We know, we know: You’re too busy to prep a powerhouse breakfast. Except now you’re not. Recent studies have found that in the time it takes to tie your shoes and toss your keys in your briefcase, you could put yourself on the path to faster weight loss, greater energy and sharper thinking just making a few fast tweaks to your morning meal. Set your timer for 60 seconds and dig in.
Go for a Green Banana
Next time you buzz up a smoothie, grab a greenish banana from your bunch and toss in a chunk. Prior to ripening, the fruits are rich in resistant starch, a hard-to-get form of fiber that digests slowly for prolonged feelings of fullness and more efficient fat oxidation. No worries if you prefer their older yellow-peel cousins, though: All bananas are packed with potassium, a nutrient that helps regulate fluid balance to flatten belly bloat.
Use Your Yolks
If you’ve been scarfing down scrambled egg whites, you’re missing out on one of Mother Nature’s most potent fat-fighting nutrients: choline. Found abundantly in egg yolks, this nutrient squelches the body’s output of leptin, a hunger-stoking hormone that fuels between-meal cravings. (Yolks also deliver vitamins D and B12, so they’re great for your bones and brain, too.) And not to worry that eggs will hike your cholesterol: Turns out those concerns from health experts back in the day were premature, and newer studies have found that cholesterol found in food has little to no connection with the kind that clogs arteries.
Sprinkle on Cinnamon
Seems everything about this spice is nice. The latest news is that cinnamon improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, according to findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a powerful effect that helps ensure incoming calories are converted to energy, not fat. And earlier research has shown that cinnamon heightens cognitive processing and brain function. (No wonder it's one of the healthiest spices on the planet). Dust a spoonful on coffee, oats and Greek yogurt, or stir it into a protein shake.
Nuke Your Tea
If been reading Eat This, Not That! for a while, you’ve probably heard that green tea is rich in catechins, compounds that signal fat cells to release trapped lipids. For even better results, zap your brew in the microwave for thirty seconds as it steeps. Researchers in one study found microwaving green tea bags in water extracted 20 percent more catechins than simply letting them sit in hot H2O. Further research will pinpoint why. Until then, zap away!
Have Another Helping
Yep, you read that right. Shuffling your calorie intake to make breakfast your biggest meal of the day could help you slim down, report researchers at Tel Aviv University. In their study, volunteers who downed a 700-calorie breakfast and a small dinner of 200 calories had lower glucose levels midday than participants who loaded up at night—a reliable predictor of appetite control. To hit the 700-calorie mark without resorting to a fast-food binge, enjoy three scrambled eggs (234 calories), a slice of 100% Whole Grain Cinnamon Raisin Bread (160 calories) topped with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter (200 calories) and a medium sliced banana (105 calories). And plan for a modest dinner.
Pick the Right Protein
Sure, bacon and sausage make your taste buds sing, they should be a tasty cheat, not starring in your regular a.m. rotation. The reason: Many brands of cured meats are loaded with potentially harmful nitrites and saturated fat—bad news for your heart and waistline alike. Instead, wake up to a slimming, savory protein source like eggs, canned wild salmon, Greek yogurt or a black-bean breakfast burrito.
Get 10 Grams
Of fiber, that is. Croissants, donuts and other greasy goodies contain little or none of this nutrient—a key to helping you feel full (for longer than five minutes) and curbing the accumulation of belly fat over time. Women need 25 grams a day of fiber to get the benefits; guys need 38. Get an early start on hitting the mark by toasting up a slice of whole-wheat toast, digging in to overnight oats (super easy to grab in the a.m.), spooning into a cup of fresh fruit (8 grams), and/or tossing a tablespoon of flaxseeds (2 grams) on your cereal.