Even though the mantra "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" was actually a marketing ploy to get you to buy more cereal, there's something to be said about how a good breakfast can set you up for success. Not only can incorporating a few healthy breakfast habits help you to feel satisfied and energized for the day ahead, but it can also help you achieve that flat belly you've always dreamed of having.
How? Because healthy breakfast habits can lead to healthy eating habits, which can help you with stubborn belly bloat.
In order to determine a few healthy breakfast habits, we spoke with Maggie Michalczyk, RDN and founder of OnceUponAPumpkinRD.com, who recently published The Great Big Pumpkin Cookbook. In particular, she says that not eating a good breakfast can even be the reason why you're constantly feeling hungry at the end of the day.
"I think breakfast is a good place to start if you constantly find yourself starving at night," says Michalczyk. "Maybe you're not eating enough at breakfast and it could be time to add some more protein and fiber to it!"
So if you're always feeling bloated (and hungry), here are a few healthy breakfast habits to follow that will help flatten out your belly. And for more healthy eating tips, check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
Eat a well-rounded breakfast.
When it comes to putting together a breakfast that will actually help you to feel full throughout the day, there are three important aspects of your meal to look for.
For some "good carbohydrates," you can turn to our list of complex carbohydrates to get you started. A few easy ones can include whole grain bread (or tortillas), oatmeal, or even black beans.
One example of an easy well-rounded breakfast could be as simple as a plate of two scrambled eggs with some cheese and a side of whole-grain bread. Or make an egg scramble with black beans and top with slices of avocado!
Incorporate one fruit or vegetable.
"One small habit I recommend including is trying to incorporate at least one fruit or vegetable at breakfast," says Michalczyk. "I love incorporating fruit for more fiber at breakfast—I'm talking berries or sliced bananas on my oatmeal or on the side of eggs, etc."
If you're not in the mood for fruit, add in a vegetable to your egg scramble for an extra boost of nutrients!
Look for fiber.
"Foods with fiber like fruits, veggies, nuts seeds, and whole grains are great for digestion (and they help to keep you fuller for longer) which can help alleviate some of that bloat," says Michalczyk. "Oats are also a good source of fiber, so something like oatmeal with fruit and pumpkin seeds or almonds would be a protein and fiber-packed breakfast."
Make some breakfast foods ahead of time.
"If I know it's going to be a busy week ahead I will prep a few things in advance that I can grab for breakfast," says Michalczyk. "Making a few things ahead of time [can help] like hard boiling a batch of eggs, making baked oatmeal, overnight oats, [or] making a veggie frittata."
Eat nutrient-dense meals during the week.
When it comes to planning out your breakfasts for the week, look to make your breakfasts nutrient-dense. Following that easy first rule to add a protein, a healthy fat, and a carb to your meal can make this a lot easier.
"I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to the rule, (because sometimes pancakes for dinner sound good, too), but I think fueling your morning to feel your best during the week is important and really sets your whole day up for success."
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Save "fun" breakfasts for the weekend.
"I like to save fun breakfasts like pancakes, waffles, and crepes, for slower weekend mornings and aim to get a slightly more nutrient-dense breakfast every day of the week."
So if you've been eyeing one of our fun brunch recipes, take some time on a lazy morning this weekend and treat yourself to something fun!
Find some simple swaps.
Going from zero to hero isn't always helpful in terms of trying to eat healthy. Michalczyk recommends slowly looking for simple swaps in your diet that can change up your breakfast routine.
"I think breakfast is a great place to start when it comes to adding more nutrition into your diet and there are small ways," she says. "You don't have to completely overhaul what you're eating, maybe just try for one swap a week [like] swapping high sugar granola in your yogurt for nuts and seeds."