The Breakfast Snub

Too bad the half-and-half in my morning coffee doesn't count as breakfast. Same goes for the handful of trail mix I might nibble on around 10 a.m.

I'm just not a breakfast person. I wish I could say otherwise, because I know skipping it sets me up for poor concentration and feelings of hunger throughout the day.

If that wasn't reason enough, research shows that eating a decent, doughnut-free breakfast can help people maintain their weight, or even drop a few pounds.

According to a study that recently appeared in the New York Times, researchers found a direct correlation between breakfast and body mass index. The study showed that teens who regularly ate breakfast consistently had lower B.M.I. numbers.

Researchers said that eating a healthy breakfast -- one that includes a balance of whole grains, fruits, lean proteins and fiber -- regulates appetite, provides energy throughout the day and helps prevent binges at lunch or dinner.

Unfornately, my internal rhythms mean I don't get hungry for hours after I wake up. But I've learned (the hard way) to force myself to eat something in the morning.

After skipping breakfast one morning before a bike ride, I "bonked" -- or lacked the energy to keep turning the pedals. That taught me to eat something before I leave the house, and to keep a few energy bars stashed in my car and on my bike for emergencies.

Of course, energy bars are a poor substitute for a real meal. Here are some tips from Cooking Light on how to build a better breakfast:

  • Lean protein: Eggs, low-fat dairy, salmon and other lean proteins reduce hunger and speed up metabolism.
  • Front-load fiber and nutrients: Bananas, berries, whole fruits and high-fiber grains are a great way to get in your recommended daily allowances.
  • Eat mindfully: Try carving out five minutes in the midst of the morning rush to eat breakfast, and make it a daily ritual.

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