Not so fast! Running out the door in the morning without eating breakfast is causing some serious damage to your health. So grab a bowl of steel cut oats and listen up.

One study out of Harvard points out that men who forego breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of developing heart disease than those who start off the day with something in their stomachs. That’s not all – men who skip breakfast are also more prone to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And, if you make it a habit of foregoing food in the morning, you’re also more likely to indulge in other unhealthy activities like smoking and drinking alcohol.

We get it; most mornings you’re rushing out the door with barely enough time to tuck in your shirt, let alone prepare a healthy meal. But you don't have to sit down to something fancy – or time-consuming -- to protect your heart and get a healthy start on the day.

Check out these quick and easy breakfast ideas:

  • Bite into hard-boiled eggs. They’re simple to prepare (especially if you boil them the night before) and full of the wake-you-up chemical tyrosine. Starting your day with eggs can also help you burn fat and control your appetite throughout the day.
  • Graze on grains. Toast up one slice of whole grain bread, smear it with peanut butter and top it off with a few slices of banana. The fiber in the whole grain toast will keep you feeling full. Not to mention, four servings of whole grains a day helps keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.
  • Feast on fruits, nuts and carbs. On your way out the door, grab an apple or a pear, a handful of almonds and seven low-fat Triscuit crackers. This mini-meal offers an impressive 10 grams of protein.

The benefits of breakfast are far-reaching. Not only does it help protect against heart disease, it kick-starts your metabolism, allowing your body to burn more calories throughout the day. Eating breakfast also helps regulate your cardiovascular and immune systems, improves your memory, lifts your mood and gives you a performance boost to fuel you through those first few hours at work.

Now if that doesn’t make you want to sit down and nosh a bowl of Wheaties before you head out the door, we don’t know what will.