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posted: 8/5/2013 6:00 AM

Start your day with a healthy meal

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  • You don't have to eat traditional breakfast foods in the morning. Try a protein like chicken with some veggies.

      You don't have to eat traditional breakfast foods in the morning. Try a protein like chicken with some veggies.

 

We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It seems like such a logical concept -- wake up, feed your body and get on with your day. But many people "don't have time" or "just aren't hungry" and either skip breakfast altogether or grab less than desirable options.

The following are five great reasons to eat breakfast every day.

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Control blood sugar levels:By the time morning rolls around, your body has been without food for several hours. Depending on the time of your last meal, your blood sugar levels are on the lower end of the optimal range and need replenished before you become too active. If you skip breakfast your blood sugar will drop out of range and negatively affect your health. Eat something high in sugar and you may temporarily feel energized, but crash later. Avoid both scenarios by eating a complete meal that contains lean protein, healthy fats and a low-calorie carbohydrate.

Support metabolism: If you're running on fumes until lunch time, your body will slow down its own metabolism to conserve energy. When you do finally eat, your body will store as many calories as possible in an effort to make it to the next meal. This will slow down your metabolism, negatively affect your body composition and eventually lead to weight gain.

Stay healthy: A daily dose of breakfast increases the amount of nutrients available to your body. Remember, our bodies don't run just on calories, but on the nutrients that make up those calories. Studies have shown that non-breakfast eaters are more likely to be malnourished than regular breakfast eaters. A malnourished body is more prone to injury and disease.

Feel better: No one likes feeling hungry for extended periods of time. This is what your cells feel like when you skip breakfast. They're hungry, tired and not very happy. But by eating a balanced breakfast, you'll recharge your cells and improve your energy, mood, mental clarity and productivity.

Take a break: Breakfast is a perfect opportunity to relax for a few minutes before starting your busy day. So many times, breakfast gets neglected because it doesn't seem important at the time, or you scarf something down on your morning commute. Use breakfast as a chance to slow down and take a moment to do something good for yourself.

So what should you eat for breakfast? First, get out of the mindset that you have to eat "breakfast foods." A bowl of cereal or a breakfast bar every day might be convenient, but it's just not an ideal food. A cup of coffee might give you a boost, but by itself, it's only a false sense of energy.

Think in terms of pairing up a protein, fat and carbohydrate from natural foods. How about leftover chicken and vegetables from last night's dinner, or a two-egg omelet with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms, or a smoothie consisting of a banana, kale, blueberries, protein powder and a scoop of almond butter. Put together a list of different options that work for you.

So take advantage of the most important meal of the day and feel the benefits. For more breakfast options and recipes, visit our website at PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our Pinterest and Facebook pages.

• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.

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