Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and do dinner like a pauper -- this old saying is at least partially backed by science. A study published in 2013 in "Obesity" found that eating a large breakfast and a smaller dinner helped overweight and obese women manage their weight. However, just because a breakfast is high in calories for satiety doesn't mean it shouldn't be full of nutritious foods.
A Look at the Numbers
The suggested number of calories to eat for your morning meal fluctuates based on who's recommending it. However, the "Obesity" study had participants eating a 700 calorie breakfast, coupled with a 500 calorie lunch and a 200 calorie dinner. An example of a 700 calorie breakfast might include three scrambled eggs, 1 cup strawberry halves, a slice of whole-wheat toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a cup of skim milk.
An Egg-Cellent Breakfast
Choose eggs over bagels when selecting your healthy breakfast. A study published in 2008 in the "International Journal of Obesity" concluded that egg breakfasts aided in weight loss when combined with a reduced-calorie diet. Researchers attributed this to the satiating effect of eggs compared to bagels, white bread and ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. However, be careful about how you cook your eggs -- frying them in butter or oil won't start your day off right. Scrambled, poached or hard-boiled are healthier options.
Aim to get a balance of carbs, protein and fat in your morning meal, no matter how many calories you eat. The protein is the foundation of the meal and helps control cravings later on, according to Bastyr University, while the carbohydrates provide energy. Stick to complex carbs found in whole grains. The fat in your breakfast -- in the form of avocado, nuts, seeds or olives -- keeps you full longer so you don't overeat at lunch. A balanced breakfast could consist of an omelet made with vegetables for carbohydrates and avocados or olive for healthy fats.
The morning rush makes a fast-food breakfast or high-sugar breakfast bar seem all the more appealing. If possible, prep healthy breakfasts in advance by putting together breakfast burritos on whole-wheat tortillas with eggs, veggies and low-fat cheese. Store them in the refrigerator or freeze them for long-term storage. If you truly need to stop at a fast-food restaurant for breakfast, "Health" magazine recommends the Protein Artisan Snack Plate at Starbucks, the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal at McDonald's or the Western Egg White & Cheese Muffin Melt at Subway. Bring your own fruit and side of nuts, olives or avocado to boost the calorie content to keep yourself full and the nutrient content high, so you're not tempted by less-healthy sides such as hash browns.