Are you a breakfast-skipper? Or do you usually just toss a piece of toast in your mouth on your way out the door? Hate to break it to you, but skimping on your a.m. meal is a big mistake. What you put on your plate in the morning may have a major affect on your metabolism throughout the day.
In fact, a February 2020 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that eating a big breakfast rather than a large dinner may help rev up your metabolism, prevent high blood sugar and obesity and reduce appetite and sweets cravings.
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Indeed, researchers discovered that when you eat a robust breakfast, you expend more than twice the energy (read: burn more calories) in the morning than if you wolfed down the same meal in the evening. That's because your body uses energy (in the form of calories) to digest food, and this process — known as diet-induced thermogenesis — burns more calories in the a.m.
Another study, published December 2013 in Obesity, noted that consuming a high-calorie breakfast with a smaller dinner resulted in greater weight loss, reduced waist circumference and lower levels of blood sugar, insulin, hunger hormones and triglycerides.
So, ready to ramp up your metabolism? These hearty breakfast ideas will get your metabolic furnace fired up.
1. Easy Poached Egg Avocado Toast
With a beautiful balance of complex carbs, healthy fats and protein, this tasty avocado toast is the perfect way to start your day.
Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are also a good source of oleic oils, which have been found to increase fat oxidation and boost metabolic rate, dietitian Leslie Langevin, RD, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Get the Easy Poached Egg Avocado Toast recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Portabella Egg Sandwich
Meaty portabella mushrooms substitute for a muffin in this low-carb (only 8 grams per serving), high-protein breakfast sandwich.
"Organic ham and eggs also help provide a good source of zinc, which is necessary for our main metabolic regulator — the thyroid — to function properly," Langevin says.
Get the Portabella Egg Sandwich recipe and nutrition info here.
Read more: Is It OK to Eat Eggs Every Day?
3. Vegan Curry Sunrise Scramble
Tofu gives eggs a run for their money in this plant-based breakfast scramble overflowing with veggies and flavor.
Eating a high-protein diet (this dish has 16 grams) can increase satiety hormones (while reducing those that make us feel hungry) and raise diet-induced thermogenesis, according to a November 2014 study in Nutrition & Metabolism. In other words, high-protein foods like tofu keep you full and help you burn more calories, thus enhancing your metabolic rate.
Get the Vegan Curry Sunrise Scramble recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Tex-Mex Vegan Breakfast Hash
This Tex-Mex inspired hash replaces starchy potatoes with protein-packed tofu for a tasty, carb-controlled breakfast option that'll get your metabolic engines revving. Piling your plate with belly-filling veggies like bell peppers is also a great way to make you feel fuller with fewer calories, Langevin says.
Get the Tex-Mex Vegan Breakfast Hash recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Cajun Turkey and Greens Hot Cereal Bowl
Start your morning with something savory, like this hearty soup-and-oatmeal combo that features Cajun-seasoned lean ground turkey and packs a whopping 30 grams of protein per serving.
And by incorporating old-fashioned rolled oats — a fiber-rich whole grain food — you'll stay fuller and burn more calories than you would noshing on a processed grain counterpart (think: boxed cereal), Langevin says.
Get the Cajun Turkey and Greens Hot Cereal Bowl recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Mochaccino Smoothie
Can't get motivated without your morning cup of joe? Then, you'll love this mocha-based breakfast in a glass with a touch of caffeine that not only provides an a.m. pick-me-up but also a natural (albeit temporary) metabolism boost, Langevin says.
Plus, plant-based pea milk is packed with protein, which requires more energy (aka calories) for your body to digest.
Get the Mochaccino Smoothie recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Hemp Protein Pancakes
These protein-packed pancakes get triple the muscle-building power thanks to a trio of garbanzo bean flour, eggs and hemp seeds.
Not only rich in protein, eggs and hemp seed hearts also provide a hefty dose of omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for your heart and your metabolism, Langevin says. Indeed, a small December 2015 study published in PLOS One found that taking omega-3 supplements for 12 weeks increased resting and exercise metabolic rate in healthy older women.
Get the Hemp Protein Pancakes recipe and nutrition info here.
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- Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: “Twice as High Diet-Induced Thermogenesis After Breakfast vs Dinner On High-Calorie as Well as Low-Calorie Meals.”
- Obesity: “High caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women.”
- PLOS One: "Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for 12 Weeks Increases Resting and Exercise Metabolic Rate in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Females."
- Nutrition & Metabolism: "A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats."