“Breakfast for me is an absolute must,” says Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian and associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Ayoob always eats fresh fruit, followed by a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk. Later in the morning, he eats protein — usually Greek yogurt or a hard-boiled egg — and whole-grain cereal.
“The extra protein keeps my appetite quiet for the morning,” says Ayoob. “Cereal and milk are great, but I like additional lean protein in the morning. Sometimes the cereal tops off the yogurt, or is put into a Ziploc bag and taken to work with me as a mid-morning snack.”
Ayoob also indulges his sweet tooth in the morning — but only a little. “The milk is usually turned into my homemade hot chocolate. I’ll make it with lots of unsweetened cocoa powder, and a sugar substitute, like stevia. I’m not anti-sugar, but I’d prefer to spend my calories elsewhere when I can — like on a little dark chocolate later in the afternoon.”
Having something sweet in the morning isn’t necessarily a no-no. A recent study found that eating dessert in the morning can help dieters lose weight. The trick is in the timing: in the morning, the body’s metabolism is most active and there is still an opportunity to work off the calories later. During the 32-week study, participants who consumed a 600-calorie breakfast that included a sweet — like chocolate — lost an average of 40 lbs. more per person than their peers who ate a 300-calorie breakfast without dessert; both groups ate very low-calorie diets overall. As always, moderation is key.