150-calorie breakfast

January 21, 2008

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To lose weight, I follow a very low-calorie, low-fat regime. With only 1,000 calories per day to consume, I carefully choose every bite to ensure it delivers not only as much nutrition as possible, but also as much enjoyment as possible.

Breakfast is a difficult meal for me. I’m often rushed in the morning and, truth be told, scrambled egg whites with salsa get boring after a couple of weeks. When I was gaining weight, I often grabbed a tall latte and a blueberry-white chocolate scone from Starbucks on the way the work; however, that 560-calorie indulgence (100 for the latte, 460 for the scone) didn’t make my fat ass any smaller.

To find a breakfast option that’s easy and makes for a satisfying meal with less than 180 calories, I turned to a black coffee and bars. No, I didn’t drink martinis for breakfast — a dry vodka martini is about 210 calories so it exceeds my calorie criteria! I’m talking about meal replacement bars.

While shopping for breakfast bar options, I discovered that most energy bars are higher in calories than I wanted. Here’s a list of the bars that did fit my criteria. I tasted each one and recorded my impressions so that you don’t have to read as many labels or suffer through the bad breakfasts I endured:

Atkins Endulge: Coconut (40 g, 180 calories). Super sweet with a terrible artificial sweetener aftertaste that not only lingered for hours but also ruined the taste of my coffee.
Bottom line: Yuck!

PowerBar Pria: Chocolate Peanut Butter Crisp (45 g, 170 calories). Cloyingly sweet but satiated me for quite a while.
Bottom line: Not my favourite for morning but may be good for people who love sweets and miss them while dieting.

SlimFast Optima: Chewy Caramel Crunch (30 g, 130 calories): The caramel flavour is super fake and there’s a weird crystallized texture at the finish that isn’t appealing.
Bottom line: Better than most, but still not on par with an egg white scramble.

Dr. Bernstein Protein Bar: Coconut Almond (40 g , 150 calories): This bar goes very well with coffee and actually tastes darn good. The texture is dense and although the bars are small, it takes long enough to finish each one so you feel like you ate something.
Bottom line: My hands-down favourite. (Note: I also tried their Chocolate Peanut Crunch variety but didn’t like it as much as the Coconut Almond.) Have you tried any of the other flavours? If so, please comment below.

Check out an Almond Granola breakfast recipe for about 150 calories/serving and Oats Plus Porridge for 118 calories/serving at homemakers.com.

Have a low-cal breakfast tip you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it!