I believe there are two secrets to maintaining a healthy weight: 1) Don’t drink your calories, 2) Eat a real breakfast every morning. The first item here is simple–don’t drink soda or alcohol. These beverages have no nutritional value, tons of calories, and are detrimental to your organs in the long run. I know there’s a lot of debate over whether alcohol, in moderation, is actually good for you. Sure, red wine has antioxidants…but only a negligible amount. You’d be much better off drinking a cup of tea or hot chocolate, or eating a handful of blueberries and some dark chocolate. The only thing alcohol has going for it is that it’s a blood-thinner, so it may help your cardiovascular health. However, while you may be helping your heart, you’re damaging your liver. Whatever the case may be with alcohol, soda still has no health benefits of which to speak.
On to the topic of breakfast. Many, many studies have shown that those who eat breakfast tend to be thinner and healthier than those who skip the meal. Everyone knows that. But there are two groups of people: those who don’t care, and those who care so much that they juice kale and dandelions every morning and blend it into a disgusting power smoothie with leafy greens, soy milk, and flax seeds. I fit into neither category. I care very deeply about breakfast, but I also love food and I want to enjoy every dining experience. Sorry, but I refuse to pinch my nose every morning and repress my gag reflex while I down a spinach smoothie. I’m not Popeye.
So here’s what I consider the breakfast of a champ:
- Oatmeal (not the instant kind) with dried cherries, a tablespoon of flax seeds, a dash of cinnamon, and a teaspoon of organic raw honey
- A small cup of 100% pure orange juice
- A cup of hot chocolate with organic low-fat milk
- A complete multivitamin.
Another breakfast I love is an egg with a piece of whole wheat toast (Pepperidge Farms Ancient Grains bread is my favorite!), a handful of almonds, and a mix of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries are among the healthiest). This breakfast isn’t necessarily low-calorie, but it provides lots of nutrients and fiber, which kick-starts the metabolism to burn fat the rest of the day. Mid-morning I enjoy a cup of green tea with some lemon and raw honey (we all like to eat when we’re bored, and this is a great way to get that oral fixation without taking in any more calories). But if you are legitimately hungry, by all means eat something.