Healthy Start

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet many Americans tend to reach for starchy pastries or skip breakfast altogether. Before you order that muffin, consider the following breakfast boosts to keep you going all day.

Protein

Adding protein to your morning routine keeps you fuller for longer. Instead of adding cream cheese to a carbohydrate-rich bagel, try a small piece of cheese or string cheese on its own. This will give you a serving of calcium as well as protein, without the unnecessary carbohydrates.

Adding natural peanut butter to your toast or bagel will give you far more protein and none of the cholesterol of cream cheese or butter. Better yet, skip the bagel and toast altogether and swap it for celery or an apple - that way you get a serving of fruits and vegetables and avoid the refined carbohydrates.

If you don't have time for a true breakfast, have a hand-full of almonds, which are packed with good fats, protein and calcium.

Instead of lying in bed for those extra 15 minutes pressing the snooze button, get up and make yourself a nutritious morning meal to get your day going. An egg white omelet with low-fat cheese or your favorite vegetables is loaded with the protein and nutrients you need to start your day.

Fruits and Vegetables

Morning is the perfect time to get a jump-start on your daily fruit and vegetable needs. Add fresh berries to low-fat yogurt or whole-grain cereal for a boost of antioxidants and other essential nutrients. Bananas are another excellent addition to your favorite cereal. If you'd prefer to skip the added carbohydrates, eat the banana with peanut butter or almond butter for the bonus of protein and healthy fats to keep your brain function sharp throughout the day.

Foods to Avoid

Stay away from empty calories in the morning. While breakfast is important and should not be skipped, that does not mean that grabbing a danish or doughnut is going to improve your day. These treats will only spike your sugar, leaving you in danger of crashing midmorning.

Bagels should also only be a sometimes-food, as just one bagel is the equivalent of eating five slices of bread. If you love bagels, opt for a whole wheat bagel and eat only half with hummus or peanut butter. Make breakfast count and stick to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.