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Don’t make these breakfast mistakes

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Story highlights

Forgoing breakfast may seem like a calorie-saver, but it can actually be a fat trap

"Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper" holds up

Breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day, so you don’t want to mess that up. Here are the top four breakfast mistakes I see, plus how to fix each one.

The mistake: you skip it to save calories

Forgoing breakfast may seem like a calorie-saver, but it can actually be a fat trap. Researchers at Imperial College London found that when people went without an a.m. meal, their brain reward centers lit up when they were shown images of high-calorie foods. That means turning down treats becomes harder, and you’re likely to make up for the missed calories (and then some) with junkier choices later in the day, when it’s tougher to burn them off.

The makeover

Commit to eating something every morning. If time is an issue, stash a healthy energy bar containing fruit in your bag.

RELATED: The Best Fat-Burning Breakfasts

The mistake: you turn to high-carb foods for energy

Grabbing a blueberry muffin with your coffee may not seem so bad, but a typical bakery muffin packs more added sugar than you should have for the entire day—a staggering 44 grams. According to the American Heart Association, women should top out at about 24 grams of added sugar daily (that’s 6 teaspoons’ worth).

The makeover

You don’t have to completely avoid sugar if you need a jolt to get going. Chop up one tasting square of dark chocolate and mix it into your oatmeal. (I use this trick in my overnight oats recipe, at right.) Also, make fruit your friend: Blend up a smoothie or fold fruit into yogurt or oatmeal. You can also top toast with mashed avocado or almond butter, then slices of fresh figs or pears.

The mistake: you’re eating healthy but missing produce

Only 8 percent of Americans eat the recommended amount of fruit each day (2 cups, for a moderately active woman) and just 6 percent hit the mark for veggies (3 cups), according to a report from Produce for Better Health Foundation. So even if you have a nutritious egg-on whole-wheat sandwich in the morning, not fitting in some produce may keep you from reaching the daily goal.

RELATED: 27 Mistakes Healthy People Make