Breakfast is the prime opportunity to set yourself up for success. If you're looking to slim down your waistline or trim excess body fat, making healthy choices at the start of the day will keep you motivated when you head off to work and out to social plans. Having just the right tools on deck, along with healthy breakfast options in your kitchen, is a surefire way to speed up your weight loss progress. We spoke with Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, a nutritionist in private practice, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, who shares some of the best breakfast habits for women to lose belly fat.
Include protein in your breakfasts.
A breakfast that's high in protein is king when you're trying to shed stubborn fat—and research says so. For example, a 2015 study revealed that participants who savored a high-protein egg breakfast dropped more weight and were more satiated than participants who had steamed bread.
"Eggs are an excellent breakfast food to incorporate into your diet," Young explains. "They are rich in protein (and contain all essential amino acids) and are nutrient-dense, providing a variety of nutrients. Eggs can also help with portion control due to their high protein content. Another contributing factor to weight loss is that eggs keep you full for a long period of time."
So whether you whip up a tasty breakfast hash with sweet potatoes, an omelet, egg muffins, or a smoothie with yogurt and granola, know that by consuming a high-protein breakfast, your day is off to a solid start.
Make oatmeal one of your go-to staples.
"Oats are a good source of soluble fiber, which has been said to slow down digestion," Young explains. "A great way to start your morning is pairing your oatmeal with some berries. Berries contain fiber, and fiber is linked with weight management." Get into the breakfast habit of whipping yourself up a bowl of oats, and you'll enjoy a healthy fill of both fiber and protein, which will help you stay fuller for longer.
Always eat while sitting.
You may be surprised to learn that sitting down to eat can have a major impact on your weight loss efforts. According to a study by the University of Surrey published in the Journal of Health Psychology, busy women who take their meals to go in the morning may be at a greater risk of eating more later on. This could result in unwanted pounds. The research also revealed that eating food while walking leads to more overeating when compared to savoring your food while sitting down and chatting with friends, for instance.
Lead study author, Professor Jane Ogden from the University of Surrey, explained, "Eating on the go may make dieters overeat later on in the day. This may be because walking is a powerful form of distraction which disrupts our ability to process the impact eating has on our hunger. Or it may be because walking, even just around a corridor, can be regarded as a form of exercise which justifies overeating later on as a form of reward."
Needless to say, if you want to lose belly fat and weight all over, it's time to slow down and sit down. The next time you're thinking about running out the door and taking your breakfast to go, carve out a bit of time to sit down, relax, and actually enjoy your meal!
Incorporate fiber in the form of fresh fruit.
Fruit boasts a natural sweetness, an impressive variety of nutrients, aesthetically pleasing hues, and of course, delicious flavor. Fruit is also full of fiber, which can help you lose body fat and eventually reach your ideal weight.
There's a ton of research out there that associates fruit with "anti-obesity effects." What's more, a study conducted by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center reveals the consumption of blueberries could help you trim down your midsection. So consider adding some fresh fruit like bananas, avocados, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, pears, or grapefruit to your next breakfast.
Limit refined grains, and focus on whole grains.
Young suggests ditching the spread of breakfast pastries for a much healthier alternative—whole-grain bread with your favorite nut butter. It'll still be a delicious treat!
"Whole wheat bread is high in fiber, which is linked to weight loss," Young explains. "Whole wheat bread is considered a whole-grain product, and research shows that consuming whole grains instead of refined grains may help lower your risk of obesity."
In addition, nut butter comes with a host of health benefits; it's a stellar source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. And as previously mentioned, protein and fiber promote weight management and keep you full long after you finish breakfast.
Have some flax and chia seeds.
Whether you're in the mood for a fresh smoothie, some Green yogurt, or a savory quinoa breakfast bowl, add flax and chia seeds into the mix. You likely won't even notice they're there and will be soaking up plenty of fat-blasting benefits.
"Flax and chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can potentially aid in weight loss," Young explains. "Flaxseeds also contain both insoluble and soluble fiber, which are both very essential for gut health. The insoluble fibers in flaxseeds help to decrease constipation and promote healthy bowel movements."