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The #1 Best Breakfast Habit to Shrink Belly Fat, Says Dietitian

Many people enjoy carb-heavy breakfasts, but here's what to do instead if you want to lose weight.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

You've most likely heard experts say that you should eat a healthy breakfast if you're trying to lose weight. But what does this mean, specifically? With all of the different advice out there on eating healthy, choosing the best breakfast food for weight loss can become an overwhelming process.

In order to learn more about healthy breakfast, we asked Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements, what she thinks is the best breakfast habit you can have in order to lose fat around your abdominal area. Her response? Add more protein

Read on to learn how eating enough protein in the morning can help you meet your weight loss goals. And for more healthy eating tips, don't miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.

Why carb-heavy breakfasts don't work

blueberry muffins

For many of us, it can be tempting to grab a quick doughnut or muffin on busy mornings, or on the days when you just don't feel like cooking breakfast. But unfortunately, starting your day off with only carbs and little to no protein can quickly lead to weight gain, especially around the abdominal area.

"Many breakfast carbs are refined and processed, and are nearly void of protein," says Best, "and this is a recipe for weight gain because refined carbohydrates are processed quickly by the body, leaving us feeling hungry again quickly [and increasing the potential to gain belly fat]. This results in a progression of over-consuming calories throughout the day and crashes from refined carbs and sugar."

Why having enough protein at breakfast is important

scrambled eggs

Best doesn't think you need to avoid carbohydrates at breakfast, she just believes that balancing it out with enough protein is the key to healthy belly fat loss.

"Protein will keep you feeling full for longer and therefore prevent overeating, so opt for egg muffins that you've made ahead if you need something quick, make yourself a protein smoothie or shake with fresh ingredients, or add walnuts and chia to the top of your yogurt," says Best, "because even a slight increase in lean protein added to your breakfast can help prevent sugar crashes, weight gain around the belly, and can even ignite weight loss."

And the research agrees. One study published in Nutrition and Metabolism found that high-quality protein was not only linked to fat loss, but specifically fat around the abdominal area.

READ MORE8 Best Protein Smoothie Recipes to Help Lose Abdominal Fat

The takeaway

Breakfast bento box high protein with hard boiled eggs fruit nuts cottage cheese cucumber

When you're looking for a breakfast food for weight loss, start your morning with something protein-heavy. Even though it's important, getting enough protein in your breakfast can sometimes be difficult, especially if you're someone who is always on the go.

If you need some protein-heavy breakfast inspiration, you can try some of these recipes.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha