Breakfast – the most important meal of the day?

20626665 - happy man eating cereal for breakfast in kitchen looking at cameraYou’ve heard it many times before: “Don’t skip breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.”

But is it really true? How has breakfast earned its reputation?

A good night’s sleep is important to your health. Your body uses that time to recuperate and restore. But when you wake up, your body also needs to refuel. That fuel comes from the food you eat. So starting your day with a nutritious meal really is important.

Eating breakfast is also important to help you control how you eat throughout the rest of the day. Research has shown that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight. According to the research, even though “people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have higher body mass index.” Why? One reason is because if you skip breakfast, you are more likely to snack on less healthy choices throughout the day.

But how can you get that fuel you need every morning? We all know mornings can sometimes be crazy. Or maybe you just don’t feel like eating when you get up. A little planning can help you make sure you start your day off strong. Setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier will give you just enough time to have a few minutes of quiet while you eat. Not going to happen? Opt for grab-and-go options. If you eat within a couple of hours of waking, you’ll still benefit. Consider these simple, quick and healthy breakfasts:

1. Fruit is always a good choice. Choose fruits that don’t require extra effort. Apples, bananas, pears are obvious choices. How about a bag of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries for something a little more fun? Add cheese for protein and you are good to go.

2. An English muffin topped with peanut butter, cottage cheese or avocado can go with you. If you have a little more time, add a cooked egg, spinach, tomato and cheese; then pop it under the broiler for a few minutes. For a special treat, try topping with this Swiss cheese mix topped with blueberries.

3. Yogurt. Plain or with just about any topping you can imagine. Nuts and seeds, granola, fruits and berries, honey, even hot sauce!

Breakfast is important to help you and your body get going. That said, you may actually need to delay eating for a little while in some cases. For example, if you exercise first thing in the morning, then you might want to wait until after your workout. The most important thing to remember is simply to make smart choices. Your body will thank you!