How do you start a typical school day? If you’re like most kids, you probably try to squeeze an extra 40 winks of sleep in after your parents tell you it’s time to get up. Once you’re up, though, it’s off to the races as you hurry to get showered, dressed and ready for the bus.

But what about something to eat? Do you wolf down a quick bowl of cereal? Heat up a hot bowl of oatmeal? Pop a couple of pastries into the toaster? Or do you sit down to a hot meal of pancakes, eggs and bacon?

That first meal of the day is more commonly known as breakfast. If you divide this compound word into two parts, you’ll see it’s made up of “break” and “fast.” To fast means to go without food. So “breakfast” means to break the fast you’ve been observing since you went to sleep the night before!

You’ve probably heard parents and teachers say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is that true? And why would it be?

Doctors and nutrition experts generally agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you think about it, it just makes sense. After a long night of sleeping, your fuel tank is on empty. Like a car won’t run without gas, your body won’t function right without its fuel: food!

So what type of fuel should you use to get your body going in the morning? While it’s true that eating anything is better than going without any food at all, it’s a good idea to fuel your body with healthy foods to start the day.

For example, donuts and pastries are probably not the best breakfast foods to make a part of your regular morning routine. They’re certainly tasty, but they also tend to be high in sugars, fats and calories.

The best way to start your day is with a well-balanced breakfast that gives your body the nutrients it needs. Eating a wide variety of foods can help you achieve this balance.

A good breakfast throughout the week will include all sorts of different foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy products. Some common breakfast foods that you might consider are whole-grain cereals, toast, pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, milk, yogurt, oatmeal and fruits, like blueberries and strawberries.

Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s best not to skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast leaves you feeling tired and very hungry later. This often leads to overeating throughout the rest of the day, which can be unhealthy. Instead of skipping breakfast, grab something quick on the run, such as yogurt, a muffin or a piece of fresh fruit.

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