Breakfast has earned its role as the most important meal of the day thanks to plenty of research linking the morning meal to better quality sleep, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and more. “Eating breakfast is generally considered to be a healthy habit,” says Bonnie Newlin, RD.
The role breakfast plays in maintaining a healthy weight can be a little more complicated, however, especially when you add a weight loss medication like Ozempic into the mix. Ozempic and other drugs known as GLP-1 agonists or dual agonists work by mimicking the actions of certain hormones related to appetite and weight, according to Cleveland Clinic. They were initially used to treat type 2 diabetes because they help keep blood sugar steady, but they’ve proved remarkably effective as treatments for obesity as well.
If you are taking a GLP-1 medication, starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a good idea for several reasons. Research has found that breakfast can keep your blood sugar levels regular throughout the day. “This is especially important for people taking a GLP-1 medication, where low blood sugar can be a side effect,” Newlin says. For that reason, she adds, it’s important to eat something in the morning even if you don’t normally do so or aren’t hungry — a likely scenario, given that loss of appetite is a common side effect of medications including Wegovy, Saxendra, Mounjaro, and Zepbound.
“Establishing a regular breakfast routine can regulate your hunger cues and keep your energy levels steady throughout the day,” Newlin says. Here is her advice for making the most of this meal, and special dietary considerations for anyone who is taking a medication for weight loss.
- Don’t force it. If you’re not hungry first thing, try bumping back breakfast a little bit later in the morning.
- Start with a small portion. “You can always eat more later if you are still hungry,” says Newlin.
- Prioritize fiber and protein-rich foods. Both are satiating nutrients that help you feel full on fewer calories, a key for weight loss. Fiber also helps with digestive health, while research shows that large amounts of protein maintain muscle during weight loss. Newlin recommends lean protein sources such as beans, lentils, fish, chicken, and minimally processed soy products like tofu and tempeh.
- Limit saturated fats. “They are more difficult for the body’s enzymes to break down, as a result, they tend to stay in the stomach longer than unsaturated fats,” says Newlin. Opt instead for unsaturated fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds, which have more beneficial nutrients and are easier on your digestion.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is a common side effect of GLP-1 medication, so you should aim to drink at least 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day, says Newlin. Doing so may aid weight loss, according to Johns Hopkins University.
- Focus on whole foods. “Embracing a diet rich in unprocessed foods is key when you’re on a weight management journey using a GLP-1 medication,” says Newlin. She recommends prioritizing fiber-rich carbohydrates, lean protein sources, and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to create a foundation for a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Breakfasts that meet these general nutritional guidelines don’t have to be difficult. The following nine recipes are good ways to start.