Study after study has linked eating breakfast to sustained weight loss for longer periods of time, higher overall nutrient intake, and fewer bouts of emotional eating and cravings later in the day.

Yet, so many people neglect the first meal of the day!

Skipping breakfast or eating something less-than-nutritious, like doughnuts, cereal, or pop tarts, can wreak havoc on your blood sugar, cause you to take in more calories throughout the day, have uncontrollable cravings, and gain weight.

Imagine waking up to a 600-calorie feast that could actually be better for you!

That’s just what 94 obese, inactive women did for a recent study dubbed the Big Breakfast study. Venezuelan researchers put half the women on a very low carb, Atkins-style diet and compared their weight loss to women of similar girth who tried the new Big Breakfast diet with balanced carb and protein distribution.

On the very low carb diet, the women had a small 290-calorie breakfast, while Big Breakfast dieters averaged 610 calories for breakfast. This hefty meal could be eaten in stages so long as it was done by 9 a.m. Lunch and dinner were progressively lighter at 395 and 235 calories, respectively.

In a few months, both groups dropped similar amounts of weight but the low carb group gained most of it back.

In contrast, the women who enjoyed their lean protein and complex carbohydrates for breakfast continued to lose weight to the tune of nearly 17 more pounds!

Believe me, I understand that mornings are crazy busy and rushed and there isn’t always time to cook up a big breakfast. Try these quick tips for a grab-and-go breakfast that will get you started on the right foot:

Prepare a large egg dish over the weekend so you can heat up a portion each morning. Be sure to add some greens and other veggies for extra vitamins and fiber.

Blend up a protein shake. Combine banana, berries, almond milk, and protein powder with ice. Optional: add a handful of greens, like kale or spinach (I promise you can’t taste it!).

Heat up a bowl of whole grain oatmeal. Mere minutes in the microwave and you have a hot and delicious breakfast. Top with a drizzle of honey, fruit, and nuts to add protein.