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Make no mistake… breakfast is king! That’s right; just as our parents have always said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether you are trying to decrease body fat or stay energized throughout your day, breakfast is an important part of the equation.

Why is breakfast so important?

For starters, breakfast helps to set the tone for the day by refueling your body and providing essential nutrients. Research has shown that eating a balanced breakfast can increase your metabolism and decrease the desire to overeat later in the day. Additionally, breakfast can improve mood, help control stress, and reduce the risk for lifestyle-related diseases.

Eating a balanced breakfast may not seem easy. Due to busy lifestyles and packed schedules, we often resort to grabbing a quick, easy bite to eat that is usually calorie dense and nutrient poor. If this sounds familiar, it is time to make a change. Doing so might require that you practice a little “mind over mattress.” But rest assured, the positive benefit of getting up 15 minutes earlier to eat a nutritious breakfast far outweighs the benefit of that extra time in bed.

Build a Balanced Breakfast

Once you have made the decision to develop this new habit, it is time to consider what you should be eating. A healthy breakfast should leave you feeling satisfied and provide adequate energy to start the day. To meet this objective, breakfast should be a combination of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and a small amount of fat. Choose whole grains (toast, bagel, English muffin, oats), lean proteins (eggs, ham, powdered peanut butter), low-fat dairy (Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, cottage cheese), fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado).

Below are two examples of a dietitian-approved balanced breakfast:

Mexican breakfast burrito made with 1 medium whole-wheat tortilla, 2 scrambled eggs with ½ cup cooked vegetables, a sprinkle of reduced fat cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon avocado, and 2 tablespoons of salsa, paired with a piece of fruit (480 calories, 65 grams carbohydrate, 26 grams protein, 10 grams fat, 7 grams fiber).

Fruit smoothie made with 1 cup frozen fruit, 1 (5.3oz) container Greek yogurt, 1 cup low-fat milk, 3 tablespoons powdered peanut butter, and a handful of spinach (365 calories, 55 grams carbohydrate, 33 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 10 grams fiber).

This week, focus on eating a balanced breakfast every morning to get your day started right!