash of balsamic vinegar adds a nice hit of acid.
Why it helps with weight loss: “This option is good for weight loss because of the content of fiber and heart-healthy fat,” offers Banna. “These nutrients help you to stay full to avoid overeating.” For more on how eating an avocado a day can help you burn fat and lose weight, read our article on “nature’s keto” here.