The Reason: This meal can make or break your energy reserve for the rest of the day. If it’s way too large (like Sunday brunch status) you’ll be left feeling sluggish, and if you forget to eat it in the first place, your metabolism will never get that wake-up call.

“People who eat a balanced breakfast have more energy, perform better at school and at work, and sleep better at night, which means they wake up the next day more energized,” says Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of “Eat Your Way to Happiness.” But Somer isn’t talking doughnuts and coffee.

The Fatigue Fighter: For a winning breakfast to fuel your energy, follow Somer’s 1, 2, 3 rule. The breakfast must have:

1) whole grains, which provide high-quality carbs for the brain during the morning hours,
2) a little protein to keep you satiated and maintain your blood sugar level throughout the morning, and
3) one or two colorful fruits and vegetables.

Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and a handful of berries on top with a side of sliced watermelon, or make a smoothie with fruit, soymilk and wheat germ.

4. The Zapper: Dehydration

The Reason: You may not feel like you’re walking through the Sahara, but there’s a good chance you’re mildly dehydrated right now, and even mild dehydration makes you feel sleepy and sluggish. “Many of us walk around dehydrated without realizing it,” King says. “Dehydrated bodies trap toxins and encourage water retention — a natural defense against the chronic ‘drought.'” Remember, your body is about 60 percent water, and there’s no way it can function at its optimal level during a drought.

King’s simple test for dehydration: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for three seconds. When you release, if the ridge from the pinch remains for more than a second, you’re probably dehydrated.

The Fatigue Fighter: Next time you’re feeling drowsy, chug a glass of cold water for an instant fix. Then, take a look at how much water you’ve been drinking. According to Dr. King, you should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. If you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces of water (about 9 cups). If you want something more pleasing to your palate, snack on watermelon, which is about 91 percent water.
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