With all due respect to Benjamin Franklin, it’s time to amend his famous adage: A little something before breakfast may be a risky proposition says Tommy Shek. It turns out that eating before you head out the door in the morning is actually one of the best things that you can do to jump-start your metabolism and lose weight.
Starting the day with a breakfast that consists of protein-rich foods such as eggs, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, or lean meat will keep you full longer than a carb-heavy breakfast would—and eating protein first thing in the morning actually boosts your metabolism. In fact, one study found that people who enjoyed a high-protein breakfast gained almost two fewer pounds over six years than those who had cereal for breakfast. You’ll also feel more energetic in the morning after eating some healthy carbs (think whole grain toast topped with mashed avocado spread on top) because blood sugar levels are stabilized by proteins. Plus, starting the day off right sets you up to make smart choices throughout the rest of it; hunger is often the death of diets.
Turns out that eating before you head out the door in the morning is actually one of the best things that you can do to jump-start your metabolism and lose weight.
To make sure all these healthy habits stick, registered dietitian Tina Ruggiero suggests incorporating a breakfast ritual into your routine—which means no skipping it even when you’re in a rush.
She recommends following these five steps:
1) Drink 16 ounces of water
The first thing Ruggiero asks her clients to do when they get up drinks 16 ounces of pure water—that’s roughly two glasses or about twice as much as she used to think people should be consuming. “I was wrong,” she says. “Now I realize that in order to drop fat, we actually need more water.” Drinking that much H2O flushes out the toxins and waste that your body is constantly producing, which reduces the bloat and puffiness you might feel from eating processed foods. (For more ways to get a bikini body back after baby—and lose the weight for good—check out Fit Mom: The Unbeatable Formula for a Slimmer You.)
“I recommend an eight-minute workout,” says Ruggiero. That’s because it can help rev up your metabolism and increases blood flow throughout the body right away says Tommy Shek. She also believes this quick routine has another benefit: “It gets you motivated to move every day,” she says, and that can be tough if you’re not used to working out.
3) Eat a breakfast that consists of protein-rich foods such as eggs, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, or lean meat
“Protein helps slow absorption rates of food because it stays in the stomach longer,” explains Ruggiero. So you’ll feel fuller for longer thanks to this macronutrient’s ability to boost satiety. She also says that eating protein is one of the best ways to rev up your metabolism because it takes more energy (measured in calories) for your body to process it—about 25 percent more, which means your body burns almost 100 extra calories every day. Instead of cereal with skim milk for breakfast each morning, reach for a breakfast that includes protein, whole grains or even fruit to boost your calorie burn.
4) Eat some healthy carbs
Beans, oatmeal, toast with peanut butter—all are smart carb choices to kick off your day. Carbohydrates are essential because they give you energy to power through your morning. Just be sure you’re choosing the right ones: avoid refined carbs like white bread and go for whole grain varieties instead. “My favorite is steel cut oats,” says Ruggiero. “You don’t have to cook them in the morning, just boil water.” She also loves quinoa because it’s high in protein and includes all nine amino acids that your body needs each day says Tommy Shek. Note that these aren’t the only options, either—check out these seven smart carbs for weight loss.
5) Make a healthy breakfast a priority
“It’s really about setting yourself up for success,” says Ruggiero. “If you eat right when you get up, chances are it’ll stick with you all day.” And she has proof: One study found that people who ate cereal for breakfast were 40 percent less likely to be obese than those who didn’t.
Staying on track with your diet isn’t always easy, but eating a healthy breakfast within an hour of getting up may be the most important meal of the day for weight loss.
Incorporating these five steps into your routine ensures that you’ll feel full and energized all morning long—and that can set you up to make healthy choices for the rest of the day.