Is your hand glued to your snack stash through the day? It might be time to make over your morning meal, finds a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers from the University of Missouri tested the breakfast habits of 20 overweight teenage girls, having them consume either a normal amount of protein through cereal (13 grams of protein), a high-protein breakfast of eggs and beef (35 g), or no breakfast at all for six days. On day seven, the girls took part in a 10-hour testing day, that included an all-you-can-eat dinner of microwaveable pizza pockets, as well as an unlimited evening snack of foods such as cookies, cakes, apple slices, and yogurt.
The results? After the breakfast skippers, the high-protein breakfast group felt more satisfied through the day than the normal-protein group. What’s more is that when it came to snacking, the high-protein group indulged a bit less than their normal-protein counterparts.
But, before you think, “Aha! Skipping breakfast leads to fewer calories,” keep in mind that a slew of studies show that not having breakfast leads to overeating later in the day–plus, the girls in the no breakfast group snacked more than high-protein eaters on the last day of the study.
“Splitting up the protein throughout the day allows us to mix in protein with our other meals and snacks, which helps to keep us full-it’s the combination of protein, fiber, fat, and water that keeps us satiated,” says Michelle Davenport, PhD, a nutritionist in San Francisco.
Beginning your day with a high-protein breakfast is a start.
Here are four more steps to help you prevent a late-day binge:
1. Drink up.
Shoot for 8 to 9 glasses of water per day, or more if you’re active, suggests Davenport.
2. Fill up on fiber.
This is another important component to feeling full, says Davenport. Plus, researchers at the University of Leeds recently found that upping your fiber intake can lower your risk for stroke. Get it from veggies and nuts such as almonds or pistachios.
3. Don’t avoid fat.
Healthy fats, like those found in avocados and salmon, slow digestion to help you feel fuller longer, says Davenport.
4. Have healthy snacks on hand.
Always carry some healthy snacks like nuts, cheese, jerky, hard boiled eggs so that you don’t end up waiting to eat until you’re starving-and noshing on everything in sight.