Lt. Col. Brenda D. White, MS, BS, RD, LDN
Chief, Nutrition Care Division
Eisenhower Army Medical Center

As I drove toward my second home, the gym, the orange light that indicates the necessity for gas began blinking. I thought, "How could I forget? Ah, now I remember, I decided I could drive another five miles and then fuel up."

Do you do this when it comes to breakfast skip it, postpone it or simply forget to eat it?

You've heard this old adage a thousand times, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day."
It's true. Per Webster's dictionary, breakfast is defined as, "the first meal of the day (literally, to break the fast)." As you sleep, you burn calories. If your last meal was 8-10 hours ago, your level of fuel or "blood glucose/stored glycogen" which you need to function properly, has steadily decreased.

The following are some reasons you may have used for not eating breakfast and suggestions for adding breakfast to your daily routine:

No time
Consume foods that are pre-prepared or those that do not take a lot of time to prepare such as:
• Fresh or canned fruit in its own juice; skim or 1 percent milk; low-fat or no-fat slices of cheese; low-fat, plain yogurt; low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese; dry/instant cereal; low-fat granola bars.
• Celery packed with 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or spread.
• Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, apples, etc.

Not hungry
Eat something small; it's better than nothing at all.
• Grab a piece of fruit or a small box of dry cereal or a slice of wheat or oat bread, or a pack of crackers.

Dieting
If you skip breakfast, you will probably eat more at lunch and dinner:
• Skipping meals decreases your metabolism. Your body will burn less calories, not more, throughout the day.
The best foods choices for breakfast are low in total fat, saturated fat (the bad fat), cholesterol, and sugar and high in fiber. Examples include:
• One slice of whole-grain bread which contains two grams or more of fiber and no more than three grams of fat.
• A three-quarters to 1-ounce bowl of cold/dry cereal which contains three grams of fiber, three grams or less of fat, and eight grams or less from sugar.
• Low-fat grain-based cereal and fruit bars.
• 1 percent or skim milk.
• Low-fat and non-fat yogurt; be aware that fruit-filled may mean sugar-filled. Read the label.

Fuel up. Remember eating a healthy breakfast can improve your physical and mental performance throughout the day.