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We’ve been in this particular dilemma more often than we would like. As we’re rushing to work in the morning, we see Tim Hortons up ahead and there it is in Technicolor: images of sugar-dusted and glazed doughnuts dancing in front of our eyes. But surely it’s better to keep on going, avoiding all that sugar and carb-laden wonderfulness rather than giving in to the craving.

As much as it might shock you, if you walked/drove/sped right on by Timmy’s, you made the wrong choice. It’s actually healthier for you to get something — anything to eat at all — than go without.

“When we skip breakfast, we are actually doing a major disservice to our bodies,” says Maya Bach, licensed dietitian nutritionist and owner at River North Nutrition in Chicago. “Your body is ‘fasting’ all night, so in the morning, your body needs fuel to start revving up our metabolism. And without food as fuel, our bodies aren’t able to function at peak performance.”

“It’s better to eat something than nothing in the morning,” says Lindsay Joe, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Greatist. “Our bodies are similar to cars — if we don’t have any gas in the tank, performing even the simplest of tasks becomes exhausting and stressful on the body.”

OK, so obviously this isn’t giving you permission to buy a half-dozen doughnuts every morning. All we’re saying is you need to fuel your engines. So if the healthy options aren’t there, make sure you’re still choosing wisely when you’re standing in front of a towering display of sugary muffins, croissants and other colourful concoctions.

“Choose an option that’s higher in protein or fat to help blunt the effect of that sugar high,” Bach said. “Think of peanut butter-filled, pistachio, or coconut-topped varieties. Better yet, carry a few almonds or nuts of your choice with you so you can eat them along with the treats.” (Mental note: put some raw, unsalted almonds into your bag.)

Again, this is not a carte-blanche recommendation. DON’T GO CRAZY. “This isn’t an every day (or even twice-a-week) type of thing,” she continued. “You’re still adding extra calories from fat and empty calories from sugars to your weekly intake.”

Obviously it’s best to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast, but when in a jam, anything will do. Something is better than nothing.

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