Seeking a way to halt late-night cravings and nibbles? The secret may be in the most important meal of the day, otherwise known as breakfast.

Eating a breakfast that is high in protein may significantly curb appetite and reduce unhealthy munching on high-fat and sugar-loaded snacks later at night, according to new research performed by Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Missouri.

When 20 overweight young women (ages 18 to 20) either skipped breakfast, ate a high-protein breakfast including eggs and lean beef, or ate a ready-to-eat cereal containing a moderate amount of protein, each containing 350 calories, the high-protein breakfast (which packed 35 g of protein) was found to increase feelings of satiety, or fullness, and curb the activity in the brain behind food cravings.

The high-protein breakfast was also found to reduce evening snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods compared to those who skipped breakfast or who had the moderate -protein cereal.

Those in the high-protein group ate egg-and-beef foods such as burritos or egg-based waffles with applesauce and a beef sausage patty.

Eating plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese (just watch the sodium), or ground pork loin are other possible alternatives to help you reach the 35 grams of breakfast protein, suggested Leidy.

Future research will look at whether regularly consuming high-protein breakfasts improves body weight management.

What is Your go-to breakfast? Is it high in protein?