When it comes to healthy breakfast foods, eggs are some of the most versatile. Whether you like yours scrambled, poached, or boiled, you can make your meal even more weight-loss-friendly, dietitians tell us, by adding a nutritious leafy green. We reached out to registered dietitians, nutritionists, and health experts to learn more about the benefits of combining eggs with spinach, and how it can promote overall healthy weight loss and pesky belly fat (when added to a balanced diet and when exercising regularly, of course). ). Read on for tips, advice and insights from Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements and Jay Cowin, NNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA, Registered Nutritionist and Director of Formulations at ASYSTEM.
How spinach combined with eggs can promote healthy weight loss
Spinach, Best says, is a dark green leaf that is “packed with weight-loss-boosting nutrients and can be easily added to many recipes, especially eggs.” When these nutrients are heated with water, he explains, they become activated in such a way that they are more easily absorbed by the body.
“This allows the consumer to ingest weight-loss friendly nutrients like vitamins K, E and fiber while eating a low-carb, nutrient-dense meal,” she adds. The fiber content in spinach will help the consumer “feel and stay full longer, which can help prevent overeating throughout the day,” Best emphasizes. She notes that spinach can also help with weight loss by adding it to eggs by “integrating antioxidants into this meal.”
Antioxidants have anti-inflammatory compounds that help “reduce inflammation in the body” that “would otherwise impede weight loss” and harm overall health, he notes. Cowin agrees, saying to cook the eggs and spinach in a small amount of water or steam them instead of frying them in oil. Another healthy way to prepare eggs, he adds, is to “avoid adding salt, butter or other high-calorie seasonings.”
The Importance of Protein Re: Weight Loss
Another reason you might want to opt for spinach in your favorite egg dish, Best says, is because of its protein content (one cup, when added to eggs, can provide 0.7 more grams of protein). Cooking with egg whites, she adds, can be a “great way to cut the fat out of a traditional egg-based meal while maintaining a lean source of protein.” Eating just the egg whites allows you to “cut calories from 71 to 18, while losing just 2 grams of protein,” Best recommends. The fat content, however, drops from “5 grams in a whole egg to zero, when just eating the egg whites,” she notes.
Ultimately, Cowin says, “the best breakfast food for healthy weight loss is anything that’s packed with protein,” since eating protein while strength training “will help you maintain muscle mass, which which means that the weight you will lose during this period will be pure body fat.” Of the three macronutrients (fat, carbs, protein), Cowin notes that “protein will keep you full longer because it suppresses your appetite.” This is helpful when you’re trying to cut back, he concludes, noting that “protein also has a higher thermic effect than other macronutrients, which means your body has to burn a lot of calories to digest and process it.”
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