Simple Breakfast Swaps

Hello everyone! I am finally starting to feel like a normal human again. This past weekend in NYC was full of late (like 4 AM late) nights and lots of alcohol and unhealthy foods. But it was also filled with close friends, delicious NYC-only foods like bagels and pizza, and wandering around the city that I used to call home. I am so thankful that I had the time there, even though it was 40 degrees and my feet are not used to walking that much. After a 3 hour delay on Monday, I finally was home (sans dog) at 10:30 PM. I got into the office early on Tuesday to get caught up, treated myself to a midday massage (lugging heavy luggage around that city will kill you!) and then wrapped up my day by picking up healthy groceries for the week and finally picking up the pup! I cooked a healthy dinner, started unpacking and even caught up on a few shows (ummm is anyone else hooked on So Cosmo?? Since it was always my dream to work there, this show had me feeling serious FOMO).

This morning I dragged myself out of bed to put yesterday’s blog post to the test- perfect day of fitness! When I just wanted to stay in my comfy, cozy bed, I reminded myself of how groggy and sleepy I would be if I did. I did a 5 minute brisk walking warm-up, a few dynamic stretches, then the interval run- whew was it hard! But I successfully did it and felt so accomplished. Since I was running short on time, I did a couple of planks and 2 sets of 10 squats holding free weights (makes it a LOT harder!) then finished with some static stretches. I didn’t have time to foam roll but I plan to tonight while I watch TV. Then I took the stairs at work! I can’t wait for my gym buddy to come back from NYC tonight 🙂 so we can push each other together. Tomorrow will be strength training- legs, butt, core, and arms!

Today, I’m going to go over some simple, healthy swaps that will really make a difference. Every little bit counts and small steps add up to big ones. Some of these swaps you won’t even notice and honestly- they may even taste better!

First things first- if you are trying to lose weight, you need to cook at home more and stop eating out as much. I think we eat out a lot but then I hear about other people who eat out 5+ times a week (not even including buying lunch everyday) and I’m shocked! Save money AND calories by cooking at home. Not only will your meal be healthier overall (even a decadent meal at home probably has less calories than a so-called “healthy” meal at a restaurant which can still clock in at over 600 calories) but you won’t be tempted by a bread basket or starter salad. Don’t be intimidated- start with basic recipes and you will pick up skills as you go.

Now some things to watch for both while you’re out eating and when you’re cooking at home. We’ll start with just the morning meal and add on throughout the week!

At breakfast or brunch:

  • First and foremost- EAT BREAKFAST. You have time. Don’t hit snooze again- don’t get sidetracked with untangling a necklace- eat breakfast. It gives your body the signal that it needs to start burning calories which gets your metabolism going and I think it helps focus me. Even if it’s just grabbing a Greek yogurt while you run out the door or prepping overnight oats the night before so you have something ready to go- do it!
  • Instead of orange juice, why not try a whole orange? Or an apple instead of apple juice? You lose all the fiber and a lot of the benefits when you opt for juice (unless we’re talking mimosas- that’s a whole other ballgame). I pretty much only drink coffee, tea, water, and alcohol at this point- caloric drinks aren’t worth it to me when they provide empty calories.
  • Can’t do black coffee or plain oatmeal? Try swapping your sugar for cinnamon. Cinnamon slows your stomach’s rate of emptying and softens blood sugar spikes. It also has many other health benefits and is full of antioxidants. But while we’re talking about it, give black coffee a try. Your regular morning latte packs more calories than you think. I always needed milk & sweetener in my coffee but once I got acclimated to the taste, it’s so much easier (and cheaper! Especially at the coffee shop.)
  • Speaking of oatmeal- eat it! If you are still eating a bowl of sugary cereal (or really any cereal unless it’s full of fiber), try oatmeal. It’s better for your heart and it’s more filling. Let’s be real- when you’re pouring a bowl of cereal, are you really only eating one portion size? (I hope so- see my blog post on measuring everything!)
  • Getting pancakes or waffles for brunch? Swap the syrup for fresh fruit like blueberries- there is SO much sugar in syrup, it’s good to cut down on it. Or try dipping your food instead of just dumping the whole container on your plate. And at home, look for 100% pure maple syrup- not the brown-colored high-fructose corn syrup stuff.
  • My NYC weekend notwithstanding- bagels should not be on your regular breakfast rotation. It is the equivalent of 5 slices of bread. Would you eat 5 slices of bread in a sitting? Eat ONE or maybe two slices of whole-wheat bread instead. Avoid topping it with butter- try something with protein, good fats, and vitamins like peanut butter or avocado.
  • Eggs- it’s what’s for breakfast! Eggs are so good for keeping you full in the morning. Instead of frying them in a bunch of grease, hard-boil them or use just a little bit of olive oil spray if you prefer scrambled or over-easy.

Try these simple morning swaps tomorrow and see if you don’t have a more focused, productive morning- and maybe you can push lunch off a little longer!

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- 2 scrambled eggs, whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter

Coffee

Mid-morning snack- Almonds

Lunch- Salad

Green tea

Mid-afternoon snack- string cheese, then an hour later a bag of 94% fat-free microwave popcorn. Then after grocery shopping, a KIND bar. 

Late dinner (for me)- Roasted Broccoli, Chicken, and Cheddar Quinoa Bake

 

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Adult breakfast or child’s dream?

Happy Monday! Just kidding. What Monday is happy? Did everyone have a fantastic weekend? Mine was the perfect mix of social, relaxing, and productive- plus I got two workouts in!

Now it’s back to the grind- but still packing lunch, writing down what I eat, eating chocolate, drinking wine, smelling my food (anyone else slightly struggling with this??), taking a break from the gym a couple of days a week and having a gym buddy, all while losing weight! What’s next? OK, this one is a controversial one but hear me out- have dessert at breakfast.

Now, notice I’m not saying have dessert FOR breakfast. But apparently there is science that backs the idea that if you have a big breakfast, which includes protein and carbs, along with dessert, you will lose weight. Now, the reason behind this is because in the morning is when your metabolism is at  its peak so you’re better off burning calories versus having dessert after dinner, when your metabolism is slowing down before bed (so you can’t have it both ways). If you cut out sweets entirely, you end up craving them (which is why we eat chocolate daily, right!?) and there becomes a cycle of addiction.

I repeat: the key here is to indulge in the morning, when the body’s metabolism is at its most active and we are better able to work off the extra calories throughout the day. Attempting to avoid sweets entirely can create a psychological addiction to these same foods in the long-term and if you add dessert items to breakfast, that can alleviate cravings throughout the rest of the day. As many of us know, if you restrict a bunch of foods, you’ll likely fall off the wagon and overindulge, putting all that weight back on. With this, you’re more satisfied and full as a result and you don’t crave sugar and carbs, causing you to cheat on your diet. This goes along with everything else I’ve been saying- in order to adopt a healthy eating LIFESTYLE it must be realistic and fit in with the rest of your life!

 

So I’m not saying to go eat a giant cupcake every morning with your eggs. But, when faced with a high calorie treat, you’re better off consuming it in the morning than you are later in the day- something to keep in mind when an office birthday rolls around! Hm…maybe I should be having my chocolate squares in the morning then??

Let me know if you guys try this out and what your results are! I for one will be eagerly awaiting the next time I get to try this.

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- 2 whole-wheat waffles with peanut butter and a banana

Lunch- 2 spicy black bean veggie burgers on a 100 calorie whole wheat English muffin with 2 part-skim mozzerella sticks as the “cheese” (I ran out of shredded!)

Dinner- Chicken with bacon, roasted Brussels sprouts and half a sweet potato with leftover garlic lemon mayo. 2 dark chocolate squares and 2 glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon