Lifestyle

Weight loss: Four foods to eat at breakfast to blast belly fat

MANY of us are guilty of throwing a croissant or muffin in our mouths as we rush out the house in the morning.

But if you want to shift some belly fat, you’ll have to take more notice of your breakfast choices.

Having a healthy breakfast can set you up to make good food choices throughout the day.

One study of more than 1,300 Swiss people showed that participants with a healthy breakfast of yoghurt, fruit and nuts had less stomach fat than those who ate cereal or toast with spread.

The researchers said it was “partly explained by their healthier diet during the rest of the day”.

But it’s important to note that adding in one kind of food to your diet will not cause belly fat to melt away.

You can’t hope that some berries for breakfast will slim your waistline if you’re still still having a takeaway every night.

Fat loss is a combination of eating healthier and exercising more, in its core principles, and that goes for the stomach too.

But there are some key dietary habits that will help with belly fat loss – upping your intake of protein and fibre while making sure you don’t go overboard on the carbs or sugar. 

Read on to see how you can incorporate this into your breakfast every day:

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Eggs

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Regardless of the answer, if you can spare the time and effort to rustle them up first thing, you’ll be onto a winning breakfast, experts say.

Rob Hobson, a London-based nutritionist and head of Healthspan, told The Sun: “Eggs are breakfasts of champions – if you have time. 

“You can scramble them in a couple of minutes and have them on some brown toast or a wholemeal bagel.”

He also recommended an omelette, such as with vegetables or a side of fruit, or poached eggs with halloumi cheese.

Eggs have been proven to be a weight-beneficial way to start the day because they are filling – which makes you less likely to scavenge for snacks come 11am.

Eggs are high in protein – which is more filling than carbs or fats – and are bursting with essential nutrients. 

One study showed that men who had eggs for breakfast ate 270 to 470 less calories at lunch time compared to those who had cereal, toast or croissants first thing.

That’s bound to be beneficial for keeping your waistline trim.

Dr Mayur Ranchordas, an exercise physiologist and sport nutritionist at Sheffield Hallam, said you still have to be careful at breakfast to make sure the calories don’t rack up too high, even if the foods are healthy. 

He warned: “If you had two slices of wholemeal toast, poached eggs, salmon and avocado, that’s 700 to 800 calories in one breakfast.”

Yoghurt 

Regularly eating yogurt has been linked to a reduced risk of excess weight and obesity.

One study undertaken at the University of Tennessee revealed people dieting who ate three servings of yoghurt per day lost, on average, 61 per cent more belly fat compared to those who opted to diet without eating yoghurt.

It’s unlikely you’ll eat three servings of yoghurt per day, but the study simply proves the importance of nutrients like calcium for healthy weight loss.

Dr Michael Zemel, who led the study, said: "Not only did yogurt help the study participants lose more weight – the average weight loss was 13 pounds – they were about twice as effective at maintaining lean muscle mass.

“This is a critical issue when dieting. You want to lose fat, not muscle. Muscle helps burn calories, but it is often compromised during weight loss.

"The moral of the calcium story is to not dump dairy when you're dieting.”

Yoghurt is also a higher protein food – and protein does wonders for helping with busting body fat.

The only downside of the dairy product is that you can easily and accidentally chose one that could in fact hinder your weight loss goals. 

Rob said: "Fruit yoghurts have a lot of sugar in – up to the same amount as a chocolate bar.

“So go for natural or Greek yoghurt.

“If you eat too much sugar you obviously increase your risk of putting on weight and you could end up with sugar highs and lows.

“If you have a sugar spike followed by a sugar low, you might look around for sugary foods to bring you back up again.”

Porridge

Porridge is a popular choice for many people who want a comforting, nutritious and hassle-free breakfast. 

It has been shown to support a healthy weight.

For example one study that tracked the diets of 22,000 US adults showed that those who ate oatmeal had lower BMIs and waist sizes. 

The researchers said this may be because the participants had better diets in general, suggesting it is a top choice for those who are effortlessly slim.

Top nutritionist Susie Burrell says oats are “low GI carbs”.

She said: "If cereal is your thing look out for low sugar granola options or oats, fresh fruit is a great option to add too."

Low GI foods are those that release energy slower than high GI foods.

Some experts suggest using low-carb and higher fat and protein foods for a flatter belly over time.

But as long as you are cutting back on the overly processed carbs – like pastries, biscuits and cakes – you’re going to see some benefits quickly, regardless of what you do.

Oats are very versatile and quick to make.

To eat them hot, combine 50g of rolled or instant oats with 200ml (or more for runny porridge) of semi-skimmed milk in a bowl, and microwave on full power for two minutes.

To have them cold (and prepped ahead), combine oats with yoghurt or milk and let sit overnight in the fridge. 

Top either option with your fruit of choicsusiee – such as raspberries, mashed banana or mango. Some people like to add a little honey for sweetness, too.

Smoothie

One of The Association of UK Dieticians’ top tips for breakfast is to include fruit and vegetables.

It says: “Fruit and vegetables often get forgotten about at breakfast time. This is a great opportunity to add some into our day, and there are lots of delicious options.”

Fruit and vegetables contain fibre, which “make us feel fuller” while contributing to lower disease risk, the NHS says.

We are supposed to eat 30g of fibre every day, but most barely hit 20g.

It may seem difficult – sometimes stomach-churning – to some greens in your morning meal.

But they are easily disguisable in smoothies, which are also a great option for an on-the-go or office desk breakfast. 

You can chuck in vitamin and mineral rich ingredients like spinach, kale, avocado, ginger – which certainly wouldn’t usually be part of a cereal breakfast.

Smoothies can get a bad wrap (especially if shop bought) because they can end up becoming quite high in calories if you're not careful. 

But Rob said: “I don't like anything that deters people from fruit and veg.

“If you eat them whole, you get the benefit of the fibre rather than extracting the juice.”

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