Your mother was right—breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Yet approximately 31 million Americans don't eat anything in the morning. "Having your first meal within an hour of waking snaps your body out of fasting mode and revs up your metabolism, so you burn more calories throughout the day," says registered dietitian Diane Kress, author of The Metabolism Miracle
. Going without food until lunch can increase your body's insulin response, which may encourage fat storage. A nutritious breakfast, on the other hand, replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your body with energy. You'll feel more awake and focused, and less like a ravenous eating machine when lunchtime rolls around.
To get the breakfast benefit, you don't have to go all out, Kress says. Just plan a meal that contains around 300 calories, at least seven grams of protein, and two grams of fiber (both help you feel full longer). If you think you don't have the time or appetite for a morning meal, we have sweet and savory ways to change your mind.