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Truly Satisfying Low Calorie Breakfast

Updated on August 15, 2011

So here's the deal. Breakfast has a few important functions for me:

  1. Stave off hunger until lunch.
  2. Not be high-calorie (I have an office job, and have to lose weight)
  3. Should be high in protein (to fulfill #1 above) and relatively low in carbs and "bad fats"
  4. Not taste like paste, cement, pulp or any other industrially produced garbage that are routinely offered as alternatives nowadays. If it can actually taste good, that's an extra plus.

I have my "longevity smoothie" 2-3 mornings per week, but I'm always looking for a little variety. I'm not really into scones or muffins, especially having read recently that they're basically baked heart attacks.

My experiment

Here's what I came up with:

4 cheese and salsa breakfast burritos

Sound like it's going to overwhelm in terms of fat, calories and bad carbs, right? Not necessarily...

I've tried the green onion flavor (one on the left)
I've tried the green onion flavor (one on the left)

Low-carb tortillas - the foundation

I start off with La Tortilla's low-carb tortillas. They're slightly spongy (not doughy or chewy like regular tortillas) but they're actually not that bad--not the plasticky, rubbery garbage you'd expect them to be. And they're actually nutritious. Each one has:

  • 50 calories
  • 5g protein
  • 8g dietary fiber
  • 3g digestible carbs (no sugars)
  • 2g healthy (polyunsaturated & monounsaturated) fats

Cost: $3.09 for a package of 10 at Farmer Joe's in Oakland.

Fat-free cheese

Then I add a slice and half of Kraft Free Singles to each burrito. That's 6 of these guys. Probably because of the lack of fat, they're not waxy/oily and kinda rubbery, but especially when heated in the microwave, they're not bad either. They actually melt. The nutrition profile for these is not bad, either (per slice):

  • 30 calories
  • 4g protein
  • 2g carbs (1g sugar)
  • no fiber, naturally

Cost: $2.29 for a package of 24

Fresh salsa

I personally like Casa Sanchez's Medium Roja salsa. It has roasted tomatoes for that smoky flavor, and has enough cilantro and onions to make it really flavorful. The only downside is that, especially after microwaving it, it generates a lot of "juice", so you have to drain your burrito before it becomes manageable enough to eat (otherwise, consider wearing a bib). Nutrition information for a half-cup (enough for all 4 burritos):

  • 50 calories
  • 12g carbs (3g sugar)
  • no protein
  • no fat
  • plenty of lycopene from the tomatoes and quercetin from the onions

Cost: $3.99 for 4 1/2 cup servings

Nuke them for a minute and what do you got?

Here's the nutrition profile:

  • Calories: 430
  • Protein: 48g
  • Carbs: 36g
  • Fat: 8g

Cost: $2.81 (add another nickel for the microwave's electricity)

Admittedly pretty high in sodium, though... like just about every savory packaged food these days.

Compare to:

Starbucks Blueberry Muffin

  • Calories: 520
  • Protein: 7g
  • Carbs: 57g
  • Fat: 31g

(oh, yes -- don't believe me?)

How about the Grande (that's their medium) Mocha Frappuccino

  • Calories: 420
  • Protein: 6g
  • Carbs: 61g (51g sugar)
  • Fat: 16g (10g saturated)

(nutrition information)

Granted, the 4 breakfast burritos aren't liquid candy, but that's also why they'll probably keep you full longer. Also, their high protein content will reduce a relatively higher proportion of the number of calories available after digestion due to the Thermic Effect of Foods


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      there is no way i can trust your food advice if you eat kraft singles. total crap.

    • profile image

      breakfast is the most important meal 

      9 years ago

      Breakfast should actually be the biggest meal of the day, with the most calories, and should be a real meal, not a sugary snack, like so many people eat.

      The Japanese, who have a very low obesity rate, eat soup (very filling with low calories), white rice (again, rice is a very filling carb, much more filling than bread), fish, and vegetables.Breakfast, shouldn't be a snack, but a real, filling meal, that will keep your stomach filled until lunch.

      If you want to lose weight, you should actually eat a lot more at breakfast than at dinner, while your dinner, should be light, and your lunch should be heavy like breakfast, because your body works like a calculator, it substracts energy (calories) to use as fuel. All activities, even sitting watching TV (70 to 80 calories burned/hour), burn calories.

      If you eat a lot at dinner (50 to 60 calories burned/hour), your body will store a good deal of the food you can't use as fuel, transforming it into fat.

      A key to weightloss is to eat a big breakfast and light dinner.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      nice article about low calorie breakfast...very informative and beneficial for me..thx

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      this is pretty good. i personaly like to cook my egg, get it into a pocket shape, and put it into a tortilla cut in half and put a little cheese in for flavor. its really a great and cheap way to start the morning and i promise you wont go hungry

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Woah... I'm going shopping right now!! :D thank you for the breakfast idea, it sounds DELICIOUS! :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Looks tasty! Anyone complaining can always substitute homemade, organic, or any other unprocessed foods and accomplish the same thing. Personally I like to use Egg Beaters Chive & Cheese flavor (higher in cholesterol but otherwise fairly equivalent to the cheese alone) and a few drops of hot sauce instead of salsa (fewer calories and everything else). You can make the eggs and keep them in a Tupperware and just spoon out what you need each morning to save time. (If you don't like the microwave you can always melt the cheese over the fire in your cave)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      As far as I'm concerned, you delivered the recipe for a "satisfying and low calorie" breakfast. You didn't promise it to be preservative free or not use any processed foods. For someone looking at overall calorie count, this is a great option. Not everyone has time to make their own salsa or not use a microwave. Get real people!

    • profile image

      sarah dawkins 

      11 years ago


      I was very interested about your truly satisfying low calorie breakfast, but having read your post have come to the conclusion that it is all convenience food. Surely it would be better to make your own salsa and use REAL cheese, not that highly processed rubbish in single squares. I appreciate that you are looking for a low calorie deal, but surely not at the expense of good nutrition.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I once came up with a lunch that used these low-carb tortillas. I would put chicken breast (frozen strips, but now I have found cooked chicked at costco for a reasonable price), black beans, and a little cheese. very filling and it had tons of protien and fiber, too.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This technically isn't even a burrito, its more of a quesadilla, but reguardell this is hardly a healthy breakfast, way to many preservatives, that cheese alone is so processed it is basically plastic.But good attempt:]

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great idea. I use the same tortillas for lunch. I add a 3 slices of Oscar Mayer shaved turkey breast (Deli Fresh) and a few slices of tomato. Less than 100 Calories each.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      Sometimes I wonder if people can read.

      8g fat

      virtually no cholesterol (although trans and saturated fats raise serum cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol)

      frozen isn't bad

      Verdict: Like nbhiker, you don't know what you're talking about.

      (And learn how to spell, too, please)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      It is a high cholesterol breakfast in general . secondly the tortilas are usually frozen and full of preservatives and fats, the same goes for the cheese.

      Not a good idea at all - for loosing weight or for a healthy approach to life. I know...

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      11 years ago from San Francisco

      The fact that you're under the misconception that microwaves emit radiation disqualifies you from rendering any opinion that relies on scientific reality.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      There are way to many processed foods in this recipe that it doesn't even even come close to being healthy. Couple that with the radiation from "nuking" it. This is far from healthy. You also should not be eating so much that you are full until lunch. Instead, eat a healthier breakfast (leave the processed foods at the store) and have a mid-morning snack. Your metabolism will thank you.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      11 years ago from USA

      Thanks for your recipe.

    • jeanius profile image


      11 years ago

      I thought people should eat a balanced breakfast, but highest calorie meal of the day- big breakfast smaller portions later in the day. I honestly don't try to watch calories for breakfast, it makes me too hungry later on. As long as the breakfast is balanced, not a Starbucks muffin of course.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Umm sounds pretty interesting but wut about 38grams of carbs that we get?

      personally i eat oat meal or egg whites (not so gross btw)

      very high protein, low calory its all good;)

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      i'm not sure about the carb content but this is a realy healthy serving of a low calorie breakfast....2 cups shredded potatoes (140 calories), 2 piece chopped turkey bacon(70 calories) and two egg whites (60 calories) total 270 calories...I also add salsa

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      13 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      This sounds like a good receipe. I usually eat fruit for breakfast, but this would be a nice change and I love salsa. Your smoothie recipe looks wonderful as well. Thanks very much for sharing.

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 

      13 years ago from Miami Beach, Florida

      This seems very satisfying, Livelonger!

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      13 years ago from San Francisco

      Umm....the burritos have 48 grams of protein. That's a lot.

    • profile image


      13 years ago

      You need some sort of protein in your burrito to keep you fuller for longer. Try adding egg whites.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      14 years ago from San Francisco

      I think it's a great idea. I personally like frozen berries, esp since they're much more inexpensive than fresh.

    • gredmondson profile image


      14 years ago from San Francisco, California

      Livelonger, a breakfast I devised when I was losing weight (and still like) is some (maybe 1 cup) of defrosted Three Beries (Costco) sprinkled with 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 cup cottage cheese (whatever Costco has). This along with coffee will keep me well past lunch time. Hey, I'll put it in a Hub!

    • profile image


      14 years ago

      the hot sauce is a good touch. oddly, I've found that eating hot sauce actually curbs appetite. possibly this is because it setz off my ulcer, though. :p

    • nickswife2004 profile image


      14 years ago

      This recipe sounds delicious! Thanks for the tips!

    • Webber profile image


      14 years ago

      I've been in a cereal rut. I'll give it a try. Thanks for the healthy breakfast recipe.


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