Food for thought: How to get a healthy breakfast

Fitting in a nutritious meal during the morning rush can be challenging. Here are a few tips to help make sure you don\'t miss the most important meal of the day. (Thinkstock)

Lisa Reed, special to

WASHINGTON – “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s something you hear all the time – and it’s no joke.

Starting your morning with a good breakfast will give you the fuel you need to stay energized and focused throughout the day. It will also help your body use food calories more efficiently.

Skipping breakfast can cause a lot more trouble than just the mid-morning munchies. A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that men who regularly skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease than those who eat breakfast on a regular basis.

It’s not always easy to eat breakfast as you’re rushing to work or school. Fortunately, breakfast doesn’t have to be a big production – it can be quick, easy and portable.

Here are a few simple ways you can set yourself up for a successful day.

  • Make breakfast the night before: If your mornings are usually a blur, prepare your meal before you go to bed and then grab it and go when you wake up. An egg white omelet with potatoes is an easy meal that can be made in advance and reheated in the morning.
  • Keep the basics on hand: Having a few key items stocked in the house will make it easier to make – and eat – your breakfast in the morning. Whole grain toast, peanut butter, whole-grain/high-fiber cereal, whole fruits and Greek yogurt are all examples of staple breakfast items that pack in energy and nutrition.
  • Don’t stick to traditional breakfast items: If you don’t like cereal or yogurt for breakfast, don’t sweat it. As long as you keep it balanced and healthy, you can mix it up. Try leftovers from the night before, such as a piece of grilled chicken.
  • Drink your breakfast: If you really have no time, or no appetite for breakfast, try drinking it instead. Make a smoothie with basic ingredients (Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, oatmeal or peanut butter). You can even throw some veggies in there for an added boost. Try whatever sounds good to you – the possibilities are endless.
  • Pack your bag: Keep your desk or gym bag stocked with protein bars and fruit for those days you forget to pack breakfast.

Eating breakfast will wake up your mind and body and will improve your health and your capacity for learning. With all those benefits from one simple meal, make sure not to miss out.

Lisa Reed is a certified personal trainer in the D.C. area and owner of Lisa Reed Fitness. Read more about Lisa at Follow @lisareedfitness and @WTOPLiving on Twitter.

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