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Best Breakfast for Weight Loss and Long Term Health

The breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is the first dose of nourishment that the body gets after a long wait (8-12 hrs) and it provides us with energy to meet the challenges of the day. Given the long wait, breakfast is the perfect meal where we can make it as nutritious as possible. The best breakfast is the one which provides you with an awesome dose of both macro (carbs, protein, fibre, fat) and micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc). It also should enable fast natural weight loss by keeping you feel fuller for a longer time and stop you from craving for more until before lunch.

So with this in mind, I explored and experimented with different breakfast options recommended by many but could not find something where I can say “Yeah! that’s an awesome breakfast”. So I started going through lots of materials to discover the best breakfast for weight loss in the world. It took many months but in the end I was able to create one and I am very excited to share it with you. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Best Breakfast for Weight Loss

The Criteria for The Best Breakfast for Weight loss

Given the challenges of the modern world, I identified 15 different criteria a breakfast must satisfy for it to be the best. The best breakfast should:

  1. Provide us with good amount of energy
  2. Provide us with good dose of protein, fibre and good fat
  3. Provide a good dose of micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants)
  4. Enable natural weight loss
  5. Be easy to prepare
  6. Be tasty to everyone (including kids)
  7. Easy to digest with little effort
  8. Allow using ingredients creatively
  9. Stop us from craving for junk foods (e.g. chocolates)
  10. Be free from artificial sugar
  11. Be free from processed foods
  12. Be flexible to vary its ingredients
  13. Be gluten-free or really low gluten
  14. Enable us meeting our daily target of fruits and vegetables
  15. Be vegan (so that everyone can eat)

These huge list of requirements ruled out many of the breakfasts we eat every day like cereals (main reason – high on artificial sugar) and breads (main reason – gluten content). Out of over 50 breakfasts I tried and read about only one met the criteria. What it might be? I hope you are curiously wondering. let’s take a look.

So what are the ingredients of the Best Breakfast?

Below is the list of ingredients which will be used in our best breakfast. As I have come up with the recipe, I have named it Choco Fruity Porridge. However, the don’t get mislead by the name, there is much more to it.

Oat Bran is the best grain among all the grains and hence it makes sense to use it in the best breakfast and we are doing so. Alternatives: Rolled oats or cereal flakes which are low on sugar.

Non Dairy Milk like Almond or Soy Milk. Alternatives: Water, Dairy milk. Use of water will reduce the taste slightly but it is still a good alternative. Dairy milk is not the best or recommended option. However, you can use it if you prefer it badly.

High fibre and low calorie fruits like Apple, Kiwi, Pear, Blueberries. You can choose any combination of fruits as you like but keep an eye on each of their calories because we don’t want to eat too much in one go. Any fruit with less than 100 calories per 100 grams is a good option. This rules out fruits like banana and avocado (these are great fruits and you can still use them once in a while).

High Fibre Vegetables with a sweet taste like Sweet Potato, Carrot, Frozen Peas, Frozen non-GMO Corn. Many people get turned off by use of vegetables in a breakfast meal which includes fruits as well. However, as we will be blending the sweetish vegetables with fruits to make a fine paste, this option is not as radical as it sounds. This concept of mixing vegetables with fruits is not new – lot of retailers are bringing out smoothies with such combinations all around the world. More about benefits of this later on.

Nuts almond/cashew/pistachio pieces and flaxseed powder. Flaxseed must be a critical ingredient as it is the best seed out there. You can also use other nuts and seeds as you prefer. I have taken almonds as an example here.

Cocoa Powder – This probably is the magic ingredient of this breakfast. It is not only the most nutrition rich food for fibre and protein, it also provide the chocolate flavour needed to attract kids. As this is the only ingredient which makes the dark chocolate healthy adding this to your breakfast removes the need for you to buy a (dark) chocolate ever again. Yay! Happy Teeth!

Here is a guide for ingredients and its quantities

Ingredients Quantity Measure
Oat Bran 40 grams ¾ of a glass
Almond Milk 200 ml 1 Glass
Apple 100 grams 1 Small Apple
Kiwi 75 grams 1 Kiwi
Blueberries 20 grams 15 blueberries
Sweet Peas 40 grams 1 Cup
Carrot 110 grams 1 Large Carrot
Flaxseed Powder 10 grams 1 Spoonful
Broken Almond 10 grams 5 Almonds
Cocoa Powder 20 grams 2 Spoonfuls

 

The Recipe of the Breakfast

OK, We now have everything we need. Let us go ahead and make the breakfast.

Step 1: Heat the milk in the microwave or on a hob for few minutes.

Step 2: Once it is sufficiently hot, pour it into a relatively big vessel (big enough to mixing all ingredients later on).

Step 3: Add the oat bran (or whichever grain flakes) into it and mix it slowly to remove all the lumps and keep it aside for 15-30 minutes. Keep it longer if you want the mix to be thicker.

Step 4:  Cut apple, carrot, kiwi into a small pieces and grind them along with heated frozen peas in to a paste in a blender. (Note: if you use normal peas you might have to boil them before blending)

Step 5: Mix the fruit veg paste, flaxseed and cocoa powder into the oat bran paste and mix well.

Step 6: Add the blueberry and broken nuts on top and your breakfast is ready. You don’t need to blend those fruits/veggies/nuts which you like more than others and want to feel them as you eat. Note: For small kids without teeth, you can add these to the blender as well.

Choco Fruity Porridge

Why is it the Best Breakfast in the world? – The Benefits

Sure, there are a lot of good ingredients going into the breakfast but we need to look more in detail to understand why it is the best. First, let us look at the breakdown of the macro nutrients along with respective glycemic load for 100 grams and also for a typical meal.

Nutrition Profile of the breakfast

Let us look at macro nutrients in each of the item added to our breakfast. For this article, I am going to take the nutritional information from commercially available products so that it is easier to relate to and buy similar products from your local market. You can click on each of the below product (name) to know the product I have used. The glycemic load information was sourced from nutritiondata.org

Macro nutrients in 100 grams
Ingredients Quantity Calories Carbs Protein Fibre Fat saturated Fat Sugar GL
Oat Bran

100

369

47

15.1

15.6

7

1.6

1

16

Almond Milk

100 (ml)

24

3

0.5

0.2

1.1

0

3

0

Frozen Peas

100

68

7.5

4.9

6

0.7

0.1

4.9

5

Carrots

100

41

10

1

3

0

0.1

5

3

Apple

100

54

11.8

0.4

1.8

0.1

0

11.8

3

Kiwi

100

55

10.6

1.1

1.9

0.5

0.2

10.3

4

Blueberries

100

68

14.5

0.7

2.4

0.3

0.1

10

4

Flaxseed Powder

100

559

5.6

19.6

18.1

47

6.1

2.8

0

Almonds

100

592

9.5

21.2

12.2

49.4

3.7

3.9

4

Cocoa Powder

100

415

14

23

33

21

15

2

5

Source: Products available on Tesco UK website. Click on each name to know product details.

However, we will not be having 100 grams of each and hence need to look into how much each of these contribute in a typical breakfast.

Macro nutrients in a Medium-Large Adult Meal
Ingredients Quantity Calories Carbs Protein Fibre Fat Saturted Fat Sugar
Oat Bran 40.00 60.00 18.80 6.04 6.24 2.80 0.64 0.40
Almond Milk 200.00 48.00 6.00 1.00 0.40 2.20 0.00 6.00
Frozen Peas 40.00 27.20 3.00 1.96 2.40 0.28 0.04 1.96
Carrots 110.00 45.10 11.00 1.10 3.30 0.00 0.11 5.50
Apple 100.00 54.00 11.80 0.40 1.80 0.10 0.00 11.80
Kiwi 75.00 41.25 7.95 0.83 1.43 0.38 0.15 7.73
Blueberries 20.00 13.60 2.90 0.14 0.48 0.06 0.02 2.00
FlaxSeed Powder 10.00 55.90 0.56 1.96 1.81 4.70 0.61 0.28
Almonds 10.00 59.20 0.95 2.12 1.22 4.94 0.37 0.39
Cocoa Powder 20.00 83.00 2.80 4.60 6.60 4.20 3.00 0.40
Total 435.00 546.45 66.71 22.27 26.90 24.60 5.31 36.85
for 100 grams 100.00 125.62 15.34 5.12 6.18 5.65 1.22 8.47

Source: Products available on Tesco UK website. Click on each name to know product details in the above table.

Breakfast-macronutrition-profileThe last two rows of the 2nd table table shows the awesome nutrition profile of this breakfast. 435 grams of food fetch you around 66 grams of carbohydrates of which 37 grams are natural sugar (not artificial sugar which makes a huge difference). Importantly it provides 22 grams of protein and 26 grams of fibre which is really awesome coming from a single meal. It also provide decent dose of good fat along with a small portion of saturated fat. 435 grams might sound bit large for a breakfast but as most fruits and vegetables are soft and tender we can eat more of them. You can always have lesser quantities of these if you prefer.

So how does this breakfast help you to achieve quick natural weight loss and long term health? Well, most breakfasts we commonly eat today is predominantly grain based and hence have high calorie to weight ratio (around 250-350 calories for every 100 grams assuming other ingredients bring down calorie to weight ratio) where as with this breakfast it comes to 126 calories per 100 grams. This is mainly achieved by making vegetables and fruits take up bigger portion of the meal (e.g. adding 100 grams of carrots increases the total calories of the meal by mere 42 calories which is awesome). So you can consume more of this breakfast and still not have to worry about over eating. As weight loss is all about calories in minus calories out, this will indeed greatly help in reducing your weight. More details in the following section..

Breakfast-macronutrition-profile-fruits-and-vegThe other problem with grain based breakfasts are that they lack in variety of micro-nutrients like (vitamins and minerals) due to lower portion of fruits and vegetables in them. So adding a good variety of fruits and vegetables provides you with a good dose of different micro nutrients essential for keeping away deadly lifestyle diseases like cancer.  Don’t forget that we need around 9 to 10 different varieties of vegetables and fruits (more vegetables than fruits) to be eaten everyday to achieve long term health and this breakfast certainly help us with a huge head start (nearly meets 50% of our target with just one meal). We however need to ensure that we use different fruits and vegetables everyday to consistently meet this goal. With normal grain based breakfast we struggle to get more than 3 variety of vegetables or fruits and hence there is a good chance that we fail to meet the fruits and veggies target for the day.

 

Breakfast-macronutrition-profile-carbsTo get a better sense of its goodness let us take a re-look at the nutrition for 100 grams of the same food (refer to the last line of the table). You can see that it only accounts for 126 calories per 100 grams with just over 15 grams of carbohydrates of which over 8 grams is natural sugar. So it has carbohydrates which provide instant energy (sugar) and also the rest which takes longer to digest (based on the low glycemic load of all foods).
Breakfast-macronutrition-profile-fat

It provides over 5 grams of protein and around 6 grams of fibre for every 100 grams of the breakfast which is really good. As most of the 5 grams of fat it provides comes from nuts and seeds, most of it is good fat (and has only 1.22 grams of saturated fat). Obviously, there is none of really bad trans fat in it. In short this breakfast is low in calorie but high in all the good stuffs. So while you can always have less of this breakfast, having more in quantity compared to other grain based ones will not overload your system will calories.

Finally, as most of the ingredients used are really great foods and as they are used in their raw form with little or no processing, you can get the most of its nutrition. Each food used will have its own long list of benefits and hence I don’t want to expand benefits of each of them here. However, I do want to stress a bit about cocoa powder.

Cocoa powder is the best ingredient of this breakfast not only due to awesome fibre and protein it provides but also due to its rich antioxidant content. It also removes the need for us to ever buy a (dark) chocolate again and keep our teeth safe and healthy.

It is a super awesome powder and I highly recommend using it. The only problem with the powder is that it is difficult to consume on its own as it has slightly bitter taste. However, given that this breakfast is already loaded with natural sugar you can make use of the opportunity to get some cocoa into the body. It is one of the best antioxidants out there anyway. It obviously have an overpowering chocolaty flavour and hence kids will surely love it (this has been the breakfast me and my 3 year old son have been eating almost everyday for past 4 months and we both just loves it). This also means that there is no justification for you to enter the chocolate section of any shop again. All chocolates including the dark variety is bad for your teeth so why take the risk when you are getting all the benefits of a dark chocolate with this breakfast anyway?

Creative Variations Options

As mentioned before, the recipe above is one way of preparing this recipe. However you can do it many ways and you can choose the one you like. Let me explore few of the options here.

What Fruits and Vegetables to use? – As long as the taste is within your control, you can experiment with different options. If you are going to use some really sweet fruits like apple or banana and also the cocoa powder then these are good enough to overpower any other fruits or vegetables if used in moderation. I myself have tried some bland variety of vegetables (e.g. cauliflower) in small quantities without any problems. The bottom line is as long as you have a good understanding of total calories of your breakfast, you are free to add any fruit or vegetables you like as long as taste stays good and not get too ‘veggie like’.

Crunchy Vs Soft – The above recipe results in a soft paste with crunchy feel is provided by the nuts. Why make a paste? One reason is to make preparation easier as blending saves time compared to cut each of the fruit separately. Making the food soft also means that biting of the food is not as important as otherwise. In this busy world we tend to focus less on food (and more on TV, mobile, newspaper) and tend to bite less. This poor habit will put extra strain on the digestive system and could result in partial indigestion. What is the use of having a nutritious breakfast which you cannot digest fully? A soft food also helps kids of all ages as well. You can always choose to cut those fruits/vegetables which you love and add them separately for you to get a feel of them every time you have it in your mouth. I love to add roasted peanuts, cut kiwi and blueberries for example.

Final Words

I believe this breakfast easily achieves all the criteria that I set for a breakfast to be the best. While I have not taken effort to justify it here, I hope this long article addresses each point directly or indirectly. However, if you feel it fails in any of the criteria or has important shortcomings then do comment below or write to us. While I have found it hard to find another contender for the best breakfast crown you know something that might be worthy of discussion. If yes, please comment below. Finally, I highly appreciate if you can tell us what you felt about this breakfast? did you like it? will you try it or change something about it before trying it? If you did try then let us know your feedback.

Thanks a ton for your time and I wish you have an awesome breakfast from now on! 

The Best Whole Grain for Weight Loss

Take almost any breakfast, lunch or dinner a grain will be the main ingredient of it. Take any food recipe and you will have a grain or grain powder as the critical ingredient. It is probably clear that the grain is the most consumed food item in the world and will remain so for at least next few decades. Given this lion’s share in our plates, we must think about which of these grains are actually best for us when it comes to achieving natural weight loss. This article is going to do exactly that – a fact finding mission to discover the best grain for weight loss. Read on if you love to know it.

Why do we eat so much grain anyway?

The grains make up the major portion of our plate is not by accident but actually it fulfils a critical purpose – To provide us with abundance of energy which we need everyday. It also provides this mainly through the rich carbohydrates content which is the most easiest to digest of all macro nutrients. Hence most grains will have high carbohydrate content in them. The differences start with other two major macro nutrients – protein and fibre. These are required in relatively lesser quantities but grains rich in them are typically considered better grains. Fats are the last of the macro nutrient which are present in even lesser quantities.

How does a good grain help in weight loss?

This is the big question, is’nt it? So let us look at how a good whole grain help us in achieveing natural weight loss? A good grain simply make us feel fuller for longer periods and hence reduce the amount of food we take. This will eventually lead to us eating less (junk) foods which will help reduce amount of calories we take everyday. This is probably the easiest way to reduce weight. If you combine a good grain with nice dose of fruits, veggies & nuts and some decent physical activity then you will surely see amazing results in four to six weeks.

So what makes a good whole grain?

Grains have a purpose – to provide us with good does of energy and most of them do it well. However, good grains will make it harder to digest the food and hence help us feel fuller for longer. This is possible mainly with a better quality of carbohydrates and higher quantity and quality of fibre and  protein in them.

In very simple terms it is the amount of fibre, protein and complex carbohydrates which determine how effective will the grain be in keeping us feel fuller for longer and stop our craving to eat more. So this enable us to eat less and achieve weight loss

The Comparison

This article will look at top 12 grains based on its macro nutrient content and other essential factors and try to score them. Here we will be comparing uncooked, raw wholegrains (or wholegrain powder) instead of their processed versions to ensure that the comparison is fair. The grains that we will be looking at are as below (sorry, if you eat something outside of the list but do pass it on and we will check and include it if possible). Please note that oat bran is techinically not a whole grain but actually a by-product produced when processing whole oat grains into more refined ones.

  1. Barley
  2. Brown Rice
  3. Buckwheat
  4. Corn
  5. Millet
  6. Oat Bran
  7. Oats
  8. Quinoa
  9. Rye
  10. Sorgrum
  11. Teff
  12. Wholewheat Floor

Macro Nutrients

As all grains that we have considered for comparison are raw unprocessed grains most of these have complex carbohydrates but we will be looking at their Glycemic Load which is a good indicator of how easy it is for the body to digest the food. Lower the number less easier to digest the food and hence better the food for weight loss.

Typically, the protein present in most vegan foods is of poor quality and hence a measure of quality of protein present in these grains would be a good measure of the grain. Fibres are differentiated as soluble and insoluble fibre but both are important for the body. Fibre helps us in many ways one of which is achieving natural weight loss as they make us feel fuller and reduce our need to eat more.

Most grains do not have much fat in them and those which do have do not have the (really bad) trans fats and (not so good) saturated fat in them. So let us look at the numbers, the winner and the reason.

Grains Calories Carbs GL Protein Protein Quality Fibre Fat ND Score Total Score
Oat Bran

246

66

16

17

86

15

7

56

243

Rye

335

70

33

15

80

15

3

47

214

Whole wheat Floor

339

73

36

14

54

12

2

48

207

Oats (Rolled)

379

69

39

13

95

10

7

42

201

Buckwheat

343

71

37

13

99

10

3

41

201

Quinoa

368

64

36

14

106

7

6

45

201

Barley

352

78

40

10

73

16

1

36

198

Teff

367

73

43

13

55

8

2

48

195

Millet

378

73

44

11

38

8

4

37

182

Corn

86

19

7

3

83

3

1

57

175

Brown Rice

370

77

53

8

75

4

3

32

169

Sorghum

339

75

47

11

40

6

3

25

166

Source: nutritiondata.self.com (all nutritent data in grams. For more click on the name links of each grain. GL – Glycemic Load, ND Score – Nutritional Data Completeness Score).

The best Grain in the world is..

Oat Bran

The Awesome Oat Bran

Oat Bran comes out the winner by a distance. If you look at the table, you can see that even though rolled oats is a version of oats it is nowhere close to oat bran at the finish line. While it is easily available in the most parts of the world, it is not as famous and readily available as rolled oats. So next time you go shopping make sure you ask for one of these.

While Rye and Wholewheat does take the distant second and third spots they are gluten based products. Given that there is a lot of research recommending reducing or removing gluten from our plates I would not be recommend them (or even barley). Given this, my top picks are Oats Bran, Buckwheat and Quinoa but it does not mean that the other grains are bad or not worth consuming. We can consume most of the above grains but point to note is that most grains get cooked and the impact of cooking will adversely affect grain nutrition and typically result in significant reduction in fibre and protein content.

Based on the comparison, the top picks are Oats Bran, Buckwheat and Quinoa. However, it does not mean that the other grains are not worth consuming.

I did look into the micro nutrient profile of the grains and it was as impressive as macro nutrients esp. for their vitamin content. Most of the grains did not have any vitamins in significant proportion and hence I thought it was not worth the effort to post it online (However you can download excel version of all the data and scoring here). The grains did have some decent amount of minerals in them and below is how each stack up.

Grains

Ca

Fe

Mg

Ph

K

Na

Zn

Cu

Mn

Barley

29

2.5

79

221

280

9

2.1

0.4

1.3

Brown Rice

23

1.5

143

333

223

7

2

0.3

3.7

Buckwheat

18

2.2

231

347

460

1

2.4

1.1

1.3

Corn

2

0.5

37

89

270

15

0.5

0.1

0.2

Millet

8

4

114

285

195

5

1.7

0.7

1.6

Oat Bran

58

5.4

235

734

566

4.1

3.1

0.4

5.6

Oats (Rolled)

52

4.3

138

410

362

6

3.6

0.4

3.6

Quinoa

47

4.6

197

457

563

5

3.1

0.6

2

Rye

33

2.7

121

374

268

6

3.7

0.5

2.7

Sorghum

28

4.4

0

287

350

6

0

0

0

Teff

180

7.6

184

429

427

12

3.6

0.8

9.2

Wholewheat Floor

34

3.9

138

346

405

5

2.9

0.4

3.8

Source: nutritiondata.self.com ( All mineral are denoted by respective periodic table symbols & all nutritent data in milligrams. For more click on the name links of each grain in the above table.)

Verdict

Grains currently take up the elephant’s share in our plate. The best grains are whole grains with reduced glycemic load and very good dose of protein and fibre. Such whole grains help us feel fuller for longer and reduce our craving to eating more and indirectly and naturally help in excess weight loss. Oat Bran, Buckwheat and Quinoa came out as the best grains in the comparison.

However, grains are not the best source for micronutrients primarily vitamins and hence there are number of studies which suggest reducing the amount of grain intake and increase vegetable portion in our plates. Vegetables not only provide us with all essential macro nutrients, they are also much richer source of micronutrients i.e. vitamins and minerals. Given that most of them have lesser calories we can in fact consume more of them. The main thing we need to do is to eat a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.