Boost Your Metabolism: Quick & Easy Breakfasts To Jump-Start Your Day

Monday, October 23, 2006 - 2:54pm

By Katie Clark, MPH, RD

Some things never change—including the fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The National Weight Control Registry tracks people who have lost 50 pounds or more and kept it off for more than a year. What do all of these “successful losers” have in common? The majority of them eat breakfast.

When you wake up in the morning, you wash your face, you brush your teeth, perhaps you take a shower too. In short, you wake your body up. But until you eat something, you haven’t woken up your metabolism. Start your day out right with these quick and easy breakfast hints.

Good cereal guidelines

Cereal isn’t just for kids—it’s a great, complete breakfast for adults too . Read the label on the cereal box and choose one with these following requirements:


5 grams or more per serving


200 calories or less per serving


10 grams or less of added sugar per serving


3 grams or more per serving


25% or more of Daily Value

For further information on healthy cereals for kids see the following article from TheDietChannel: Healthy Breakfast Cereal and Your Kids.

Nutritionally balanced breakfasts

You should aim to eat a little bit of fat, protein and carbohydrate at every meal, and breakfast is no exception . Try these for breakfast:

  • 1 whole wheat English muffin toasted with a piece of melted low-fat cheese
  • 1 cup of nonfat yogurt with a sprinkling of low-fat yogurt
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla filled with cooked egg whites and low-fat shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal cooked with 1 cup of skim or 1% milk and ¼ cup of dried fruit

Non-traditional breakfasts

You don’t always have to have traditional ‘breakfast foods’ in the morning . Getting a few hundred calories in within the first one to two hours of waking up is essential—and your body has no idea if those calories came from the cereal aisle or not.

  • Leftovers make a great breakfast. Keep the portions small, make sure you get some protein, and get on with your day!
  • Why not have a sandwich? Sandwiches are easy to prepare and good to grab for the road. Try half of a sandwich paired with some fruit for breakfast and the other half sandwich for a mid-morning snack.

On-the-go breakfasts

Most people who don’t eat breakfast say they just don’t have the time. But if the average American has time to watch more than 3 hours of TV per day, you think he or she could fit in 10 minutes to prepare breakfast!

However, if you just won’t do breakfast at home, here are some places to find some morning grub on the road:

  • Grocery stores. Quick, cheap and ubiquitous, the grocery store is a great place to grab a nonfat yogurt, some fruit, or a deli sandwich in the morning.
  • Convenience stores. Most convenience stores stock some type of protein or energy bar. Look for bars with 250 calories or less and 5 or more grams of fiber. If you can find a piece of fruit to go along with that, great!
  • Diners. Egg white omelets, fresh fruit cups, whole wheat toast…the menu choices are innumerable. Eating at a diner doesn’t have to mean binging on bacon and eggs. If you’re not afraid to ask for a few substitutions, you can get a healthful breakfast at almost any sit-down establishment.

Watch your breakfast portions

Most women are adequately fueled with a breakfast of 250-350 calories, and men may need more. But regardless, putting something in your stomach within the first one to two hours of waking up is the best way to start your day . And if it’s low in fat and high in fiber, even better.

So don’t deprive yourself of this most important meal. Your energy level and waistline will thank you!