Question:

What is a better breakfast for weight loss: yogurt or egg, potato, and cheese? What is better for lunch: sandwich (with cheese and mayo), lean cuisine, or low-calorie soup?

– Larry S.

 

Answer:

Between your breakfast options of yogurt or egg, potato and cheese there are really more than two choices, as each can be prepared different ways and in varying volume. The yogurt by itself is probably less calories if you’re talking about a standard 6-ounce cup. Some non-fat yogurts are only 80 calories and contain food starch and gelatin. Not what I would call a decent breakfast that would stave off hunger before lunch!

If the yogurt is from whole milk and highly sweetened, then 8 ounces might provide 280 calories, 11 grams fat, 34 grams carbohydrate (31 grams sugar) and 11 grams protein1. For a similar 290 calories it would take two egg whites, a half-cup lightly fried potato and an ounce of low-fat cheese which provide 14 grams of fat, 24 grams carbohydrate (2 grams fiber) and 17 grams protein2.

For weight loss, I’d suggest getting more protein and fiber to fuel your morning and satisfy until lunchtime with these options:

1 cup high-protein, low-fat plain yogurt (Greek style) with ½ cup strawberries, Tbsp coconut, Tbsp granola and tsp flax seed [265 calories, 8 gm fat, 24 gm carb, 26 gm prot] 2

or

three egg whites, ½ ounce of low-fat cheese and a half-cup lightly fried potato/onion/pepper blend [273 calories, 8 gm fat, 31 gm carb, 19 gm prot] 2

In either case, the extra little ingredients and preparation make a more complete balanced breakfast.

Your lunch options of a sandwich with cheese and mayo, a Lean Cuisine or low-calorie soup are even more difficult to compare because there are so many possibilities! The latter two are usually under 300 calories, so I’ll use that target for evaluation. Really, you can find something that works in each category.

Here’s how a single pick from each option stack up:

Calories Fat grams Carbohydrate grams  (fiber, sugar) Protein grams
A sandwich with 2 slices wheat bread, 2 ounces turkey breast, an ounce of low-fat Colby Jack cheese and a Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise3 291 7 33  (2, 6) 22
Lean Cuisine

Chicken with Peanut Sauce4

290 7 35  (3, 11) 21
Full can of lower calorie Italian wedding soup5 270 6 38  (4, 13) 15

The picks above are fairly comparable overall, though carbohydrate breakdown varies. The sandwich can be made as you like it (so the nutrition may vary), whereas the packaged foods are set. I like that the soup has the most fiber, but unfortunately, it has the most sugar and the least protein. Swapping whole-grain bread for standard wheat or adding lettuce and tomato may up the fiber in the sandwich a tad. In any case, a sub-300 calorie lunch entree is likely to only suit daily intakes of 1200-1500 calories. As far as weight loss goes, I’d opt for one with more protein and fiber that you are most satisfied with and get the best energy from.

Sources:

  1. Nutrition facts for Noosa Strawberry 8 oz. from https://www.noosayoghurt.com/product/strawberry/ accessed October 15, 2018.
  2. Dietary analysis performed on FitDay.com by a Registered Dietitian.
  3. Dietary analysis performed on webmd.com/diet/healthtool-food-calorie-counter by a Registered Dietitian.
  4. Nutrition facts from https://www.leancuisine.com/products/details/10562 accessed October 15, 2018.
  5. Nutrition facts for Campbell’s Chunky Healthy Request Hearty Italian-style Wedding soup from https://www.campbells.com/campbell-soup/healthy-request/healthy-request-hearty-italian-style-wedding-with-meatballs-spinach-soup/ accessed October 15, 2018.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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