Forget donuts or drive-throughs. Starting your day with healthy breakfast foods can help you maintain energy, fend off hunger attacks and lose weight. Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner and people are more successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—when they eat breakfast. What's more, people who eat breakfast typically get more of some important nutrients, like fiber and vitamins (learn more about why fiber is so good for your weight and your health).
A healthy breakfast should be balanced and deliver a mix of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber and healthy fat to keep you full and fueled up for your day.
Read on to find out some of the best healthy foods to eat for breakfast to help you lose weight and why they are so good for you (and get ideas for more super healthy foods to eat all day long with this list of 10 healthy everyday superfoods).
Pictured Recipe: Muesli with Raspberries
A cup of raspberries delivers a whopping 8 grams of fiber (that's more than double what's in a cup of strawberries and about the same amount in a cup of some types of beans). What's so great about all that fiber? Recent research in the Journal of Nutrition suggests eating more fiber as a way to prevent weight gain or even encourage weight loss. Over the course of the two-year study, the researchers found that boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories resulted in about 4 ½ pounds of weight lost.
Related: Healthy High-Fiber Breakfast Recipes
Pictured Recipe: Peanut Butter Protein Overnight Oats
Oatmeal can help you lose weight in two ways. First, it's packed with fiber and it keeps you feeling fuller longer. Second, a recent study in the reported that eating a breakfast made with "slow-release" carbohydrates—such as oatmeal or bran cereal—3 hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat. How? Eating "slow-release" carbohydrates doesn't spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates (think: white toast). In turn, insulin levels don't spike as high. Because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower blood sugar levels may help you burn fat.
Get More: Healthy Oatmeal Recipes
Pictured Recipe: Nut & Berry Parfait
A recent report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and out of Harvard revealed which foods are correlated with weight change, including the top 5 foods that promote weight loss. Yogurt was one of them! Another reason to eat yogurt: the protein in it may give you an extra edge if you're looking to get leaner.
Protein is naturally filling and takes longer to digest than simple carbohydrates. When people drank a whey protein drink, they lost about 4 pounds more and about an inch more from their waists over 6 months and felt less hungry than people given a carbohydrate shake instead. Other research in mice, found that when mice were given extra whey protein they gained less weight and body fat and more lean muscle, even when calories were the same. Whey protein is found naturally in yogurt and other dairy.
Save calories—and unnecessary sugar—by choosing plain yogurt. Add fresh fruit for sweetness.
Pictured Recipe: Peanut Butter-Banana Roll-Ups
Nuts were also among the top 5 foods that promote weight loss according to Harvard. That's probably because peanut butter and all nuts and nut butters deliver a good dose of healthy fats, fiber and protein—all satisfying nutrients. Nuts used to get a "bad" reputation for being high in calories and fat. And while nuts and nut butters are calorie dense—2 tablespoons of peanut butter has just under 200 calories, 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber—they're also nutrient dense and help you build a satisfying breakfast.
Try spreading tablespoon or two of peanut butter onto whole-wheat toast (another "slow-release" carbohydrate) or adding nuts or nut butter to your oatmeal (another "slow-release" carb) for a balanced meal.
Pictured Recipe: Low-Carb Bacon & Broccoli Egg Burrito
One large egg has 6 grams of protein and 70 calories. Compared to carbohydrates and fat, protein keeps you satisfied longer. Plus, in one study, people who ate eggs for breakfast felt fuller longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast.
And while just eating egg whites will help you save calories, you'll also lose half the protein (about 3 grams is in the yolk), which helps make eggs a powerhouse choice for breakfast. Plus, the yolk is rich in healthy nutrients, like calcium and eye-protecting antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin.
Yolks are a significant source of dietary cholesterol. But dietary cholesterol isn't such a heart-health villain anymore and researchers think that for most people eating one whole egg daily is fine.