Enjoy Brunch Without Blowing Your Diet

Eggs royale for brunch
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Brunch with your besties can be a blast, but it can also be a calorie disaster if you're not careful. No worries. Follow these tips to help you enjoy brunch without blowing your diet!

Before Brunch

Even though the term “brunch” technically means the meal is a combination of breakfast and lunch, the event typically occurs well after breakfast time. And skipping a morning meal can set you up for afternoon overkill.

Try to think of brunch as lunch with breakfast foods. That means you should also eat breakfast!

It’s never a good idea to “save” calories for a big meal. If you eat a small and nutritious breakfast when you wake up, you’ll be much less likely to overindulge once the midday brunch comes along. And since most brunching happens on the weekend, you can use the morning to get in a little exercise!

Beverage Basics

Drink a lot of water before and during brunch. It’ll help you eat less because your stomach won't feel empty. Plus, if you’re taking conscious sips of water between bites, you’re less likely to mindlessly overeat.

I’m also a big proponent of finishing a meal with coffee or tea. A hot beverage - perhaps with a little no-calorie sweetener - will distract you from any fantasies about french toast. And if it’s a boozy brunch, stick to one mimosa. A 4-oz. flute has around 80 calories.

Best Brunch Picks

Brunch is known for fatty meats and desserts disguised as breakfast foods, but those aren't the only options.

One of the best things you can do is create your own omelet. Order it with egg whites only and fill it up with veggies like tomatoes, onions, spinach, and mushrooms.

As for meat, go with turkey bacon if they’ve got it. Get some fresh fruit on the side, and you’ve got yourself a protein-packed, fiber-filled meal.

Other good choices include oatmeal made with water or fat-free milk, an English muffin spread with a bit of jam, or smoked salmon in a scooped-out bagel.

Avoid These Foods

Bypass the waffles, pancakes, french toast, and pastries. While it’s certainly possible to make healthy versions of these foods at home, restaurant versions are almost always loaded with fat and sugar. Other typical brunch foods to avoid include oversized bagels with slabs of cream cheese, full-fat sausage and bacon, and oily hash browns. And while specially ordered omelets are good picks, cheesy scrambled eggs are not.

If It’s a Buffet

It’s easy to overeat at a buffet. So if there’s a choice between a buffet and ordering off the menu, go with the menu for built-in portion control. But if the buffet is your only option, I have a few ground rules:

  1. Take a lap around the room before you grab a plate. Scope out your options and differentiate between the must-have foods and those you can do without.
  2. Once you have a game plan, grab a plate. Fill the majority of your plate with your healthy picks. Use the rest of your plate for small portions of the more decadent foods you want to indulge in.
  3. Don’t go back for seconds.

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