By Bonnie Taub-Dix for U.S. News
"I don't have time to eat in the morning." "I can't eat so early." "I don't want to waste my calories at the beginning of the day."
Sound familiar? If these are some of the mantras you use each morning, it's time to change your tune. Ditching breakfast can affect your mood, weight and well-being. Sadly, most people don't realize the important role breakfast plays in their day until after physical and emotional upheavals have occurred.
According to the National Weight Control Registry, a research study that includes participants who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept the weight off for at a year or more, breakfast is a major key to weight control. The overwhelming majority of their participants -- 90 percent -- reported eating breakfast at least five days a week, and an outstanding number, 78 percent, eat breakfast every day. Other common strategies practiced by registrants include weighing themselves regularly and exercising consistently.
Breaking your fast in the morning should not be negotiable, and here are just a few reasons why:
• The breakfast meal is necessary to fill our minds and bodies after going without food during the hours we were asleep. Countless studies have shown that adults who race out the door without a morsel in their mouths don't perform as well at work as when they're fueled. The same goes for kids who go to school hungry.
• Without food, your blood sugars levels could resemble a roller coaster, leading to fatigue and irritability. It will also be harder to make decisions and stay level-headed ... not a pretty picture in the workplace or at home.
• Skipping breakfast often leads to a high-calorie, mid-morning snack or sends an invitation to indulge in a heavier lunch. And that can quickly cause your pants to get tighter.
• Breakfast can help keep disease at bay. A recent study suggests that starting your day with a solid breakfast helps keep diabetes in check, and certain choices, like a bowl of oatmeal, could curtail cholesterol levels.
• Good habits are contagious. A sensible morning meal sets the tone for the choices you'll make the remainder of the day.
Don't give yourself the option of making excuses that lead to skipping the meal that could dictate your day. Squash cravings and satisfy hunger by combining foods rich in protein -- such as egg whites, eggs, almond butter, reduced-fat cheese, low-fat or skim dairy products) -- with whole-grain carbs (high-fiber ceral and whole-grain bread) and healthy fats (nuts, avocado and olive oil). Those three nutrients -- protein, whole-grain carbs and healthy fats -- are like the three legs of a stool. They support and enhance each other while providing a strong foundation for your body.