So, schools are back in session.
What are mornings like at your house?
Chaotic? Stressful? A mad dash out the door so the kids don’t miss the bus?
While school mornings tend to be frantic, be sure to squeeze in some time for a healthy breakfast — whether it’s at a table at home, or in a container to go.
Dedicating this little bit of time will go a long way in helping your child have a good school day.
All meals are important, but breakfast plays a unique role in our diet.
When we wake up, we are in a fasted and dehydrated state — and, it’s important to start the day on the right foot.
A healthy breakfast offers a chance to get the much-needed vitamins, minerals, and fiber that we need daily.
Skipping breakfast means one less opportunity to get these important nutrients.
Numerous studies show that a healthy breakfast plays a role in school performance, and increases concentration and energy, and certain vitamins boost immunity, so an overall healthy diet can decrease sick days.
Fiber and protein are key to warding off hunger for longer periods.
Fiber delays gastric emptying of the stomach, so you continue to feel full, and protein creates the sensation of fullness.
Elementary schools often have a snack time in the morning, but middle and high school students don’t usually have a designated time of day to eat until lunch.
Algebra at 9 a.m. is hard enough, let alone on an empty stomach.
It’s normal not to feel hungry first thing in the morning.
Aim to eat breakfast within two hours of waking up if the kids aren’t hungry right away.
Cereal, frequently marketed as a good breakfast choice, isn’t a good selection if It is sugary and refined.
Look for a whole grain, and remember to look for high fiber and protein on the nutrition facts label.
Also, avoid “dessert-type” breakfasts such as doughnuts and breakfast pastries. Those contain too much sugar and not enough nutrition.
Here are some healthy and quick breakfast options that your kids may enjoy:
- Plain oatmeal with milk, banana, raisins, walnuts, dried fruit, peanut butter, or other toppings
- Cereal with banana or blueberries
- Smoothies: Made with various fresh or frozen fruits, with milk or yogurt
- Hard-boiled eggs sliced and topped with salsa (You can make these in advance and keep them refrigerated for 2 days to 3 days)
- Whole wheat toast or bagel with peanut butter or hummus
- Parfait: With a layer of yogurt, fruit, and granola or whole grain cereal
- English muffin sandwich: Made from a toasted whole wheat English muffin, some deli meat and a slice of cheese, then heated up in a microwave. Add some spinach and sliced tomato, if you like those, too.
- Bagel and fruit: Whole wheat bagel topped with a choice of spread (yogurt, jam, peanut butter or light cream cheese) and various fruit such as sliced banana, strawberries, pineapple or grapes
- An omelet in a mug (see recipe below)
Don’t forget, the free breakfast program at school may be an option for your child as well. (Check your school district’s website to find out more.)
Just like reading is fundamental for education, good nutrition is essential for good health.
I wince when I think of the lack of nutritional quality in the breakfasts I ate as a kid.
My breakfasts typically included a packet of flavored instant oatmeal, containing about 12 grams of added sugar, or a sugary cereal.
On weekends, I would dunk Oreos in milk, or make a sandwich out of two waffles with vanilla ice cream, in the middle.
At the time, I suppose there wasn’t much awareness on childhood obesity and nutrition, but luckily, we know better now.
When you’re in a rush, this veggie omelet in a mug (recipe below) can be a quick and nutritious meal. You can prep the veggies the night before, to save time in the morning.
The recipe is courtesy of MyPlate Kitchen’s MyPlate.gov, from Oregon State University Extension.
By Shari Bresin
Shari Bresin is the Family & Consumer Science agent for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension Pasco County.
Recipe: Veggie omelet in a mug
2 Tablespoons 1% low-fat milk (or nonfat/skim milk)
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms (or your favorite vegetables)
2 Tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)
Wash hands with soap and water.
Lightly grease the inside of a 12-ounce microwave-safe mug.
Use a fork to combine the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in the mug, and stir well.
Mix in the vegetables and cheese.
Microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds.
Return to the microwave and cook on HIGH until the mixture has puffed and set, 60 to 90 seconds.
The omelet may look wet on the top, but it will dry as it cools.
Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Published August 11, 2021