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35481931 - healthy breakfast on the kitchen tableYou’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? The whole idea behind breakfast is to have a strong start to your day, so why do so many people skip it altogether?

Surveys show that the No. 1 reason that people say they skip breakfast is to lose weight. But research shows that skipping breakfast often leads to increased calorie consumption, unhealthy food choices and weight gain. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply live a healthier life, do yourself a favor and don’t skip breakfast. Here’s how to make breakfast a healthy habit:

Get an early start. Put breakfast at the top of your morning to-do list. Eating a quality meal early can kick-start your metabolism and get your body going. If you feel like you’re lacking energy in the morning, eating breakfast early also can give your body the fuel it needs to get energized. You’ll also be more likely to avoid a mid-morning slump and less tempted to reach for an unhealthy snack.

Choose filling foods. It’s easy to eat something simply for the sake of saying you ate breakfast. The right foods, however, can make all the difference when you’re trying to meet health, wellness and weight loss/management goals. Foods high in protein and fiber are great choices for the first meal of the day. Avoid sugary pastries or muffins, which are full of empty calories. Instead, opt for a protein-rich food such as eggs or nuts paired with a high-fiber food such as fresh fruit and/or oatmeal.

Pick portions wisely. Large portion sizes, even when you’re consuming healthy foods, can undermine your efforts to maintain a healthy weight. Become a pro at picking proper portions by knowing what a reasonable serving really looks like. You want to eat enough to give your body the energy that it needs, but if you overdo it, you’ll feel sluggish and sleepy. Try splitting your plate into three sections: protein, carbohydrates, and fruits/vegetables.