Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—if only you had a dollar for every time you’ve heard that! But really, it’s true. Eating within a couple of hours of waking up works with your body’s natural rhythm, jumpstarts your metabolism, and, in the long term, may protect you from developing diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, fewer people are eating breakfast than ever.
It’s easy to make excuses. Sure, you’re busy trying to get yourself (and everyone else!) out the door on time, or maybe you’re just not that hungry in the morning. But perhaps listing out some of the more immediate benefits that come with fueling up first thing—along with grab-and-go breakfast ideas—will help motivate you.
#1 More Get Up and Go
Food is fuel, so skipping your morning meal is like not stopping for gas when your tank’s empty—you won’t get far. Give your body a dose of healthy carbs from whole grains, fruits, veggies, or dairy. Add a small amount of caffeine into the mix, for an extra energy kick.
Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: Small nonfat latte (no flavored syrup or cream) + banana = 200 calories, 10 g protein, 3 g fiber
#2 Better Brain Power
Glucose is your brain’s favorite source of energy, so if you skip breakfast, your concentration and mental performance will likely suffer during those early morning meetings. If you go for eggs, the dose of choline they provide may boost your memory, too! No time to scramble? Premade hard-boiled eggs are always handy.
Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: 2 hard-boiled eggs + 1 cup baby carrots = 200 calories, 13 g protein, 4 g fiber
#3 Keep the Weight Off
People who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain their weight loss. But it can’t be just any breakfast—focus on fiber and protein for a hunger-satisfying meal that will keep sugar cravings away. Have a small handful of nuts, or grab a natural nut bar that doesn’t contain too many sneaky ingredients.
Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: Nut bar = 200 calories, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber
#4 Pack in More Nutrients
When you start your morning with the best intentions, there’s a good chance they’ll spill over into the rest of the day. Breakfast eaters tend to have better quality diets overall. Slip veggies into your morning meals and you’ll get an even greater boost! No time to make a green smoothie? Reach for a cup of carrot juice, and you can gulp 700 percent of your daily vitamin A needs in one go. Pair it with cheese, and your calcium stores get a big boost, too.
Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: 6 fl oz pure veggie juice + mozzarella cheese stick + 6 whole-wheat crackers = 220 calories, 11 g protein, 4 g fiber
#5 Be a Better Role Model
Kids tend to copy adults’ behavior. If they see you dashing out the door unfed, they’re less likely to think breakfast is important. Teach your little ones to start the day well nourished, and set them up for lifelong healthy habits. In an ideal world, you’d all sit down to yogurt, homemade granola, and berries. But in a pinch, chocolate milk offers calcium and protein!
Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: 8 fl oz low-fat chocolate milk + a handful of raspberries = 230 calories, 11 g protein, 4 g fiber
Make your first meal of the day a priority whenever you can, and set aside at least 10 to 15 minutes to enjoy it. Planning in advance can help: Spend a few minutes on a Sunday prepping an easy make-ahead breakfast, like overnight oats or egg muffins, or pre-chop ingredients for smoothies. And if you really can’t stomach food in the morning, it may be a sign that you’re eating too many calories at night. Slowly shift your intake to earlier in the day by including a small breakfast, and gradually you’ll wake up peckish, which is a sign you’re on the right track.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.