To lose weight, you have to eat. That may sound contrary to most diet plans, but the fact is that after four or five hours without food, the body goes into “starvation mode.” If it remains in this state, the body slows down its metabolic process to conserve energy—and burns fewer calories.

The result? You may eventually gain weight.

To keep the metabolism stoked and burning more calories, it’s vital to eat the most important meal of the day—breakfast. Best bets for jump-starting your morning and your metabolism? Nicolette Keen-Lawrence, MS, RD, CDN, a cardiac transplant dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, suggests lean protein with carbs, such as egg whites with toast, within one hour of waking up.

Anyone hungry?