Eating breakfast has its benefits. Your body and brain will be fueled up for the morning’s work, and your belly won’t grumble during that 9:30 a.m. meeting with the boss. But perhaps best of all, if you’re hoping to achieve or maintain a flatter stomach, eating breakfast can help kickstart your metabolism, burning calories ahead of your peers who may opt to skip their morning meals.
Studies strongly suggest that regularly eating breakfast is associated with less weight gain and belly fat. For example, a 2018 study from the Mayo Clinic funded by the American Heart Association and National Institutes of Health found that the waist circumference of adults who skipped breakfast was larger than that of people who ate breakfast four to seven days a week. People who had breakfast five to seven times weekly reported the least weight gain, while the prevalence of obesity was higher among breakfast skippers.
If that study makes you want to set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier to get into the breakfast habit, check out these expert-recommended breakfast habits that may help you achieve a flatter stomach. Then for more breakfast-related tips that can benefit your overall health, check out 9 Best Breakfast Recipes for a Longer Life.
According to certified strength and conditioning specialist and sports chiropractor Dr. Matt Tanneberg, CSCS, when you don’t feed it in the morning, “your metabolism will dramatically slow down. Your body stops burning calories because it’s trying to hang on to anything it can.”
“Ideally, you should eat within 30 minutes of waking to replenish your body, so it can function properly throughout the day,” Tanneberg told Eat This, Not That!
Not only is your body in a fasted state when you wake up, but it’s also dehydrated. This is why it’s recommended that you also drink a glass of water shortly after waking.
Drinking water upon waking up signals your body that it’s time to start the day, reinforcing what Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN, refers to as “one of the most powerful nutrition habits we have.”
In fact, drinking two glasses of water before breakfast and every subsequent meal is one of the practices that helped Muhlstein reportedly lose 100 pounds, a milestone she shares in her book You Can Drop It!: How I Dropped 100 Pounds Enjoying Carbs, Cocktails & Chocolate—And You Can Too!
“Thinking ‘water first’ helps you make better eating decisions all day,” Muhlstein suggests.
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When preparing breakfast, you want to be sure that the meal enables your ability to consume enough calories as it covers all the macronutrient bases, Tanneberg advises. This means getting a well-balanced plate that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
“Carbohydrates are not the enemy; they are our source of energy,” Tanneberg says. “Fruit is an excellent source of ‘good carbs’ to complement a healthy morning meal.”
When trying to diversify the macros on your plate, go for eggs. Eggs are not only high in protein, but they also provide good fats, as well.
“[Combining all the macros] will help you eliminate belly fat and stay satisfied and full throughout the day,” Tanneberg explains.