Belly fat can be one of the most stubborn things to lose. But eating breakfast is one strategy to help you start getting rid of it.
“There is no single food or meal plan that can specifically target belly fat. However, eating breakfast can make a difference when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance, but it all depends on what you’re eating and how much you’re eating,” notes Amber Pankonin, MS, RD, registered dietitian and owner of the Stirlist.
Science supports that regular breakfast consumption is essential to avoid the risk of gaining abdominal fat.
One 2018 study looked at the relation between breakfast composition and abdominal obesity in regular breakfast consumers. They found those with regular breakfast intake had lower levels of abdominal obesity if their breakfast was made of fruit, natural cereal flakes, nuts, seeds, and yogurt, says registered dietitian Jonathan Valdez, RDN, owner of Genki Nutrition and a spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Now that you know eating breakfast is a great first step in your belly fat battle, read on for the breakfast habits that will help you shrink belly fat. And for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.
“Eggs are low in calories but high in protein and other important nutrients,” says Pankonin.”Research has shown that when eggs are consumed at breakfast, this might help enhance weight loss. Protein foods like eggs can help increase satiety, which might help you eat fewer calories throughout the day.”
A 2015 study looked at the effects of regular high protein vs normal protein breakfasts on breakfast skipping adolescents with overweight and obesity and found that normal consumption of a high protein breakfast prevented fat gain, improved weight management, reductions in daily caloric intake, and reduced hunger.
“A high-protein breakfast includes 25-30 grams of protein,” says Valdez. “This type of breakfast can help improve weight management, reduce daily calorie consumption, and reduce hunger.”
RELATED: 19 High Protein Breakfasts That Keep You Full
“Alcoholic beverages can increase belly fat or make it difficult to decrease belly fat if you’re overconsuming,” says Pankonin. “It’s also important to consider the breakfast foods that are often paired with breakfast cocktails like fried pastries, so being more mindful of beverage choices might also influence food choices as well.”
“Skipping breakfast has been shown to be associated with a higher risk of overweight and obesity,” notes Valdez.
READ MORE: 21 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Skip Breakfast
“If you want to decrease belly fat through weight loss, choose foods that contain healthy fats while keeping calories in check,” says Pankonin. “Heart-healthy oils from plants and foods that are high in fiber can help increase satiety, which is really important when it comes to appetite control and weight loss.”
“A study showed that when consuming a meal at breakfast, it creates a twice as high diet-induced thermogenesis (i.e. the body’s process that burns calories) than if the same meal was eaten at dinner,” says Valdez. “Furthermore, low-calorie breakfast was shown to increase levels of hunger and appetites for sweets during the day.”
“Excess calories from sugar-sweetened beverages, like lattes with syrup or seasonal drinks, can lead to increased belly fat,” says Pankonin. “Instead, look for options that are lower in sugar like cold brew with a small amount of cream or a plain latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon.”
And for more, check out these 6 Coffee Habits That Help With Weight Loss, Dietitians Say.