The Likable Lo-Cal Diet: Breakfast Miscellany


We finish exploring the best breakfast options for staying under 1,200 calories a day with…well, everything else, pretty much.

So you’re approaching the two-week mark of the 1,200 calorie/day diet and you’re just plain sick of the good choices and don’t want to ruin your day with the bad ones, so…

What Else Ya Got?

Just to get everyone on the same page, what we know so far about breakfast, which ideally stays under 250 calories or so…

Best choice: Oatmeal

Second-tier choices: Cold cereal and egg-based dishes, depending on the specifics

A decidedly mixed bag: Pancakes, waffles, French toast and their ilk.

And the rest? Even more decidedly mixed.

To wit:

How about good old…

Lox n’ Bagels?

Sounds healthy enough, right?


Your main problem here is the bagel, a medium-sized one of which will run you somewhere around 300-350 calories. But that’s a WHOLE bagel. If you go the open-faced route, you’re not in such bad shape. Figure about 170 calories for the bagel, lox is a mere 33 calories per ounce, and 100 calories per ounce of regular cream cheese…so you should instead probably go with the perfectly edible LIGHT cream cheese, at 45 calories a tablespoon. That puts you at about 250, so even if you throw on a slice of onion (5-6 cal.) and/or tomato (15 cal.), you’re still under 300. It’s not a lot of food, but it’ll do in a pinch.

Biscuits and Gravy?

Oh my. You don’t want to know.

(C’mon, not even ONE biscuit and a minimal dollop of gravy?)

(Trust me on this. Keep moving.)

Pop Tarts?

A single strawberry Pop Tart is about 200 calories. So yes, you CAN go there, but do you really want to? Is it worth it? What’s a Pop Tart, like six bites at best? At 33 calories per bite?

Eh…Maybe not. How about a…

Bran Muffin?

Slightly better, depending on the size and ingredients. Low end would be about 130 calories; Starbucks end would be more like 420 calories…and if that weren’t bad enough, it will taste like a Starbucks bran muffin. (Seriously, their pastries are never, ever as good as they look, are they?)

Okay, maybe not Starbucks, but what if I head next door to Jamba Juice for a…


We’ll get into specific fast food choices on another day, but generally, yes, SOME of their 16 oz. drinks are within the range we want, as you can see for yourself on their nutrition page. The Caribbean Passion, for example, is 250 on the nose. Again: That’s the 16-ouncers, the smallest size.

You can also obviously make your own at home with a combo of fruit (I really can’t stress this enough: BERRIES), yogurt, juice, milk and protein of your choice, as explored in previous columns. Sometimes a perfectly tasty and filling shake doesn’t take much at all in the way of ingredients, effort or ingenuity. I just had one of these earlier today:

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk = 40 calories

1 banana = about 100 calories

1/2 cup Dreyer’s vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt = 90 calories

Couple packets of Splenda and some ice = Next to none

Total calories: 230. Hunger satisfaction: Acceptable.

But you probably don’t want just a shake for breakfast unless you’re Tommy Lasorda (Kids…ask your parents.); you’d rather have, say, a glass of orange juice (110-120 calories/cup) COMBINED with…

Other Munchables

Donut? (185 calories just for a PLAIN one. No.)

English muffin? (Just as bad.)

Coffee cake? (Even worse.)

(Aggravated sigh)…

Toast? C’mon, Please?

Depends on the toast, but sure, a nice 70-calorie slice of Orowheat Double Fiber with a 50-calorie tablespoon of grape jelly? Doesn’t sound all that filling to me, but sure, if you’re that desperate for a change of pace, go for it.

And with that, I think we’ve covered all the conventional breakfast options. Hopefully by now, it’s become clear that a lot of this diet is about raising one’s awareness about the stats on everything you eat, whether it’s an entree, a beverage or a condiment.

You can eat anything you want, technically, as long as you pay enough attention to keep the numbers down. If you really, really, really can’t resist that Krispy Kreme, far be it from me to donut-block you, so long as you know what kind of numbers you’re ingesting and how that’s going to affect the rest of your day. (200 calories for one glazed. Not as bad as you thought, eh?)

Personally, I’d rather skimp on breakfast because it frees me up to be more liberal with the rest of the day, but if you’re more of a lunch-skipper, then by all means, grab the syrup and get (relatively) crazy.

And speaking of lunch…

Stay tuned.


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