TIME Diet/Nutrition

7 Breakfast Hacks for Weight Loss

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Danny Kim for TIME

Pick the right protein for your next homemade breakfast

In theory, opting for a homemade meal over something processed will almost always serve up more nutrition and save you tons of calories. The truth is, though, that many of us don’t know how to prepare a meal for optimal weight loss. These simple cooking tweaks can elevate your breakfast to the next level in terms of health and taste.

1. Eat the yolk

If you’ve only been scarfing down egg whites, you’re missing out on one of most potent fat-fighting nutrients: choline. Yolks also deliver vitamins D and B12, so they’re great for your bones and brain, too. And not to worry that eggs will hike your cholesterol: Turns out health experts’ concerns from back in the day were premature. Newer studies have found that dietary sources of cholesterol have little to no connection with the kind that clogs arteries.

2. Zap your tea

Green tea is rich in catechins, compounds that signal fat cells to release trapped lipids. For even better results, zap your brew in the microwave for thirty seconds as it steeps. Researchers in one study found microwaving green tea bags in water extracted 20 percent more catechins than simply letting them sit in hot H2O. Further research will pinpoint why, but until then, zap away.

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3. Go green

If you usually make oatmeal or a smoothie in the morning, grab a slightly green banana, slice it up and add it to the mix. Underripe bananas are rich in something called resistant starch, a type of starch that passes through the small intestine without being digested. This feeds healthy gut bacteria, leading to prolonged feelings of fullness and more efficient fat oxidation. What’s more, just one small banana serves up 20 percent of the day’s vitamin B6, a vital nutrient that helps convert food into energy.

4. Add an apple

If fruit salad is a typical addition to your morning meal, increase its fat burning power by adding in a chopped pink lady apple. Apples are one of the best fruit sources of fiber, a nutrient proven to be integral to reducing belly fat. In fact, one pool of researchers found that for every 10-gram increase of soluble fiber eaten per day, study participants shed 3.7 percent of visceral fat over five years.

5. Sprinkle on cinnamon

Seems everything about this spice is nice. The latest news is that cinnamon improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin, according to findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a powerful effect that helps ensure incoming calories are converted to energy, not fat. And earlier research has shown that cinnamon heightens cognitive processing and brain function. (No wonder it’s one of the Healthiest Spices on the Planet). Dust a spoonful on coffee, oats and Greek yogurt, or stir it into a protein shake.

Eat This, Not That!: 15 Healthy Breakfast Ideas: 5 Minutes, 5 Ingredients!

6. Pick the right protein

Sure, bacon and sausage make your taste buds sing, but they should be a tasty cheat, not starring in your regular A.M. rotation. The reason: Many brands of cured meats are loaded with potentially harmful nitrites and saturated fat—bad news for your heart and waistline alike. To stay safe and start slimming down, opt for Applegate Naturals’ Natural Classic Pork Breakfast Sausage. Made with humanely raised animals and minimal ingredients, Applegate’s version of the classic breakfast side delivers a solid protein-to-fat ratio. Or better yet, get your morning protein from source like eggs, canned wild salmon (one of the best fish for fat loss) or Greek yogurt.

Eat This, Not That!: 25 Best Egg Recipes for Weight Loss

7. Spice up your life

What do avocado toast, omelets, egg sandwiches and frittatas have in common? They all taste great with a sprinkle of pepper. Piperine, the compound that gives black pepper its characteristic taste, has been shown to stop adipogenesis, the formation of new fat cells. This can help shrink your waistline and lower your cholesterol levels.

Read the full list HERE. This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

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