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January 25, 2013

Tips to starting the day off right

We are almost a month into 2013, and whether you've resolved to get to the gym, try belly-dancing or to sit down to dinner as a family more, I have a bonus resolution for you. It's an easy one: Eat a complete breakfast each morning.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who skip breakfast, you could be sabotaging your health goals. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and gives your body energy to think more clearly while preventing overeating later in the day. Plus, it provides an excellent opportunity to consume foods high in vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fiber.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, breakfast helps with brain function, attention span, concentration and memory. It can also reduce irritability and tiredness. So, forget the caffeine and opt for a complete meal packed with the nutrients your body needs.

Start the day right

So what makes a nutritious breakfast that will fill you up and give you the energy to get through your morning?

Your breakfast should contain:

— Lean protein to help you stay full longer and prevent overeating later in the day. Lean protein options include low-fat or fat-free milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, turkey sausage, egg whites, nut butters or a handful of raw nuts.

— Fiber-filled whole-grain carbohydrates for lasting energy.

— Antioxidant-packed produce to increase your daily fruit and veggie intake. For produce, opt for seasonal varieties. This winter you can count on fresh fruits such as pears, kiwis or citrus. Year-round you can enjoy apples, bananas, papayas and rutabagas. Or, if you don't mind veggies in the morning, go for these year-round options: mushrooms, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, avocados or potatoes.

Putting it all together

Combining lean protein, whole grains and fruits or veggies makes a complete breakfast. Here are some powerful breakfast combos to try:

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