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Eating Breakfast Out

Lean Lingo

The word breakfast is derived from the Middle English word brek (meaning “to break”) plus fast from the old Norse word fasta (meaning “to fast”). Thus, when you eat your first meal of the day, you break your fast—no matter what time it is.

Breakfasts belong in a class by themselves. Your food selection is critical for daylong high energy. If you don't consume good fuel at breakfast, you can't expect to have a great day. Here's some advice for eating smart breakfasts out.

Fortunately, restaurant breakfast menus list foods with plenty of protein and usually some kind of fruit. Choose the high-quality protein foods (such as ham, Canadian bacon, and eggs) that will help you avoid the late-afternoon slumps that lead to overeating. Regular bacon is a marginally acceptable food because it is highly processed and filled with nitrates. That usually goes for pork products and turkey bacon, too.

Here are some of your better choices for restaurant breakfast food:

  • Eggs with ham or steak

  • Fresh fruit or fresh-squeezed juice

  • Omelets

  • Bacon (marginally acceptable)

  • Eggs benedict

  • Cheeses

  • Vegetables

  • Yogurt

Poorer choices include the following:

  • High-glycemic starches such as pancakes, muffins, bagels, scones, waffles, toast, English muffins, and donuts

  • High-glycemic cereals, which is pretty much all of them with the exception of steel-cut oatmeal and barley

  • Sausage

Weighty Warning

At a breakfast buffet, brunch, or other buffet-type meal, selectively choose what to put on your plate. Under no circumstances should you return to your table with a plate so loaded up that it looks like the foothills of the Rocky Mountains!

The poorer choices aren't “evil foods,” but don't rely on them as breakfast staples. If you really want pancakes, however, order your eggs or meat and one or two small pancakes. Use real butter and savor thoroughly.

Breakfast buffets are challenging because of the variety and unusual food selections. You can become dazzled by the beautiful array of food and forget that your stomach is only as big as your fist. An all-you-can-eat buffet is the perfect opportunity to practice picky eating, enjoy the pleasures of eating beautifully, and not worry about maximizing how much food you're getting for your money. After all, why would you want to eat all that you can? It sounds fattening and uncomfortable.

So here's how to eat at a buffet. Even before you pick up your plate, walk around and check out the entire array of foods. Select which foods you definitely want to eat and which ones to pass on. If you see a dessert you really want, take it into account. As you go through the line with your plate, take only modest portions of the foods you really want.

Sit down, eat slowly, and enjoy your food. If the food doesn't taste as good as it looked, don't eat it. Eat up to 5. If you haven't reached 5, then and only then go back for seconds. You'll be thrilled with this approach.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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