Everybody falls into two camps of sleepers — those who wish they could wake up earlier to kick the day’s butt and those who cling to the pillow, trying to sleep in just one little snooze later. Whether you’re a hop-outta-bed-and-go type or a 5-alarm chiller, the same is true for everybody — you’ve gotta kick your day off with a healthy meal! For us, that means figuring out a nutritious, quick to make, low calorie breakfast. Pair it with orange juice, coffee, tea, or nothin’ at all, but you’ve got to make sure you eat the most important meal of the day (and no, we don’t mean late night fried chicken). So how do you create a nutritious low calorie breakfast?
What Do You Normally Eat for Breakfast?
Let’s look at some traditional breakfast foods — there’s a tough balance to strike between healthy and tasty, calorically dense and excessive, flavorful and dull. Breakfast food is a pretty arbitrary concept overall, but in the U.S. there’s a clear cut path — cereal with milk, eggs, muffins, fresh fruit, oatmeal, juice, bagels, or yogurt dominate the morning meal. If you’re diving into traditional diner culture as well, you’ve got pancakes, waffles, French toast, and a whole host of heavier, sweeter, richer foods. Your classic American breakfast, we’re afraid to say, is often overly sweetened and calorically dense.
What Does Low Calorie Even Mean?
A calorie, despite the way we often talk about it, isn’t a tangible thing, it’s simply a measurement — the energy present in the food and beverages you consume. Everything we do requires the energy that we obtain in the form of calories, the fuel that our bodies run on. Although we require calories to have energy, we don’t want too many — the goal is to as many calories as you burn in a day to remain at a stable weight. This is different for everybody, but 1,600-2,000 is the general healthy range. And while you can get calories from eating anything the difference between healthy calories and otherwise is an important distinction.
Healthy calories provide additional nutritional value on top of their calorie count. This is important to note because it pretty much eliminates soda, fried foods, and processed snacks from your diet. You need healthy calories to satiate your sweet tooth or cravings, and the nutritional density to stay active and keep your body regulated.
The first building block for a healthy low calorie breakfast is sticking to foods with high nutritional value and low calorie counts.
Easy Breakfast Ideas You Can Kick off the Day With
Waking up in the morning and getting into the kitchen can be a struggle, especially if you suffer from any sort of sleep-related issues (like insomnia or other sleep disorders). If you know what options are at your fingertips without having to look everything up or feel intimidated by choosing, you can take some easy breakfast ideas directly to the bank. Build a repertoire of easy breakfast ideas that you enjoy so you can take the guess ‘n’ check out of preparing for a healthy day.
Your healthy, low calorie breakfast should have two key components:
Protein — For the long haul, to keep you satisfied through the morning, keep your blood sugar stabilized, help you regenerate muscle, and more. These are foods like Greek yogurt, eggs, or breakfast patties.
High-Fiber Carbohydrates — These provide the fuel you need for your muscles and brain to function at max capacity. These help prevent energy highs that result in crashes, encouraging exhaustion and daytime sleepiness, and keep you from craving sugar. You don’t need a whole lot of carbohydrates, either. These are foods like fruit, oatmeal, or high-density breads like rye and naturally-leavened sourdough made from whole grains.
That’s it! If you combine these two things, you’re good to go. Way better for you than your average syrupy pancakes. Here are a few combinations that we particularly like to kick the day off with:
🍳Hard-boiled Eggs w/ Olives & Cheese
What’s this all about? Olives and cheese for breakfast? Heck yes! This is how you get pumped for the day with a low calorie breakfast — one that tastes great, gives you protein and energy, as well as healthy fats to keep you going. Eat two hardboiled eggs with a 1/4 cup of olives & cheese for a healthy breakfast that comes in around 300 calories.
🍳Peach Cobbler Oatmeal
A healthy combination of a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with peach slices and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts, cinnamon, and chia seeds will help you kick off your day with ample energy — and it tastes great, especially if you get that sweet breakfast craving in the morning! All the enjoyment of eating pie for breakfast around 290 calories.
🍳Ricotta-Honey Toast w/ Turkey Sausage
For a sweet/savory mix that can’t be beat, toast a slice of your favorite whole wheat or seeded bread and top it with a scoop of ricotta drizzled with raw honey (and a pinch of salt). The honey will help balance your insulin, the toast will give you the carbs you need to push through those morning meetings, and the ricotta provides healthy fats. Add a turkey sausage patty and you can still have this in the 280 calorie range!
🍳Egg Cups w/ Spinach & Turkey Bacon
Wanna make something simple and hearty for ~300 calories that you can use to power through each morning and prep ahead of the week? Make egg cups! Minimal effort for maximum power! Fill up a muffin tin with chopped spinach, turkey bacon, and whisked eggs and bake for 15-20 minutes. You can eat TWO in the morning, toasted or microwaved, for around 300 calories. How’s that for an efficient, low calorie breakfast?