The Best and Worst Breakfast Foods for Fat Loss  

by JJ Virgin on April 4, 2024

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day when you’re trying to lose fat. You want to set yourself up for success so you can power through the day without falling victim to low energy and cravings that sabotage your efforts. 

The problem is we’re often so busy in the morning that we prioritize convenience over sustenance. Many traditional breakfast foods are loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugars that cause cravings and low energy, causing you to overeat as you reach for more and more food to help keep you going during the day. 

The key to a good breakfast that supports fat loss is getting a minimum of 30 grams of protein in your meal. Not only does this keep you more satisfied from one meal to the next, it also helps preserve muscle mass, which helps you burn more fat during the day.1 Muscle requires more energy to maintain than fat tissue, naturally revving up your metabolism and burning more calories.2 

Protein also has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fat, meaning your body uses more energy to digest and metabolize it than it does the other macronutrients.3 Eating enough at each meal keeps you from experiencing blood-sugar spikes and crashes that stall fat burning, too.4  

When you don’t prioritize protein at breakfast, you don’t feel as satisfied from your meals and end up more susceptible to cravings and overeating. Other consequences of not having enough protein include not burning as many calories during the day, not having the right nutrition to support muscle health, a slower metabolism, and an increased risk of insulin resistance

You don’t need to get rid of all your favorite breakfast foods, but you can certainly make better choices for fat loss. Below are some common breakfasts that are working against you in body-recomposition journey, along with recipes for healthier, high-protein swaps you’ll love having in your meal plan. 

Worst Choice: Traditional Pancakes 

Traditional white-flour pancakes come loaded with refined carbs. They’re low in protein and fiber, contain problematic food intolerances like gluten and dairy, and, let’s face it, you’re probably going to douse a stack with syrup, butter, and maybe even whipped cream. 

Best Choice: 

Use more whole-food ingredients to amp up the protein and fiber content—which will satisfy you a lot more easily than the traditional version. Try these recipes and see for yourself: 

Worst Choice: Packaged and Instant Oatmeals 

Packaged and instant oatmeals are sometimes positioned as healthy, but they’re not. They usually lack essential nutrients like protein and healthy fats, leaving you wanting more. Flavored oatmeal packets are often laden with added sugars and artificial ingredients, compromising their nutritional value. Even seemingly innocent toppings like dried fruit, honey, or syrups can significantly increase the sugar content of your breakfast bowl and stall fat loss.  

Best Choice: 

Use plain, gluten-free oats rather than the sugary packets to make overnight oats, which round out the nutritional value with extra protein, fat, and fiber. 

By preparing them the night before, you’ll wake up to a delicious and nutrient-rich breakfast that keeps you full and energized throughout the morning, making it the perfect option for busy mornings without sacrificing convenience. 

Worst Choice: Fruit Smoothie 

While fruit smoothies might sound healthy, natural sugars from multiple fruits can spike your blood sugar. Because they often lack essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and fiber, their sweet flavor is easy to overconsume and leaves your blood sugar sky-high. Adding fruit juices, sweetened yogurt, or flavored syrups only worsens this problem.  

Best Choice 

Load up your smoothie with hidden veggies, lean protein, and healthy fat to make it more substantial, satisfying, and blood-sugar friendly. By incorporating low-sugar fruits like berries, which are rich in antioxidants and lower in natural sugars compared to other fruits, you can enjoy the sweet flavor without the sugar spike.  

Adding protein boosts satiety and balances blood-sugar levels. Healthy fats from ingredients like avocado, chia seeds, and flaxseed provide sustained energy and support nutrient absorption, while fiber-rich additions promote digestive health and help keep you full.  

Any of my loaded smoothie recipes take minutes to make but keep you full for hours, avoiding those late-morning crashes and the temptations that may lurk in your office. You’ll find lots more recipes here, but these three will get you started. 

Worst Choice: Traditional Quiche 

Traditional quiche usually has a crust made from refined white flour, which packs a punch in carbohydrates but lacks essential fiber. Others use wheat flour, which is marketed as healthy but also contains gluten. The filling may include milk or cheese, which can be problematic if you’re sensitive to dairy. 

Best Choices 

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like vitamin D, lutein, and zeaxanthin. If you can tolerate them, these recipes offer a nutritious alternative to traditional quiche ingredients without the food intolerances in other egg dishes. 

Worst Choice: Porridge 

Traditional porridge, a beloved comfort food, offers warmth and nourishment at a cost. Porridge combines grains like oats, rice, wheat, or barley simmered in water, milk, or a blend of both. Usually sweetened with sugar, honey, or maple syrup, it packs tons of sugar and lacks sufficient protein, leaving you less satisfied and heightening cravings between meals. 

Best Choices 

These recipes elevate the nutritional profile of porridge and pudding with protein, healthy fats, and no added sugar. If you want something creamy for sustained energy and nourishment, these options hit the spot to start your day right. 

Worst Choice: Store-Bought Muffins 

Many store-bought muffins are laden with sugar, gluten, dairy, and excessive carbohydrates, essentially cupcakes without the frosting. The few moments of sweet bliss aren’t worth the following energy crash and cravings. 

Best Choice 

Reinventing muffins with nutrients like fiber and protein offers a convenient option without added sugar and other problem ingredients. Ingredients like almond flour give you all the satisfaction without the blood-sugar spike and crash. 

Worst Choice: Cereal 

Commercial breakfast cereals are often nutritional minefields. With their sugar, refined carbohydrates, and artificial additives, many provide little more than a sugary spike followed by a crash. Moreover, ingredients like gluten and corn are potential food intolerances. And what do you have cereal with? Dairy, adding sugar and inflammation into the mix.  

Best Choice 

Upgrade Your Breakfast With a Loaded Smoothie 

Prioritizing protein in your meals can be a game-changer for accelerating fat loss, building muscle, boosting energy levels, and more. That starts with breakfast, where you’ll get 30+ grams of high-quality protein. A loaded smoothie is your secret weapon against hunger and cravings.  

Wave goodbye to sugar-laden breakfasts with a protein-packed loaded smoothie that you can whip up in minutes but keeps you satisfied and energized for hours.  

My Eat Protein First Loaded Smoothie Cookbook provides 60 delicious, protein-packed shake recipes to keep you full, focused, and fast-track your weight loss journey. You’ll find simple, nutrient-packed recipes that will make you look forward to breaking your fast every morning with a delicious, satisfying loaded smoothie. 

Get your free Eat Protein First Loaded Smoothie Cookbook here.  


  1. Carbone JW, Pasiakos SM. Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit. Nutrients. 2019 May 22;11(5):1136. doi: 10.3390/nu11051136. PMID: 31121843; PMCID: PMC6566799. 
  1. Mayo Clinic: Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories 
  1. Healthline: 10 Science-Backed Reasons to Eat More Protein 
  1. Medical News Today: Foods for stabilizing insulin and blood sugar levels 

The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.