• Alyssa Fontaine, RD
  • Jan 05, 2024

Vegan Breakfast for Weight loss:

A good breakfast can make or break your day. If you are someone who finds themselves hungry before lunch and reaching for snacks that are higher in calories but do not leave you satisfied and, you may want to take a look at your breakfast eating habits and see if there are any small changes you can implement to help you feel your best and lose weight if that is your goal. There is some evidence that not eating breakfast can increase one’s risk for weight gain; however more research is definitely needed in this area. Additionally, it is important to listen to your hunger cues. If you are not hungry right after you wake up, and you find eating breakfast later works better for you, that is okay. 

vegan-weightloss-breakfast

How can eating breakfast help with weight loss:

Appetite Control:

Eating breakfast helps to control your appetite.  A prolonged time without eating will lead to lower blood sugar levels. Lower blood sugar will tell your body to start giving hunger cues. If you are not able to eat when you start to feel hungry in the morning, you will be ravenous come lunch time. Some people find when they are really hungry, they are less likely to make healthy food choices. You might be more focused on quelling your hunger than putting together a balanced breakfast or lunch leading you to overeat. This cycle can make losing weight more difficult. 

Gives you energy:

When you are sufficiently energized throughout your day, you are more likely to make other lifestyle decisions that will help you on your weight loss journey such as exercising and preparing meals at home instead of picking something easy up on your way home.

Serving sizes:

It can be helpful to note serving sizes: one cup of granola may be less than you think so using measuring cups can be a good way to know how many calories you are consuming.

Addressing breakfast barriers: 

What is your biggest barrier to eating breakfast? Is it …

  • Feeling like you do not have enough time in the morning to make breakfast
  • Feeling like you don’t know what you should eat
  • Thinking that skipping breakfast will help you lose weight 
  • Not feeling hungry right after waking up

Strategies like meal planning and mindful eating can help you address these barriers and more when it comes to figuring out what works best for you. 

What works?

In addition to thinking about all of the barriers you face when it comes to eating breakfast in the morning, think about what works well for you. Some things that might make having a good breakfast for weight loss include:

  • Making breakfast ahead of time 
  • Packing something you can eat while you commute
  • Eating a little later (after dropping kids off at school for example) so that you know you will have more time to prepare what you would like to eat
  • Preparing a smoothie to drink on the go (see recipes at the end)

Components of a good vegan breakfast:

Protein and Fibre:

The canadian digestive health foundation explains that protein and fibre help to manage one’s appetite and help you stay full for longer. A breakfast that keeps you satiated or full throughout the morning will lead to lifestyle choices that may help you to lose weight or maintain weight loss:

  • Good protein sources and whole foods containing fibre at breakfast, can take the place of simple carbohydrates or foods that are higher in sugar or more processed, leaving you with a more balanced plate
  • Foods that are higher in protein also help you stay full for longer. This can help in a few ways:
    • Reaching for less snacks before lunch
    • By preventing overeating at Lunch

Protein

Protein plays many important roles in our bodies including:

  • Formation of enzymes and hormones
  • Maintenance of fluid balance
  • Maintenance of acid-base balance 
  • Providing transportation of nutrients throughout the body 
  • Making antibodies to support the immune system
  • The process of wound healing and the regeneration of tissues
  • Providing energy when carbohydrate and fat intake does not meet the body’s needs 
  • Maintaining and building muscle

We often think of protein as an important part of lunch and dinner but starting your day with a good protein source is just as important! 

Complete proteins

The ‘building blocks’ that make up proteins are called amino acids. Our bodies make many amino acids on their own but there are some that we cannot make that we must get from food. These are called the essential amino acids because it is essential that we get them from our diet and they are essential for carrying out specific roles in our bodies. 

Not all dietary protein sources are created equal. Some protein sources do not have all of the building blocks that we need, so we must to combine them with other protein sources to make sure we are meeting our nutritional needs. This is especially important when you are vegan, because plant based proteins usually do not have all of the essential amino acids. 

To make sure you are meeting your nutritional needs you can combine different plant based protein sources to create complete proteins on your plate. Foods that you can combine to get all of the amino acids are called complementary proteins.

To create complete proteins use any of the following combinations.

  • Grains and vegetables 
  • Grains and legumes 
  • Nuts/seeds and vegetables 
  • Nuts/seeds and legumes

Some examples of how the combinations above can be used for breakfast include:

  • Breakfast wraps with black beans
  • Tofu scramble in a whole grain wrap
  • Nut butter or nut based milk in a smoothie with banana and spinach

Fibre

Fibre, found in plant based foods, has many health benefits. There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble fibre. 

Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like material in your digestive tract. Examples of soluble fibre include:

  • Apples
  • Oatmeal 
  • Chia seeds 
Vegan-Breakfast-Nutrition

Insoluble fibre:

Insoluble fibre draws water into your stool allowing for easier bowel movements as well as increasing the bulk of your bowel movements; helping to maintain regular bowel movements. Examples of insoluble fibre include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Leafy greens
  • Bran

A diet high in fibre has the following health benefits:

  • Regulates bowel movements 
  • Reduction in diseases of the colon
  • Lowering cholesterol 
  • Control of blood sugar levels
  • Helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight 

Fibre helps people achieve and maintain a healthy weight because foods high in fibre tend to be more filling than foods with little to no fibre. This leads you to eat less and stay satisfied for longer. Foods that are high in fibre also tend to have less calories per serving. Mayo clinic suggests people “jump start their day” by choosing a breakfast high in fibre (5 or more grams per serving). A traditional way people get their fibre in at breakfast is by switching to whole grain cereal or adding unprocessed wheat bran to your favourite cereals. Luckily, with a plant based diet people tend to consume more fibre in their diets. 

Generally speaking, individuals need 0.8 – 1.0 g of protein per kg of body weight and 25-30 g of fibre per day. A registered dietitian can help you determine how much of each will meet your personal needs!

How do I know how much fibre I am eating?

You can use this chart from the university of Michigan to see approximately how much fibre is in different food sources 

Does drinking water in the morning help with weight loss?

Proper hydration is essential to good health. While you are working towards improving your nutrition and overall well being, proper water intake is important.

Taking a break to re hydrate

Benefits of drinking water in the morning:

Feeling Less hungry throughout the day:

Water, just like the food you eat, takes up space in your digestive tract and can contribute to the feeling of fullness. This is not to say water can or should take the place of your meals; however, if you are adequately hydrated, you may find yourself eating slightly smaller portions. 

Drinking water stimulates energy expenditure:

Drinking water, especially cold water, encourages your metabolism to work by warming the water up to body temperature. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism states that drinking 500 mL (about 2 cups) of water increases metabolic rate in men and women by 30%.  Part of this increase comes from the energy required to heat the water after it is consumed. If we are drinking enough water, this will contribute to our overall energy expenditure or calories burned. 

Reduced consumption of beverages that are higher in sugar:

If you are properly hydrated primarily with water, there might be less inclination to quench your thirst with beverages that are higher in calories such as juice or soda. This can be a difference of as much as 250 calories which can add up if you are consuming multiple beverages other than water per day. 

Drinking water has a positive effect on exercise:

Water is extremely important when exercising, but why? When you exercise, usually you sweat. Through your sweat you lose water and salt. Sodium is one of the main electrolytes your body need to function properly. Electrolytes help to prevent cramping during exercise among other things. Water is used as a carrier for electrolytes throughout the body which is why it is essential. 

Additionally, if you are sweating a lot and have not been drinking enough water, your muscle cells, along with the rest of your body, become dehydrated. If your muscle cells are dehydrated, muscle is broken down faster than it is built up. This makes your strength training less effective. 

Drinking enough water will leave us feeling better during our workouts so we can exercise for longer and burn more calories. 

Increased Motivation and Reduced Stress

When you are dehydrated, depending on the degree of dehydration, you may start to experience symptoms such as dizziness and tiredness. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that the release of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone, is stimulated by water imbalance. Specifically, when the amount of water lost during exercise is greater than water consumed. If your body is experiencing symptoms of stress and tiredness there is a chance you will be less likely to put a lot of energy towards cooking a balanced meal.

So how much water should I be drinking?

Like calories, the amount of water you need depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. A general rule would be about 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men; with one cup being the equivalent of 8 fluid ounces.

A way to gauge whether you are drinking enough water is to observe your urine after using the washroom. Darker urine indicates a person may not be getting enough fluids. Light yellow indicates proper hydration. 

Consulting a registered dietitian can help you determine how much water you need to feel your best! 

Seven Vegan Breakfast Recipes for Weight Loss:

Tofu Scramble– this recipe has 15 grams of protein. The addition of whole grain bread and leafy greens will add approximately 4 grams of fibre 

Silken Tofu Smoothie  – this recipe has 7 grams of protein 

Vegan Breakfast Burritos – this recipe has 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fibre

Smashed peas and avocado on toast – this recipe has 15 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre

Spicy kale potato breakfast hash – this recipe has 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fibre

Breakfast baked sweet potatoes with almond butter, banana and chia – this recipe has 4 grams of protein and 9.5 grams of fibre

Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa – this recipe has 8.5 grams of protein and 6 grams of fibre

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