Breakfast food is better than any other food out there. This is a hill that I’m willing to die on. I shouldn’t have to even have to make this argument, but for the sake of you understanding exactly how hard this week-long challenge was for me to take on, it’s necessary for me to paint you a picture of what my normal breakfasts look like.
As a self-proclaimed breakfast sandwich savant, I start most mornings with some homemade iteration of a bacon egg and cheese. Some days I make it in a wrap, other mornings I stack it all on a fresh New York bagel from my favorite corner spot. Depending on the last time I hit the grocery store, some of these breakfast sandwiches incorporate slices of tomato, fresh spinach and if I hit a sale, avocado.
On the rare occasion I feel breakfast-sandwiched out (it’s not often), I’ll whip up some pancakes or break out my mini waffle iron to eat alongside some bacon. If I’m being health conscious, I’ll make overnight oats with almond milk and berries.
But never yogurt.
Yogurt always seemed like the most boring food in the world to me. The consistency is kind of gross, and the flavors leave a lot to be desired. For instance, why would you have a strawberry shortcake flavored yogurt when you could have an actual slice of strawberry shortcake?
But after reading into the benefits of yogurt (better weight management, improved gut health and immune system, packed with protein, etc.) it felt like the right time to try it out and see if I noticed any differences.
I couldn’t bring myself to purchase any of the flavored versions, so I decided to opt for plain Greek yogurt. To make it more appetizing, I picked up some fresh blueberries and strawberries, as well as granola to top it off with and give it texture. I finished the 5 oz cup of yogurt in what felt like no time, then started my work day at 9 am. I assumed I’d probably end up having an early lunch since the portion size is so small, but I noticed I wasn’t hungry until around 2 pm. Aside from feeling fuller for more of my morning than usual, there weren’t many notable changes – but it was only day one!
By day two I was already bored with my yogurt breakfast combination. Through some googling, I learned I could make overnight oats with Greek yogurt, so I prepared that for the following morning, choked down my yogurt for the day and got to work. I was able to squeeze in an afternoon workout, and felt like I had more energy during it, which was a win.
My overnight oats made with Greek yogurt hit the spot – so I made another one to have the next morning as well. I took a walk with a friend on day three who noticed that I was in a better mood than I usually was. I didn’t think to attribute that to yogurt, but in doing some research, it turns out there are studies that suggest yogurt can improve mood due to the positive impact it has on gut health. The more you know!
The novelty of my overnight oat concoction was starting to wear off – but I had committed to this journey, so I forged on. In addition to my mood, by day four I had started waking up easier, and falling asleep faster than I had before I started this yogurt experiment. Turns out there’s some science behind this, too – yogurt contains tryptophan (the same amino acid that makes you sleepy after you binge on turkey at Thanksgiving).
On days five and six I reverted to eating the yogurt with berries rather than making it into overnight oats (no strategy here, I just got lazy). In addition to the benefits I’d discovered days earlier, I’d noticed that my pants were fitting looser. I hopped on the scale on day six to find that I’d gone down a pound – which was exciting considering I hadn’t made any other changes except for my breakfast swap.
The final day of this experiment, it was especially hard to eat yogurt. I was grateful for the positive benefits my morning yogurt had afforded me, but I missed having a breakfast sandwich dearly at this point, and spent the day fantasizing about what I’d make the next morning.
Would I recommend eating yogurt every day for a week? If you’re willing to give it a try, I’d say go for it. Moving forward, I’ll try to incorporate yogurt a few times per week – especially during hectic work days, since it left me feeling fuller longer, meaning I won’t have to break for lunch as early and can get more done.