Breaking Bad Breakfast Habits

As the old adage goes, breakfast is the most important meal. It sets your blood sugar and energy levels for the rest of the day.

Learn what—and what not—to eat, so you can start your morning off right.

Be Weary of Low-Fat Labels

Processed foods that come with low-fat labels might contain less fat, but they're often high in sugar and other additives. That's because manufacturers have to replace the fat with other ingredients to maintain a satisfying flavor. Those additives can make it difficult to lose weight, or worse, make you gain weight.

Leave Sugar Cereals in the Box

Cereal is a quick-and-easy breakfast, but beware. Some cereals that are marketed as healthy contain large amounts of sugar. Sugar spikes your glucose levels and can cause you to crave more—and overeat—throughout the day. Be sure to read labels and choose cereals with little-to-no sugar.

More: How the Glycemic Index Affects What You Should Eat

Give White Flour the Cold Shoulder

The glass displays at your local coffee shop overflow with bagels, muffins, croissants, fritters and scones. As you wait in line for your cup-o-Joe, the smells of those doughy delights fill your nose and call your name. Don't answer. Foods with white-flour bases take your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride that ends in a massive crash. These foods are also high in sugar and empty calories. In fact, one muffin may contain a whopping 400 calories.

More: How Many Calories Do You Need?

Don't Treat Coffee Like a Main Course

Although research shows that coffee has positive affects on mood, brain function and athletic performance, a cup of java alone won't satiate you or allow your body to perform adequately for long. Plus, it's highly acidic, so drinking it on an empty stomach may make you feel nauseous. To combat these negative affects, have your coffee with a balanced breakfast.

More: 4 Ways to Stay Awake Without Coffee

Know That All Juices Weren't Created Equal

A lot of canned and bottle juices claim to be made of fruit. However, if you read the fine print, you'll find little-to-no real fruit juice inside. And, worse, some juices are packed with high-fructose corn syrup. Opt for 100-percent fruit juices.

Reach for Plants, Protein and Fiber

To gain energy and keep your blood-sugar levels consistent, start your day off with plant-based foods, protein and fiber. A great breakfast could be one hard-boiled egg, a slice of toast with all-natural peanut butter and a small protein-rich, home-blended smoothie.

More: 12 Fast and Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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