I’m definitely not a morning person, so the idea of getting up early to prepare for the day is not a good one. Combine that with having to make extra time to sit down for breakfast, and forget it! I am not a happy camper. But have you ever noticed that skipping breakfast for an extra 15 minutes of sleep actually makes you more tired throughout the day? I sure have. And not only that, I get super hungry before it’s even lunch time.

I recently discovered the value of a good breakfast. And I’m not talking about the kind that’s filled with cream and has rainbow sprinkles on top (although we can all agree, that’s the best tasting breakfast), but rather the kind with such things as protein and whole grains. Some of my favorites these days are multigrain cheerios, Greek yogurt, and oatmeal with raisins. Yum!

Even though it may seem like skipping just one meal won’t do much harm, studies show that it actually has a negative effect on your metabolism. What does that mean exactly? High School Illustrated describes skipping breakfast as a kind of “fast.” When you skip breakfast in the morning, your body slows down in response to the lack of nutrition. And the next time you can get your hands on some food, it will probably be higher in fat and sugar. This can lead to weight gain and a generally unhealthful lifestyle. Now that doesn’t sound good, does it?

We not only need breakfast to keep our metabolism, weight and health on track, but we need it to fuel us for our days ahead, reports Alia Butler with Livestrong.  From long hours at school, to afternoon activities, to homework, to evening jobs and activities with friends—the list goes on! We need to start our days on the right foot.

Where should we begin? “Teens should strive to eat a serving of protein and at least one serving of whole grains with each breakfast,” says Butler. “Also, fruits can be added to every breakfast meal to increase the fiber content and in turn provide more energy.”

If you still say, “I just don’t have time for breakfast in the morning,” then I have you covered with an on-the-go idea. Prepare a portable breakfast the night before, and grab it on your way out the door in the morning. One idea is a baggie of dry whole grain cereal and a yogurt on the side. Or lay out the ingredients for a fruit and yogurt smoothie, and in the morning all you have to do is blend it all together—voila!

The next time you have to get up early, no matter what it’s for, don’t be down on breakfast. Embrace the opportunity to start your day off right!

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