I’m sure you’ve heard it before. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” “Don’t skip your breakfast.” Or the old adage, “Eat breakfast like a King and supper like a pauper.” But are you doing it? And if not, why not?

It is true – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the pace. A healthy breakfast gets the body’s metabolism up and running. Eating an unhealthy breakfast or skipping it and you are more likely to suddenly get hungry and grab quick things that are unhealthy (donuts and candy) or eat extra food at lunch to make up for missing breakfast. It has been documented that breakfast skippers notoriously struggle to lose weight.

Many people think eating less or skipping meals helps them lose weight. Not always. The body adapts. If it believes it is starving it will cut back metabolism to conserve energy. This is the main reason 95% of diets ultimately fail. Once people are off the diet they go back to how they used to eat, but their metabolism has slowed down. The result is adding the pounds right back on.

It is important to eat regular meals and if necessary snacks evenly throughout the day. This keeps blood sugar levels more constant providing you balanced energy through the day. With fewer blood sugar spikes you will experience fewer food cravings.

Another pitfall to proper eating is having a large dinner or snacking late at night. What happens? The food is not digested well. When you are sleeping, your body is not thinking about digestion and a lot of food complicates the process even more. Poor digestion is at the root of many ailments – such as acid reflux, gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Plus, you are more likely to wake up feeling full and not be hungry for breakfast starting the whole cycle over again. As a general rule it is best not to eat within three hours of going to sleep.

Here’s some examples of my favorite healthy breakfasts. Notice that all the choices have protein and healthy fat in the meal. Vary your breakfast so it does not become routine and boring.

1. Breakfast shake – Use a high quality protein powder made from whey and/or brown rice. Do not use soy protein powders. My favorite is SP Complete from Standard Process. To make the shake even healthier add any or all of the following: plain whole fat yogurt or kefir, banana, fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries), flax seed oil or ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds. If you’d like an antioxidant boost and struggle to get in all your vegetables during the day I’d recommend adding in a green or red powder such as Designs for Health Paleo products.

2. Some combination of: Yogurt or kefir with fresh or frozen fruit, ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds. Optional: sprinkle Designs for Health Paleo products, one teaspoon of organic maple syrup, or Stevia to sweeten.

3. Eggs – hard boiled is best followed by soft boiled or poached. Fried and scrambled are also options but do so at a low temperature and use organic coconut oil, butter, or ghee. You can include vegetables as a side dish or as part of an omelet. I like to sauté leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, or chard with onions in coconut oil. Feel free to do eggs 2-3 times per week.

4. Whole grain (please use 100% whole grain products) or sprouted bread toast with butter, ghee, organic natural peanut butter, almond butter, or humus. Limit to 1-2 times per week.

5. If you are really hungry and don’t plan on a mid morning snack you can do a combination of 3 and 4.

6. Steel cut oatmeal, also called Irish Style. These are the real whole oats. You can also add raisins, nuts, seeds, and after cooking the Paleo products, organic maple syrup, or Stevia to sweeten. A cooking tip: On the box it will say to cook for 30 minutes, however if you soak the oats over night in water and even a little yogurt they will cook in about 10 minutes. I’d limit this to 1-2 times per week also.

Now that you’ve read through my suggestions for a healthy breakfast, what do you notice is missing? If you are curious I invite you to give me a call or send an e-mail to find out why I have not included them!

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. He is an expert in the field of Nutrition and Erectile Dysfunction. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.