There is nothing more satisfying than snuggling in bed past noon on a lazy Sunday morning and waking up to a nice brunch date with friends. Common brunch foods include egg dishes, french toast, yogurt parfaits, bagels and, more recently, avocado toast. Looking at all these tantalizing options, it is easy for us to consume over 1000 calories just over brunch. Here are five ways to avoid falling into the brunch trap, to allow you to indulge in brunch and not go overboard on calories.
Avocados are nutrient dense fruits and are hailed as a rich source of healthy fats - both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Studies have shown that choosing better fats in the diet may help to improve blood lipids and reduce risk of heart disease. Avocado toast, on the other hand, is overhyped for its health benefits, and may not be healthful for weight loss efforts. One recommended serving of avocado is about 1/5 of a medium avocado. However, one avocado toast usually contains at least one full avocado, which is far greater than the recommended serving size. One medium avocado has about 320 calories, and together with thickly sliced toast, one serving of avocado toast can easily add up to a whopping 500 - 600 calories. So, the next time you want to order an avocado toast, share it with friends as an appetizer or make it yourself over high fiber crackers.
This classic orange juice and champagne cocktail is a go-to beverage choice for any brunch. Each mimosa is around 150 calories, and it makes a refreshing beverage that goes well with almost any brunch dish but one glass of mimosa can contain up to 15 grams of sugar, which is equal to a cup of raspberries or a medium apple, and this fiber-less sugar can result in a blood glucose spike that wears you out and causes additional cravings. And since brunch usually spans the entire afternoon, we can easily consume more than one glass of mimosa, which can add up to 300 - 400 empty calories. Start enjoying your mimosa by taking one small sip at a time, and if you have more than one consider switching to wine or plain champagne or alternate with a glass of water between each drink.
The joy of watching an egg yolk burst and drench over an English muffin is addictive. Egg Benedict is definitely an all-time-favorite at brunch tables, but may not be as healthy an option for weight loss. Poached egg is undeniably the better way to prep eggs as they do not require additional oil for frying. However, the key player of Eggs Benedict, the Hollandaise sauce that usually floods the entire poached eggs, is all fat. Hollandaise is simply an emulsion of egg yolk, butter and lemon juice, and the amount of Hollandaise sauce served with Eggs Benedict can add up to more than 400 calories. And don’t to forget the English muffin or biscuit that helps to complete the dish. In order to not sabotage your waistline, try poached eggs with a side of whole grain toast and grilled asparagus or tomatoes.
Complimentary fruit juice
Brunch usually comes with complimentary fruit juice, coffee or tea. Drinking fruit juice is a convenient way for us to gulp down the needed daily vitamin and mineral requirements with minimal effort. However, it is easy to consume a massive amount of sugar from fruit juice, and juicing stripps away most dietary fiber from whole fruits. The removal of fiber from fruits result in faster and easier ingestion, decreased satiety and spiked glucose levels in the blood. Next time, skip the complimentary fruit juice and order a bowl of fresh whole fruits instead.
Skip the breadbasket
The wait before brunch dishes are served can be long, which makes bread baskets an easy pit-fall. Most bread baskets consist of sweet breads, scones and butter rolls, which barely contain any fiber and are laden with carbs and fats. Why not free up some calorie tank space for your brunch foods? Skip the bread baskets all together and catch up with your friends. Your brunch foods will be served very soon.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.