I'm not going to start this blog by saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you're over the age of 5, you've already heard that. Here's what I am going to tell you. In addition to helping you lose weight and stay healthy, eating breakfast could also save your life.

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Harvard researchers found people who regularly skipped breakfast increased their risk of heart attack by 27 percent. Other studies show a link between not eating breakfast and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems.

Do I have your attention now? Good. Here's what you need to keep in mind--it's your first meal and it needs to keep you full and give you the necessary energy to start your day. That means you want to combine protein with good carbs and fiber. Here are a few of my suggestions for eating your way to a lower weight in the morning:

I always try to include at least one fruit with my morning meal. Fruits are full of vitamins and fiber to give you energy. Berries are especially good as they are also full of antioxidants, which are linked to weight control.

Strawberries in particular have been found to reduce blood sugar and insulin after a meal. That means you won't suffer from a sugar crash that leaves you craving sweets. Grapefruit is another fruit that helps control blood sugar levels.

Cereal can also be a great way to get fiber if you pick the right ones. At the top of the list is steel-cut oats. They take about 15 minutes to cook and have been shown to lower cholesterol when eaten regularly. Oats are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium.

If you don't have time to cook steel-cut oats, instant ones are good too, as long as they aren't flavored with extra sugar. Try the unflavored variety with a bit of honey or blueberries. Granola is high in calories, but if you eat it in small portions, very healthy and it will keep you full longer. Same goes for whole grain cereals. Again, make sure you get the kind without added sugar and use low fat milk.

Yogurt is another great way to start your day. Remember, it's all about combining the right amount of protein, carbs and fiber. If you eat cereal or yogurt for breakfast, throw some fruit on top. I prefer plain Greek yogurt because it has nearly twice as much protein than regular yogurt to keep you feeling full through-out the day. You can also freeze it if you want a cold, ice-cream like consistency.

Whole grain toast is a great way to get your fiber. It takes longer to digest so, again, you're staying fuller longer. I suggest a tablespoon of organic peanut butter, add a piece of fruit with your toast to make it a complete meal.

Finally, the breakfast fad that's sweeping the nation, and for good reason: Protein shakes can contain as much or as little of whatever you want to start your day. They're quick, easy and you can drink it on your way to work. All you do is throw ingredients into your blender and blend. Most contain fruit and 15 to 20 grams of whey protein powder. I also like to add yogurt and a cup of kale. Sneaking in the green "super food" helps me get extra vitamins and antioxidants with fewer calories. I also tend to use whatever fruit is in season and, therefore, cheapest to buy.

Again, it's all about the right combination. Breakfast doesn't have to take long, but it is essential if you're trying to lose weight and stay healthy. Even if I just dip a banana into a jar of organic peanut butter, I make sure to start my day with protein, good carbs and fiber every day.

Image via Thinkstock

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About the author

Ingrid is a holistic health coach, personal trainer, fitness motivator, and wellness author. After finding the key to losing 50 pounds in 90 days, she wants to share how she did it with her free course 9 Simple Secrets I Used to Melt Away 50 Pounds

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