JJ Virgin: In the early-morning shuffle to get the kids showered, dressed and out the door, it's an all-too-common habit for kids and parents to skip breakfast. If that sounds like your family, then you should know that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
Eating breakfast reduces hunger pangs throughout the day and revs up your metabolism after you've been fasting for eleven hours (or more). It also aids weight loss and maintenance. In fact, a study presented at a recent American Heart Association conference suggested that eating breakfast daily may reduce the risk for obesity by as much as 50 percent!
And that's not all: Research from Loyola University revealed that eating breakfast also has a positive impact on students' memories. What mother doesn't want her kids to maintain a healthy weight and do well in school? (Exactly!)
You don't necessarily need to eat traditional breakfast foods to reap these benefits, either. In fact, I'd encourage you to avoid the "carb bombs" that pass as breakfast at many restaurants.
The best breakfast is a balance of protein, healthy fats, non-starchy veggies and high-fiber carbs, eaten within an hour of waking up. Slow-release, high-fiber carbs give you a steady supply of energy, while healthy fats like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) support healthy brain function.
Here are five breakfast options that fill the bill:
1) Turkey, avocado and veggies in a whole-wheat wrap.
2) Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and chopped walnuts.
3) Steel-cut oatmeal with a few raisins and that leftover chicken breast from last night's dinner.
4) An omelet made from cage-free organic eggs and fresh veggies.
5) A shake made with coconut milk, protein powder, freshly ground flaxseed meal and frozen berries.