We’ve all heard the old adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” While we’ve all heard it, not everyone is listening. In 2011, a market research study found that 31 million adults, 10 percent of the U.S. population, skipped breakfast regularly. Some said they were too busy to eat breakfast, others said they were watching their figure.

Jennifer Linton, clinical dietitian nutritionist at Bayhealth, says eating breakfast is critical when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“We need breakfast to perform our best,” says Linton. “It’s important to fuel up with breakfast to get your body ready for the day.”

Breakfast provides energy and nutrients that will help with concentration all day long. Moreover, people who skip breakfast hoping to lose weight may actually be setting themselves up for failure.

“Eating breakfast actually helps maintain a healthy weight,” says Linton. “People who do not eat breakfast have a tendency to snack on foods high in sugar or fat throughout the day because those are the foods that are convenient, perhaps from the vending machine.”

What you eat for breakfast also is important.

“You need protein. Protein is what satisfies you. You also want to incorporate fiber,” says Linton. “Breakfast doesn’t have to be boring. Get creative! Think about adding fruit and oats to yogurt to make a parfait. You can even make your own breakfast sandwich with multigrain English muffins, eggs, and turkey bacon. Multigrain pancakes or Belvita breakfast biscuits with Greek yogurt are good options. There is so much more out there than just scrambled eggs.”

What we eat during the day also has a big effect on our morning eating routines.

“If you don’t have a wholesome dinner with adequate protein and fiber, you will likely not feel sustained through the night. You will wake up ravenous,” adds Linton. “When we are that hungry, we don’t always make the best decisions when it comes to what we eat.”

Linton suggests another eating adage: eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.

“You have to be intentional about what you are eating,” says Linton. “If you want to fuel your body, you have to fill it with good things. That starts with a wholesome breakfast that will get your day off to the right start.”

Bayhealth offers inpatient and outpatient dietitians. If you are interested in talking to an outpatient dietitian, consult your primary care physician. If you have any questions about services offered by an outpatient dietitian, call 302-744-6828 or go to bayhealth.org/nutrition.