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an array of low calorie breakfasts

9 low calorie breakfast ideas for weight loss

03 Sep 2021 • 4 min read

What is the best food for breakfast? Here are 9 healthy breakfasts for weight loss you can try!

Why do we need breakfast?

Breakfast nutrition is important, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

The best breakfast foods will be full of healthy protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats will set you up for the day ahead and keep you full until lunch (or healthy mid-morning snack time!).

Here’s how a healthy, balanced, yet still low-calorie breakfast weighs up with the alternatives:

  • Skipping it: skipping breakfast can be easy if you’re busy, but it can cost you in other ways. Not only will you be hungry all morning (not fun!), you will also be much more likely to succumb to unhealthy snacks or go for a more calorie-laden lunch.
  • A heavy breakfast: let’s face it, most of the time we don’t have time for a ‘heavy’ cooked breakfast, and if you have work or something to do after a huge breakfast, you could end up feeling pretty sluggish!
  • A small breakfast: eating small portions of food specifically because they are low calorie will likely leave you hungry and more likely to snack and eat more. Focus on healthy foods with a good mix of protein, wholegrains and fats instead.
  • Traditional cereal: a lot of classic breakfast cereals are very high in carbohydrates and not much else – which is not going to keep you satisfied for lunch or provide you with enough nutrients

Keep reading to discover 9 of the best low calorie breakfast ideas + breakfast recipes for weight loss.

9 easy low calorie breakfast ideas + weight loss breakfast recipes

  1. Oats

Simple but oh-so effective, oats have been a breakfast staple since way back when, and for good reason(s)!

Here are some of the benefits of tucking into a bowl of oats in the morning:

A naturally healthy low calorie breakfast

Oats have a naturally low-calorie count, but don’t worry about going hungry.

As they are also full of insoluble and soluble fibre, a serving of oats in the morning can have you feeling full until lunch.

The same can’t be said about many other cereals made of simple carbohydrates, making oats an amazing choice for a filling low calorie breakfast.

Nutritious

As well as plenty of fibre, oats are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and polyphenols, including:

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B1 and B5

Fast

They’re super easy to make – 5-10 mins on the hob and you have a gorgeous bowl of creamy oats ready to enjoy – or a couple-minute zap in the microwave if you’re really pressed on time.

You can even chill out completely and make some overnight oats the night before so all you have to do in the morning is get your spoon ready!

Here’s a quick low calorie breakfast using oats if you would like some inspo:

Banana & chia seed overnight oats

This oat-y concoction combines oats, yoghurt, almond milk, chia seeds and fruit to set you up for the day, with just 308kcal – nice!

Nutritional info per serving:

Energy Total fat Saturates Protein Fibre Carbohydrates Sugar Salt
308kcal 9.3g 3.3g 9.6g 4.6g 44g 11g 0.22g

 

If you’re looking for an instant porridge that has been specifically designed to support healthy weight loss, you may enjoy this oaty offering from SlimExpert:

  1. Smoothies / Smoothie bowls

Can you scroll through Instagram without seeing some sort of fancy smoothie bowl anymore? Why not make your own?

You can have lots of fun with them – getting as creative as you like – and by nature, most of them are low calorie.

The beauty of smoothies and smoothie bowls is all the different flavours, textures and goodness to your breakfast.

If you make sure you’re including some proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, vitamins, you have yourself a very nutritious breakfast that will keep satisfied for longer.

Try including the following in a traditional blended-up smoothie you drink or a pretty smoothie bowl full of extra textures and tastes:

  • Yoghurt
  • Dairy milk or plant milks
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Berries
  • Bananas
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Oats
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Nuts, like pistachios, walnuts, almonds, cashews
  • Dates and other dried fruit
  • Coconut flakes
  • Jam

Try these smoothie recipes out:

Deliciously Ella breakfast smoothie

If there’s anyone you can trust to make a delicious yet healthy breakfast smoothie, it’s Deliciously Ella!

Check out her sweet breakfast smoothie recipe here.

Nutritional info per serving:

Energy Total fat Saturates Protein Fibre Carbohydrates Sugar Salt
380kcal 18g 3.2g 11g 6.2g 40g 27g 0.27g

 

Super low-cal and super healthy, this breakfast bowl is a simple and sweet treat.

It would be great served up with a slice of wholemeal toast topped with nut butter or with a protein shake.

Check out the recipe for this healthy smoothie bowl here.

Nutritional info per serving:

Energy Total fat Saturates Protein Fibre Carbohydrates Sugar Salt
104kcal 2.4g 1.7g 1.7g 2.8g 15.1g 12g 0.1g

 

  1. Acai bowls

Want to take your smoothie bowls to a whole new superfood level?

Acai bowls could be the way. They’re naturally low-calorie too, before you put the toppings on at least!

But you can choose to top it with fruits, chia seeds and nuts to keep the calories low.

We’re sure you’ve already seen bright purple acai bowls on your social feeds – usually served up in half a coconut and immaculately presented, but what’s so special about this trendy breakfast?

Acai berries are a superfood hailing from Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.

They’re full of antioxidants – containing even more than blueberries and cranberries.1

Acai has also been linked to preserving brain health, including memory maintenance, and learning functions.2,3

You won’t find fresh acai in the UK but should be able to buy acai powder or frozen acai purée in health food stores.

How to make an acai breakfast bowl:

1

Defrost your acai purée or add water to your powdered acai and pour into a blender / food processor.

2

Blend until smooth and pour into a bowl.

3

Sprinkle on your favorite toppings like chia seeds, granola, fruit, coconut flakes, honey and nuts.

  1. Healthier toast

Love a slice of buttery toast in the morning? Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up your morning slice to follow a low-calorie regime.

Instead of filling up on multiple slices of white toast try swapping to a slice or two of wholemeal bread – it has more protein and fibre to keep you full, so you won’t need as much.

Dairy butter can be swapped for nut butters, avocado, eggs or other toppings to make it a more nutritionally complete meal that will keep you fuller for longer.

Here’s some toast-topping ideas to get you started!

  • Scrambled tofu
  • Eggs – however you like them
  • Smashed avocado
  • Sliced banana
  • Nut butters
  • Chia jam

Banana bread with chia jam

Prefer your breakfasts sweet? Try your hand at this surprisingly low-calorie banana bread with chia jam recipe.

Energy Total fat Protein Fibre Carbohydrates Sugar  Salt
329kcal 13g 3.9g 4g 46g 29.4g 1.1g
  1. Protein powder

Cutting down on calories when you’re working out and trying to build strength can be hard, but lots of protein sure can help things!

Including a protein shake in your breakfast provides you with protein, essential amino acids, and sometimes even vitamins and minerals (depending on the brand).

But don’t think you have to chug down a basic protein shake to get the benefits; there’s tons of different ways you can use it, including:

  • Adding nut butters
  • Scattering in some nuts
  • Blending with frozen banana or berries
  • Using coconut or chocolate milk

You can even add it to:

  • Pancakes
  • Oats
  • Smoothies
  1. Yoghurt

Creamy, packed with protein and really easy to personalise – there is so much you can do with yoghurt.

If you choose a low-sugar, high protein yoghurt, e.g. Greek yoghurt (or a vegan alternative like soya), then it can be a valuable addition to your day if you’re trying to keep the calories low.

However, look out for so-called ‘low fat’ yoghurt that is sneakily packed with sugar instead – it doesn’t really make sense!

Fat and protein are the bits that keep you feeling fuller for longer, so to simply replace them with fast-absorbing sugar doesn’t really make much sense.

Here’s a super simple recipe to get you started:

 Fruit salad with fat-free Greek yoghurt

Energy Total fat  Protein  Carbohydrates
370kcal 7g 28g 43g

 

  1. Healthy pancakes

Who says healthy breakfasts have to be boring? Not us!

Thankfully, there are ways to take the humble pancake and make it into a healthy, nutritious and low-calorie breakfast, while still being a delicious treat.

Choosing alternatives to plain white flour is one of the best ways to cut down on some calories, as well as add extra protein and fibre while you’re at it.

Take this healthier vegan American pancake recipe for example.

Each pancake contains just 170kcal per portion, and you can top them with whatever takes your fancy.

And if you’re after a savoury pancake:

Green spinach pancakes with mushrooms & sweetcorn

This beautiful combination of charred sweetcorn, spinach and vegan cream cheese is super filling and a real treat for breakfast.

And at only 408kcal per serving, they would make a lovely yet healthy weekend treat.

Energy Total fat Saturates Protein Fibre Carbohydrates Sugar Salt
408kcal 12.5g 3g 17g 8.5g 52.5g 5.5g 0.5g
  1. Meal replacement shakes

If you prefer a speedy breakfast or one you can drink on the go / in the office, a meal replacement shake could be just the speedy breakfast you’ve been looking for.

They’re a great alternative to rushing out the door and grabbing a sugary takeaway coffee / fast food for breakfast – which can be all too easy if you’re busy!

Not to be confused with your standard protein shake, meal replacements are more like all you’d want from a healthy meal, but in drink form.

A good meal replacement shake will provide you with a good amount of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals all in one handy shake.

Check out our low-calorie version of a meal replacement here at Holland & Barrett:

  1. Granola – but make it healthy!

Granola has been given a bad rep, especially if you want to cut down on the calories as shop-bought varieties tend to contain lots of sugar. The solution? Make your own!

While it may seem like a chore, making your own granola ensures you can pack it full of the good stuff, like:

  • Oats – full of fibre and wholegrains, oats are one of the best ways to keep you feeling full until lunch time
  • Nuts get those healthy fats + vitamins and minerals in first thing with a sprinkling of your favourite nuts
  • Seeds – seeds are another great way to get in heart-healthy fats and other nutrients
  • Fruit – it goes without saying, but fruit is super good for you. Mix and match your favourites to get a good mix of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • Honey – why tuck into a bowl full of granola made with refined sugar when you could naturally sweeten your own with honey?
  • Maple syrup / agave nectar – vegan? Use these tasty natural sweeteners instead!

Enjoy it with a low in sugar yoghurt (like Greek yoghurt) or almond / soya / semi-skimmed milk to keep it low-calorie.

Granola breakfast cups

These tasty bite-size granola cups are 100% a cute and nutritious way to start your day.

The handmade granola cases provide delicious sweetness and crunch, while the Greek yoghurt and berries bring some creamy, tangy protein-packed goodness into the mix.

Find the recipe for these cute granola cups here.

Nutritional info per serving:

Energy Total fat Saturates Protein Fibre Carbohydrates Sugar Salt
161kcal 7.1g 11.9g 7.9g 1.8g 16g 4.7g 0.05g

 

Summary:

  • A healthy breakfast can be low calorie too, you just need to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients in to see you through to lunch
  • Use these foods and recipes as inspiration to fuel your mornings the healthy way, while still keeping it low calorie
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 3 September 2021

bhupesh-panchal

Bhupesh Panchal

Author

Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
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