I ask all of my clients to keep a food journal. It makes them more aware of what they are eating and can highlight for them eating behaviors that they can work to improve. One thing I see again and again is that when people eat a protein-centered breakfast as opposed to a carbohydrate-centered breakfast or no breakfast at all, they are satisfied for longer and they tend to make better food choices throughout the day. Some studies have found that people who eat eggs first thing in the morning tend to eat less throughout the day. I encourage my clients that are looking to lose weight to include a good source of protein or healthy-fat (such as eggs or egg whites, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, salmon, etc.) and see how it affects their appetite throughout the day.
Many of the typical American “breakfast foods” are primarily made up of carbohydrates….cereal, toast, pancakes, English muffins, fruit, yogurt, milk, juice, etc. While these foods may fill you up quickly they tend not to keep you full. If you enjoy eating these breakfast foods start by making sure you are choosing a food that is either high in fiber or protein. For example instead of regular yogurt try switching to Greek yogurt or instead of instant oatmeal try using steel cut oats. This tends to have a better impact on blood sugar, keeping you full longer. Secondly, I recommend paring foods that are higher in carbohydrate with a protein rich food. So instead of toast with butter try toast with a natural peanut butter or toast with an egg.
We each have unique genes, and we all respond differently to foods. A meal that will hold one person over for hours and hours may leave another person hungry an hour after they eat. That is where a food journal can help you create an individualized meal plan that will work for you. Track what you are eating and when and how hungry you are before the meal or snack using a scale of 1 to 10. Look for meals and snacks that keep you full and satisfied longer and limit the number of meals that leave you looking for more. Most importantly, always remember, breakfast is the best way to start your day!