Monday, January 17, 2011

How to Keep Your New Year's Resolution to Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast

X homing failure
Each year about 100 million Americans make New Year's resolutions. Most vow to quit smoking, lose weight, or save more money. About 80% of them break their resolutions by the second week and feel like failures.

It's not surprising. Making a New Year's resolution is easy. Keeping it is the hard part.  I'm here to help. If you've broken your New Year's resolution to lose weight, it's OK. What's not OK is to use that slip-up as an excuse to abandon the resolution altogether.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is to choose deprivation over moderation. Remember, you need to eat to lose weight. That's not an oxymoron. It's true. If you slash your caloric intake too severely, your metabolism will slow down to compensate, and you'll burn fewer calories. A better approach is to reduce your caloric intake by 200-250 calories per day and to increase your exercise.

Over the next few days I'll share some delicious, simple, healthy recipes that will keep you full while helping you to lose weight. The key is to have a combination of lean protein (chicken, eggs, tofu, fish, beans), complex or "good" carbs (whole grains, fruits, vegetables), and monosaturated or "good" fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado).

skinny Mexican scramble

Today we'll start with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. When you're trying to lose weight and curb your appetite, eating a well balanced breakfast is essential. Studies have shown that people who eat a substantial breakfast with a mix of healthy protein, carbs, and fiber eat less throughout the day and burn more calores.

One of my favorite breakfasts is my Skinny Mexican Breakfast Scramble. Eggs often get a bad rap for being high in cholesterol, but they're also an excellent source of protein, and if you have only one yolk (which is the source of the cholesterol), you don't have to worry. Red bell peppers and beans add vitamin C and fiber which boost your immune system and keep you satiated, respectively. Salsa adds bold flavor with few calories while reduced fat cheese will help keep you full without packing on the fat.

So, go ahead, eat up!

Skinny Mexican Breakfast Scramble
Makes 1 serving
Printable recipe.

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
1 whole egg plus 2 egg whites
2 tablespoons of your favorite salsa
2-3 tablespoons of pinto, red, or black beans
2 teaspoons reduced fat Cheddar, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella cheese
A sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro, optional
A few dashes of hot sauce, optional

1. In a small skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add scallions and pepper and saute 3 minutes, or until softened. In a small bowl whisk egg and whites and pour into skillet. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently move the eggs from side to side as they cook. When they are nearly done, add the salsa, beans, and cheese and stir well. Cook until eggs are no longer runny yet still soft. Sprinkle with cilantro and a couple of dashes of hot sauce, if using.

I like to serve fresh fruit, such as 1 kiwi and 1 small orange (both vitamin C powerhouses), alongside my Skinny Mexican Breakfast Scramble.

Here are more healthy scramble recipes you might enjoy:
Quick Egg White Scramble recipe from Dani Spies
Cottage Cheese Scrambled Eggs recipe from Lisa's Kitchen
Spiced Citrus Tofu Veggie Scramble recipe from Healthy Happy Life
Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Mushrooms from Family Fresh Cooking

Top photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Alex Guichet
Food photo: Susan Russo of Food Blogga