This post, written by Tracy Morris, was originally published on the Fitbit blog.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—if only you had a dollar for every time you’ve heard that! But really, it’s true. Eating within a couple of hours of waking up works with your body’s natural rhythm, jumpstarts your metabolism, and, in the long term, may protect you from developing diabetes and heart disease. Unfortunately, fewer people are eating breakfast than ever.

It’s easy to make excuses. Sure, you’re busy trying to get yourself (and everyone else!) out the door on time, or maybe you’re just not that hungry in the morning. But perhaps listing out some of the more immediate benefits that come with fueling up first thing—along with grab-and-go breakfast ideas—will help motivate you.

Food is fuel, so skipping your morning meal is like not stopping for gas when your tank’s empty—you won’t get far. Give your body a dose of healthy carbs from whole grains, fruits, veggies, or dairy. Add a small amount of caffeine into the mix, for an extra energy kick.

Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: Small nonfat latte (no flavored syrup or cream) + banana = 200 calories, 10 g protein, 3 g fiber

Glucose is your brain’s favorite source of energy, so if you skip breakfast, your concentration and mental performance will likely suffer during those early morning meetings. If you go for eggs, the dose of choline they provide may boost your memory, too! No time to scramble? Premade hard-boiled eggs are always handy.

Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: 2 hard-boiled eggs + 1 cup baby carrots = 200 calories, 13 g protein, 4 g fiber

People who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain their weight loss. But it can’t be just any breakfast—focus on fiber and protein for a hunger-satisfying meal that will keep sugar cravings away. Have a small handful of nuts, or grab a natural nut bar that doesn’t contain too many sneaky ingredients.

Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: Nut bar = 200 calories, 6 g protein, 3 g fiber

When you start your morning with the best intentions, there’s a good chance they’ll spill over into the rest of the day. Breakfast eaters tend to have better quality diets overall. Slip veggies into your morning meals and you’ll get an even greater boost! No time to make a green smoothie? Reach for a cup of carrot juice, and you can gulp 700 percent of your daily vitamin A needs in one go. Pair it with cheese, and your calcium stores get a big boost, too.

Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: 6 fl oz pure veggie juice + mozzarella cheese stick + 6 whole-wheat crackers = 220 calories, 11 g protein, 4 g fiber

Kids tend to copy adults’ behavior. If they see you dashing out the door unfed, they’re less likely to think breakfast is important. Teach your little ones to start the day well nourished, and set them up for lifelong healthy habits. In an ideal world, you’d all sit down to yogurt, homemade granola, and berries. But in a pinch, chocolate milk offers calcium and protein!

Grab-and-Go Breakfast Idea: 8 fl oz low-fat chocolate milk + a handful of raspberries = 230 calories, 11 g protein, 4 g fiber

Make your first meal of the day a priority whenever you can, and set aside at least 10 to 15 minutes to enjoy it. Planning in advance can help: Spend a few minutes on a Sunday prepping an easy make-ahead breakfast, like overnight oats or egg muffins, or pre-chop ingredients for smoothies. And if you really can’t stomach food in the morning, it may be a sign that you’re eating too many calories at night. Slowly shift your intake to earlier in the day by including a small breakfast, and gradually you’ll wake up peckish, which is a sign you’re on the right track.

This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

  • Rubia Panegassi

    Really nice! But why have i eat before 9?

    • Cristina Maria Teixeira T

      Good question

  • Sean Parisi

    What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting (8-16), which eliminates breakfast and you eat only within an eight hour window (from 12-8 pm)?

    • Keri Williams

      Sean, I am doing High Fat, Low Carb Intermittent fasting and my window is 12-8pm– I love it, I have lost 30 lbs, I feel so much better. There is a great podcast, google fasting talk.

    • Fitstar

      Hi Sean, and Keri – thanks for your question and comments! Our Nutritionist had this to say about intermittent fasting:”If a person is able to eat healthy foods between 12 to 8pm, without bingeing or having excessive cravings, and it helps them maintain a healthy weight—great! For most, waiting until 12pm to eat often leads to missed nutrients, poor choices, and overeating.”

      You can see her article on intermittent fasting here, as well:

      The takeaway is, if it’s working for you – that’s what counts. Keep up the great work, and Keep Moving!

  • bachwon song

    What the simple and valuable tips to us!!
    Thanks a lot.
    Happy holiday!!

    • Fitstar

      We’re glad you found these tips useful! Hope you had a wonderful holiday, as well.

  • Marshall Luck

    Have you read the new book “Fat for Fuel” by Dr Mercola? He makes a great case for full fat as long as its good fat, and intermittent fasting that makes some of your breakfast ideas look I’ll advised.

    • Fitstar

      We will check it out – thank you for the tip.