When it comes to healthy breakfast foods, eggs are one of the the most versatile. Whether you like yours scrambled, poached or boiled, you can make your meal even more favorable for weight lossdietitians tell us, adding a nutritious leafy green. We reached out to dietitians, nutritionists and health experts to learn more about the benefits of pairing eggs with spinach, and how it can promote healthy overall weight loss and pesky belly fat (when added to a balanced diet and with regular exercise of course). Read on for tips, suggestions and ideas for Trista BestMPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements and Jay CowinNNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA, Registered Nutritionist and Director of Formulations at ASYSTEM.
How spinach paired with eggs can promote healthy weight loss
According to Best, spinach is a dark, leafy green that’s “packed with weight loss-boosting nutrients and can be easily added to many recipes, especially eggs.” When these nutrients are heated with water, she explains, they become active in such a way that the body absorbs them more easily.
“This allows the consumer to consume weight loss-supporting nutrients, such as vitamins K, E, and fiber, while eating a low-carb, nutrient-dense meal,” she adds. The fiber content of spinach will help consumers “feel and stay full longer, which can help prevent overeating throughout the day,” Best points out. She notes that spinach can also help with weight loss by adding it to your eggs by “getting antioxidants into that meal.”
Antioxidants contain anti-inflammatory compounds that help “reduce inflammation in the body” that would “otherwise prevent weight loss” and harm overall health, she points out. Cowin agrees and says 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 your eggs, he adds, is “to avoid adding salt, butter, or other high-calorie condiments.”
The importance of protein for weight loss
Another reason you might want to opt for spinach in your favorite egg dish, Best says, is because of its protein content (a cup of spinach, when added to eggs, can yield 0 , 7 grams more protein). Cooking with egg whites, she adds, can be “a great way to cut the fat from a traditional egg meal while maintaining a lean source of protein.” Eating just the egg whites allows you to “cut calories from 71 to 18, while losing only 2 grams of protein,” recommends Best. The fat content, however, goes from “5 grams in a whole egg to zero, eating only the egg whites,” she notes.
Cowin says that ultimately “the best breakfast for healthy weight loss is anything with protein” because eating protein while working out “will help you maintain muscle mass, which which means the weight you lose during this time will be pure body fat.” Of the three macronutrients (fats, carbs, protein), Cowin points out that “protein will keep you full the longest because it suppresses your appetite.” It’s a big help when trying to cut back on your intake, 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 it and deal with them”.