Pick a Cereal With Large Flakes
Size matters—even when it comes to wheat flakes. In a new study from Penn State, researchers crushed up cereal to create four different sizes of flakes. Because the cereal that was crushed into smaller pieces was denser when participants poured it into a bowl, people underestimated the number of calories in those bowls. The lesson here: If you choose bigger flakes, you'll consume fewer calories without even noticing the difference.
Eat Oat Bran
We're the first to admit that oat bran isn't exactly the sexiest breakfast food. But it is one of the smartest: A recent studyfound that one of its key nutrients—fiber—keeps you fuller, longer, meaning you won't get hit by random cravings throughout the day. (And you know what? These apple-cinnamon oat bran muffins are kind of sexy!)
Have a Big(ger) Breakfast
Yep, a larger morning meal might mean more calories, but it also might mean more efficient weight loss. In a recent study, one group of people ate 700 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 200 calories at dinner, while another group ate 200 calories at breakfast, 500 calories at lunch, and 700 calories at dinner. Twelve weeks later, those who’d been eating a 700-calorie breakfast had lost two and a half times more weight than the other group, likely because your metabolism is at its most efficient in the a.m. But don't gorge on empty calories, of course—make 'em count, like with these yummy ideas.
Stock Up on Protein Early
Another way to rein in your appetite and fend off cravings? A protein-packed first meal, which one study has shown to produce a potent satiety signaler called peptide YY. In the study, participants who consumed a protein-rich breakfast reported feeling less hungry and ate fewer indulgent snacks after dinner. Check out the protein-packed recipes in the link above, or stock up on some of these protein bars if you tend to rush out the door in the morning.
A bowl of cereal with large flakes: great. A bowl of oatmeal: possibly even better. See, according to a recent study, people who ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast described themselves as less hungry and more satisfied than people who ate the same amount of calories in cereal. (Thanks, fiber!) Upgrade your bland bowl to #OatmealPorn status with these toppings.
Add Some Eggs to Your Breakfast
Some eggs-cellent (sorry, we had to) news: Research has shown that eating two eggs in the morning can lead to more effective weight loss than inhaling a breakfast bagel. The thinking is that the high amount of protein—about 5.5 grams in one medium egg—keeps you full. Bonus: They also contain a nutrient called choline, which improves nervous system function and cardiovascular health.
Top Your Toast with Peanut Butter
One of the easiest-to-make breakfasts—peanut butter on toast—is also one of the healthiest. In one study, participants who ate peanuts and peanut butter in the a.m. had higher levels of peptide YY, a.k.a. the "I feel full now" hormone; their blood sugar levels also spiked less after eating a carb-heavy lunch. Just be smart about your PB&T since each two-tablespoon serving contains about 190 calories.