Has your breakfast time gradually slid down the day? Originally, you had to be up early, get the kids out of bed, put something on the table for them, your significant other, and for you, and leave in time for work.
As life went on, the kids moved out, which gave you more breathing room. Retiring supplies even less of a push to get up early. Breakfast might happen as late as 10 am, or as part of a brunch, especially on weekends.
You have probably also noticed that you gain weight more easily as you enter the Golden Years, and it is harder to take the pounds back off. You have tried dieting. You may be on a diet now, or searching for the one that will finally work for you.
You might even skip breakfast as a relatively painless way to cut some calories out of your day. Did you know that all those breakfast moves will sabotage your weight loss attempts?
Enter the “Chocolate Cake Diet.” It’s research-based, but not promoted much – probably because it’s not exactly healthy. It was named for the 300 calorie piece of chocolate dessert added to breakfast.
A study found that people who ate a 1400 calorie diet including cake for breakfast lost more weight than people who ate a more conventional 1400 calorie diet.
At the time, the researchers thought it was because the participants got dessert for breakfast. But later others found that the earlier in the day you eat most of your calories, the more weight you lose – even though it is the same food and the same calories.
And even if it includes a decadent dessert.
The results are not always immediate, though – it took the cake eaters over four months before they showed a difference compared to other dieters. So, if you try the more calories for breakfast approach, don’t give up too early.
While moving dessert to the morning is one way to change timing of your calories, it is not exactly the healthiest. So, here are 5 methods to time parts of your meals with the same effect:
A typical 1400-calorie diet has low breakfast calories. It includes:
Adjust this by adding an additional 300 calories in the morning and cutting out 150 calories at lunchtime and dinnertime. (See the recipes below for 2 suggestions for breakfast additions.)
Another way to accomplish the same thing is to eat your dinner at breakfast time, and breakfast at dinner time.
If mornings are hectic, and it’s too hard to change your breakfast routine, try modifying your snack time.
Basically, all evening snacks have to go. No snacks after 6 pm.
Start gradually, cutting out the latest snacks first, then progressively move the cutoff time up to 6 pm.
Sooner or later you will need to move dinnertime.
Move calories away from dinner. Eat a heavier lunch, with a light meal – say, a salad – for dinner, and eat dinner before 6 pm.
The 6 pm deadline is a type of time restriction – restricting the time during the day that you can eat. The most extreme time restriction is fasting (ugh). You don’t have to go that far to get benefits, though.
The easiest fast you can do is a 12-hour break between the last food you eat in the evening and the first food you eat in the morning. You can gradually increase the time by eating dinner earlier.
Need a healthy 300 calorie breakfast addition? Try this:
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup spinach leaves, torn into small pieces
4 eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter. Sauté the onions and mushrooms gently until the onions begin to look translucent.
Add the spinach and stir until it is wilted.
Pour off the liquid (save and use in soup or spaghetti sauce).
Mix in the eggs, salt, pepper, and cheese.
Pour into a 9-inch pie pan lined with parchment paper (or greased).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the eggs have set.
Cool 10 minutes, then slice into 6 servings.
Note: Other types of cheese can be used, if you prefer. My favorite substitute: Swiss
Is your heart set on something chocolate for breakfast?
Warning: This recipe is for chocolate fanatics – the chocolate flavor is intense, and the brownies are gooey.
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ¾ cups unsweetened, natural cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Place butter in a saucepan on low heat. As butter melts, stir in sugar until it is completely blended with the butter.
Do not brown the butter.
Do not boil the butter-sugar mix.
Add cocoa and salt, and stir till blended.
Mix in one egg at a time, stirring after each one until each is blended in.
Add flour and baking powder, stir until flour is incorporated, then add vanilla. The batter will be very thick.
For thick 300-calorie brownies, scrape batter into a 9-by-9-inch pan lined with parchment paper, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes.
The middle will no longer jiggle when done, and the edges will be set. (The toothpick test does not work well.)
When done, sprinkle top with powdered sugar and cut into 9 brownies. (These are very rich – you can cut into smaller pieces. Just be aware that it will take more than 1 brownie for your 300 calories.)
For a thinner version, scrape the batter into a 9-by-13-inch pan lined with parchment paper, and bake for 30 minutes. 1/9 of the pan is about 300 calories.
Ignoring the health issues, and going by taste preferences, which 300-calorie addition would you rather have in the morning – brownies or quiche? Can you do the 12-hour fast between dinner and breakfast? Which of the 5 timing techniques would be the easiest for you? Please share with our community.