"I make my kids anything in the morning, because ironically, I know how important it is to eat breakfast." - Dana Bacardi: Age 40, Nonprofit Development Director, Boulder, Colo.
Over the years, Dana has seen some pounds creep on: "I remember the big bar on the doctor's scale and the time it went to a certain number. I was sick." So now that she's watching her intake, breakfast has gone on the back burner because it's an easy place to trim the calorie budget. But she's open to the idea: "Bowl and spoon is preferable—so I can eat quickly, throw the bowl in the sink, and head out."
Dana shouldn't deprive herself, especially not as a weight-control tactic. Remember that if you skip breakfast, you may go as many as 17 hours without eating, and this extended fasting can cause your body to increase fat storage and lead to weight gain. Studies show that regular breakfast-eaters tend to weigh less than those who skip the morning meal.
- Dana makes lunch for her kids every day, so it should be easy to keep the sandwich assembly line going for her own breakfast sandwich on whole-grain bread, tortillas, or pita: peanut butter and banana with honey; ham and cheddar; or hummus and cucumber slices.
- Make homemade fro-yo. Mix a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a drizzle of honey into a large container of fat-free or low-fat plain Greek yogurt, and freeze in an ice-cream maker. Enjoy a scoop for breakfast with fresh or frozen berries. Or stir in chunked or pureed fruit before freezing for fruity frozen yogurt.
- Choose cereals wisely. The simplest breakfast is, of course, cereal—but look for one with a whole grain as the first ingredient, and one that contains at least 4 to 5g of fiber and offers at least 5g of protein per serving. Good examples are Kashi GoLean cereals, Post Shredded Wheat, and Müeslix.
- Yum up your oatmeal. Stir in French Vanilla Coffee-mate, which Dana enjoys every morning in her coffee (hey, if you love it, don't feel guilty: a tablespoon of the fat-free version only contains 25 calories). Or sprinkle with a tablespoon of chocolate minichips, or swirl in a tablespoon of Nutella. See more 100-calorie oatmeal toppings.