Breakfast – the most important meal of the day

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We’ve heard it hundreds of times, yet for many individuals, including children, they would rather sleep a few more minutes than sit down to breakfast, or even grab something as they run out the door.

Both researchers and teachers will tell you that children who eat something for breakfast are better learners. Children who have eaten breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, have more problem-solving skills, and better hand-eye coordination.

Smart choices for breakfast include whole grains, fruit and low-fat dairy products. The whole grains and fruit contain high amounts of fiber, which tend to fill you up faster and will delay symptoms of hunger for hours.

If all your child wants for breakfast is cold cereal, make a choice that will help them make it through until lunch. Look for whole grains with three to five grams of fiber and make sure sugar doesn’t appear as one of the first three ingredients on the nutrition facts label. Sugar may be disguised as a word that ends in “ose.”

“Ose” words mean that some form of sugar is in the product. Some of the sugar-coated or frosted cereals may have as much as two to three teaspoons of sugar for a 1-ounce serving.

If your children want leftover pizza for breakfast, let them have it! A traditional breakfast isn’t necessary as long as it is nutritious and well balanced. The combinations are limited only by your creativity and imagination. Think out of the box for breakfast ideas including ways you can save time in the morning. Try some of these ideas:

• Mash a banana into peanut butter and spread over whole wheat.

• Keep muffins in the freezer and warm them up in the microwave.

• A breakfast casserole takes a little time to prepare but it can be done the evening before then refrigerated.  Pop it in the oven in the morning for 45 minutes while everyone is getting ready and you have a quick and nutritious breakfast!

• Set the breakfast table the night before even if it’s only for juice and cereal. You’ll be surprised at how much time it will save you.

• Most kids love French toast, plus it is quick and easy. Add a little cinnamon to the egg batter for variety.

• Use last night’s leftover chicken and make quesadillas or breakfast burritos in a matter of minutes. Wrap in a paper towel and they can be eaten on the bus or in the car on the way to school.

• Create your own specialty breakfast biscuit. Between the biscuit, place a cooked egg, a sausage patty, a small chicken patty, or a slice of ham with cheese melted on top. This is super quick when you use your leftover biscuits from the weekend.

• Greek yogurt is always a fast choice. With the amount of protein in it, it will help tide you over until lunch. Pair it with a carbohydrate such as fresh fruit and you have a portable breakfast.

• Let’s not forget fruit. Most of it can be just washed and eaten. No prep required, and it will add vitamins that your brain needs.

Breakfast doesn’t have to be time consuming or a hassle. Just as you plan what school supplies and clothes to purchase, keep in mind what healthy breakfast foods you will have on hand, as well.

Cindy Williams40 Posts

Cindy Williams is the Meadowlark Extension District agent in the areas of food and nutrition.

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