Based on modern science, and the wisdom of mothers throughout the ages, breakfast is an essential meal. Research shows breaking an overnight fast with a balanced meal can make a major difference in overall health and well being, especially for children and teens.
Eating a smart breakfast can help improve behavior, and school performance, as well as foster a healthy weight. When children skip breakfast, their brains and bodies suffer all day long.
1. Start With Some Powerful Protein
Protein a missing component in many morning meals, help children go strong and stay focused until lunch. Go lean with protein choices. A slice or two of canadian bacon, an egg, a slice of deli meat, cheese, or peanut butter on toast are good options.
2. Add in Nutrient Rich Whole Grains
Whole grains provide an extra nutrition punch. They have more fiber and nutrients, plus they tend to digest more slowly for longer lasting energy. Serve kids whole grain cereals like oatmeal, or try whole grain breads, muffins, waffles, pancakes, or rolls to help the family rise, shine and get ready for a busy day.
3. Get Fresh with Fruits and Vegetables
Breakfast is the perfect time to enjoy the produce children need for optimal health. Go with fresh fruits such as bananas, pears, apples, mangoes, melons, or whatever’s in season. Canned and frozen fruits are great in yoghurt parfaits. How about chopped vegetables in an omelet or a refreshing glass of vegetable juice?
4. Make it Routine
Need some easy ways to beat the breakfast rush hour? Here are three ways to help fit a breakfast bonanza into your family’s morning routine.
- Get organized the night before. Make a breakfast plan as you clean up from dinner. Set the table with bowls and spoons for cereal. Prepare a muffin, waffle or pancake mix so it is ready to cook in the morning.
- Keep breakfast simple. On a busy day, get the family going with something as quick as a bowl of whole grain cereal with a banana or a slice of leftover pizza with orange juice.
- Pack your breakfast to go. If there is no time to eat at home, plan a nutritious option to eat in the car or bus. Busy teens can grab a banana, a bag of trail mix, a carton of milk. Also check out the breakfast options available at your children’s school.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Bulletin, Dec. 2013; Nieves Serra, RND