You can build the foundation for a winning day by simply starting the day with breakfast. I know you’ve heard it before, it’s true, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you are grabbing your house keys and heading out in the mornings without eating trying to save time, or calories you are squandering the savings. By skipping breakfast, the fuel that your body and brain need to get started and help you focus on high performance–or simply focus is missing. The effort to save calories by skipping a meal cancels out because by midday you’re pretty hungry and are more likely to eat more, and consume more calories than you would have if you had started the day with breakfast.

When you wake up in the morning your body has been fasting—going without food during the hours while you were sleeping. Breakfast “breaks the fast;” it provides the body and the brain with the energy needed to function. If you start the day without the needed energy the results are like trying to drive your car without gas—think of your body as your vehicle. Studies show that when adults and children eat breakfast it is easier for them to concentrate, they are more productive, and have better problem-solving skills. In short, skipping breakfast may result in poorer performance—it may appear that they are not very bright.

Breakfast also aids in eating adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals recommended for a healthy lifestyle. If you eat breakfast you are more likely to control your weight and eat less fat and cholesterol. Key ingredients for a healthy breakfast include:

Whole grain rolls, bagels, cereals, low-fat bran muffins, English muffins, Melba toast, and, crackers.

Low-fat protein such as peanut butter, almond butter, Nutella® spread, Canadian bacon, low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks, turkey bacon and sausage, scrambled egg whites or an egg-white omelet, hard-cooked eggs or vegetarian protein items.

Low-fat or fat free dairy foods i.e., fat-free milk, Greek-style low-fat yogurt, cottage and natural cheeses.

Fruits and vegetables including fresh or frozen items, 100 percent juice beverages without added sugar, fruit or vegetable smoothies.

If you’ve been a ‘breakfast skipper,” try these tactics to help ease this important meal into your day. Here are some tips for making this meal a little easier to get on the table (or in your hand on the way out the door).

1. Pre-pack to-go bags the day before a crazy morning. Include a zip-top plastic bag of granola; add a hard-cooked egg, low-fat yogurt, and a handful of grapes just before you leave.

2. Have a smoothie. Just make sure to add some protein, like yogurt, whey protein powder, or tofu, to keep you satisfied longer.

3. Make quick and healthy breakfast sandwiches with frozen waffles (toasted), peanut butter and sliced banana.

4. Set foods aside the night before; cut up fruits, pour cereal or prepare mixtures for baked or scrambled eggs.

5. Consider steel-cut oats for a super-healthy and convenient meal. Combine the oats and water, bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let set overnight. The next morning, you just have to reheat them.

6. Use your microwave. Most hot cereals have microwave instructions. Mix the cereal with liquid and flavorings, pop it in the microwave and finish dressing while breakfast cooks itself.

7. Keep your freezer stocked with frozen waffles and healthy breakfast burritos.

8. Don’t think of berries as an extravagance. They’re outrageously good for you and they dress up a bowl of cereal.

9. Prepare hard-cooked eggs in advance. Hard-cooked eggs in the shell can be stored in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days.

10. Always keep a bowl of fresh seasonal fruits available for the easiest grab-and-go.

Adding breakfast to the day is easy; just make a few adjustments to your schedule, plan ahead, and grab-and-go with one of these simple breakfast choices.

Take away: Breakfast is the most important meal. If you get started with breakfast, you are well on the way to jumpstarting the day with optimum energy.

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You can build the foundation for a winning day by simply starting the day with breakfast. I know you've heard it before, it's true, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you are grabbing your house keys and heading out in the mornings without eating trying...