Written collaboratively by Hope Kleine and Kylie Serie.
Want to do something good for yourself and family? Eat breakfast!
Breakfast is the first meal after a night’s sleep and is eaten after the longest time our body goes without food, for most of us that is in the morning. Eating breakfast can be a great way to start the day and give the body the energy it needs. Studies show that those who eat breakfast tend to have increased mental capacity and are more able to control their weight. Eating a healthy meal in the morning will lead to increased likelihood for exercising throughout the day because of increased energy.
Skipping breakfast can often cause one to be very hungry by mid-morning, or have a difficult time keeping focus. Kids who tend to skip breakfast may have troubles with their memory and concentration, lower energy, and underperform in school. Numerous studies have indicated that those who skip breakfast tend to be more at risk of being overweight or obese and overall living an unhealthy lifestyle.
Breakfast & School Performance
Eating breakfast has been shown to help kids stay at a healthy weight and do better in school. Children who eat breakfast miss less school. While at school, they have better focus, problem-solving ability, and improved memory. Scores on math, reading, and standardized tests are higher after eating breakfast. In the classroom, kids who eat breakfast are better behaved and get along with other kids better. For kids who play sports afterschool, eating breakfast helps keep energy levels high and improves sport related skills.
Make Breakfast Part of Your Day!
As hectic as mornings can be, breakfasts often get pushed aside. Getting in the habit of eating breakfast everyday can be challenging. Knowing the benefits of breakfast may provide the incentive to give it a try. A “grab & go” breakfast saves on time and sets you and your family members up for a fantastic day. Some tips include:
- Prep the food: On Sunday, make a few different items you can have portioned out and ready to go for the week so you don’t have to rush to do it in the morning. Have your kids help make it so they are more excited to eat it during the week.
- Try to plan foods from 2 – 3 food groups.Such as a fruit and carbohydrate, or dairy and protein.
- Think of items which can be eaten on the go. If you are driving the kids to school choose items which will not create a mess in the car.
- Package convenience foods can be purchased, but they often cost more. You can create your own packaged foods from home; picking up a drive by parfait yogurt will cost about two times as much as one you assemble at home plus the cost in time and transportation if out of your way.
- Vary your breakfast, routines can get dull.
Some Ideas for a ‘Grab and Go’ Breakfast Include
- Fruit, yogurt, and granola parfait. Grab a container of yogurt and add a piece of fruit and a handful of granola.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Use whole wheat bread and low sugar peanut butter and jelly.
- Smoothie. Use yogurt or milk and blend with fresh or frozen fruit.
- Hot cereal. Microwave oatmeal with milk and top with a selection of raisins, nuts, dried fruit, and peanut butter.
- Cold cereal. Look for one that is made from whole grains, low in sugar, and high in fiber.
- Fresh fruit. Bananas, oranges, kiwi which have been peeled the evening before.
- Whole wheat bagel or toast topped with protein. Mix up toppings by using low-fat cream cheese, peanut butter, and hummus.
Ideas for Prepped Breakfast Include
- Breakfast wrap. Tortilla shell wrapped with scrambled egg, cheese, spinach, turkey, may be frozen or prepare the night before and microwave on reduce power in the morning, if freezing use whole wheat tortillas.
- Overnight oats. Combine Greek yogurt, fruit, oats, milk, and a touch of honey the night before for a quick breakfast in the morning.
- Home-made granola mix. Cereal, dried fruit, nuts, etc.
- Home-made trail mix. Nuts, yogurt bites, cereal, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, pretzels, etc.
- Cut and freeze your fruit for the smoothies. Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple.
- Hard boil eggs- good for 2-3 days kept in the fridge.
For more information on why breakfast is important, check out North Dakota State University Extension’s Food WI$E Fuel Your Empty Tank with Breakfast. Also, check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 6 Tips For Better Breakfasts.