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Many people skip breakfast for a variety of reasons – no time, reducing calorie intake, lack of appetite, dislike of common breakfast foods, etc. But research continually shows that breakfast indeed is the most important meal of the day. And a cup or two of coffee doesn’t count!

The word “breakfast” comes from “break” a “fast,” which refers to the time between your last meal at night and the next morning – or typically, 8-12 hours.  After this fast, our bodies need to refuel with energy in the form of calories for optimal physical and mental performance. Eating breakfast is associated with an energy boost, enhanced concentration, improved memory, greater productivity, more creativity and better mood.

Skipping breakfast to maintain or lose weight can backfire, as studies show that this slows metabolism and makes people prone to eat more, and often unhealthy, food as snacks or meals later in the day.

It’s like fuel in a car – you need to gas up to enable your body to perform at its best. Get organized and prepare as much as you can the night before – whether that is cutting up fruits, setting the table, putting some cereal in a bag to tote to work, or packing a breakfast to go. If you don’t have time to sit down, check out many options you can take with you – such as granola or energy bars, yogurt, oatmeal, bagels, fruit and egg sandwiches. And remember, breakfast doesn’t have to be “breakfast food” – you can take a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, leftovers from dinner or a smoothie. The important thing is to eat something each morning.