Some of you may feel like there’s never enough time for breakfast in the morning, but eating breakfast is such an important way to begin the day. With young people starting back to school soon, try to make eating a healthy breakfast part of your family’s routine. You may be surprised by the results.
Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast before school tend to have higher attendance records, higher overall test scores, better concentration and an easier time solving problems. Eating breakfast helps curb overeating later in the day and helps maintain a healthy weight.
Planning your meal the night before can help save time in the morning. Think about what you’d like to serve or ask your children what they’d like to eat. Set the table with the plates, utensils and cups you’ll need. Some mixes, like for waffles or muffins, can be made beforehand. Adding fruit to yogurt the night before can provide a quick morning grab-and-go option.
If you have time, ideally breakfast should include a protein to help young people stay focused and full until lunchtime, a carbohydrate to give them energy and a fruit or vegetable to add essential vitamins and minerals to their diet. While this may seem like a lot, it can be easily achieved. Examples of potential meals include an omelet with chopped vegetables and a piece of whole wheat toast or peanut butter with sliced strawberries or bananas on whole grain bread.
Remember breakfast doesn’t have to be complex. Simple items such as a bowl of whole grain cereal with low fat milk and topped with fruit, instant oatmeal with fresh fruit and nuts, small bagels or whole wheat toast are easy to prepare while still giving young people the nutrition they need.
You may also want to check out the breakfast menu at your children’s school. Just make sure they arrive early enough to eat it. More information on raising healthy young people is available at the Bell Cooperative Extension Service.
Brandy Calvert is the county extension agent for 4-H youth development. Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.