Thanks to Sarah Hamel from our nutrition department for guest blogging for us.
We’ve all heard the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” This is especially true for children as it is the perfect time to refuel in the morning to prepare for the school day. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, kids who eat breakfast are more focused, perform better in school, are better able to manage their weight, and eat healthier overall compared with those who don’t eat breakfast.
Although any breakfast is better than no breakfast, what kids eat is vital too. A healthy, balanced breakfast consists of three key components: protein, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables.
Protein helps children stay focused throughout the morning. Try serving your children lean protein sources such as eggs, lean meat, low-fat dairy, or nuts and nut butters.
Carbohydrates provide essential energy to fuel kids’ bodies and brains. Whole-grains are the best choice because they contain additional nutrients and fiber and are digested slowly for long-lasting energy and fullness. Serve whole-grain cereals, oatmeal, bread, tortillas, waffles, and pancakes.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals. Try serving your kids a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re in season – that’s when they’ll be the tastiest and most nutritious. Other excellent choices are frozen fruit, fruit canned in water or 100 percent juice, or 100 percent fruit juices. Top cereal with fresh berries or make a fruit and yogurt parfait. Mix vegetables into an omelet or make a breakfast quesadilla.
Here are a few examples of healthy, balanced breakfasts to try:
- A whole-grain English muffin with peanut butter, low-fat yogurt, and apple slices
- Whole-grain cereal topped with strawberries and bananas and low-fat milk
- Vegetable omelet with low-fat cheese, whole wheat toast, and orange juice
- Whole grain waffles with a fruit smoothie made with low-fat yogurt and frozen berries
If your child doesn’t like typical “breakfast” foods, unconventional options are great too!
- Grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly with a piece of fruit
- Soup with whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese
- English muffin with tomato sauce and shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
- Brown rice with chicken and vegetables
Don’t forget to set a good example! Your child will be more likely to make a habit of eating a healthy breakfast if you do too.
Try this healthy French toast breakfast sandwich packed within whole-grain bread and protein.
Additional breakfast tips and meal ideas can be found at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Join the conversation. What are your healthy breakfast favorites?