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Looking to lose a few pounds? Dish up a bigger breakfast. Recent research shows that a morning meal that's 400 to 500 calories helps you feel full and may make it easier to stick to your diet. The secret ingredient: approximately 200 calories of lean protein, like eggs or low-fat Canadian bacon. "In our study, people who ate extra protein in the a.m. felt more satisfied," says study author Heather Leidy, PhD, an assistant professor of dietetics and nutrition at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. "Protein keeps you fuller longer than carbs, so eating it for breakfast helps you cut calories all day." Taking time for breakfast is one of the smartest things you can do for your health. Women who eat it every day are not only thinner, but they also have lower cholesterol levels and less risk for type 2 diabetes than those who skip it, research shows. That's because breakfast foods tend to be high in health-boosting nutrients like fiber, experts say. Not the morning-meal type? "A lot of people don't have time for it, but they pay the price by overeating later," says FITNESS advisory board member Leslie Bonci, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "It's crucial to have something healthy."
Rise and Dine
Having a big breakfast doesn't mean you have to nibble a tiny salad for dinner. If you're trying to lose weight, stick to a 1,600-calories-a-day plan, aiming for 400 to 500 calories at each meal with enough reserved for a snack or two. Can't stomach eggs? Bored silly by cereal? No worries. Try these delicious solutions from Bonci for all your breakfast troubles.