Mornings can be rushed, especially with the kids heading back to school this month. Between getting your kids (and yourself) ready and out the door, breakfast may fall by the wayside. The trouble is children need breakfast even more than adults. Research shows multiple breakfast benefits in school-aged kids, including:
- Better memory, attention and concentration
- Improved math scores
- Decreased behavior and emotional problems
- Better nutrient intake, including higher fiber and lower carbohydrate and fat intake
- Improvement in hyperactivity, anxiety and depression
A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Try these tips to make breakfast faster in the morning.
- Plan Ahead. Think about the number of breakfasts you need for the week, and grocery shop accordingly.
- Get Creative. Breakfast doesn’t have to be eggs and toast. Anything nutritious – including cold pizza, leftover vegetables and whole-wheat crackers.
- Use Weekends. Get a head start by doing some cooking on the weekends. Pancakes can be made ahead of time, frozen, and then popped into the microwave on a weekday morning. Or cook a batch of whole grain and fruit muffins and grab one for a quick breakfast on the go.
- Get Ready the Night Before. Set the breakfast table at night, even if it’s just for cereal and milk. If you’re making something like overnight oats, whip them up before bed and it will be ready come morning.
A healthy breakfast should pair some carbohydrate with protein and a little fat. This will keep energy levels up and bellies full until lunch time.Skip the sugary fruit drinks, cereals or pastries, as these will cause your child’s blood sugar to spike then drop, leading to fatigue.
Try some of these easy and fast ideas for making a nutritious breakfast that you and your children can enjoy at home or on the go.
- Fruit and Cheese – grab an apple and toss a few cubes of cheddar cheese (the size of 2 dice) and ¼ cup of peanuts (or another nut or pumpkin seeds if nut allergies are a concern) into a plastic bag to take along with you.
- Peanut Butter Waffle – toast a whole grain waffle and spread 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (or other nut butter or sunflower seed butter) and top with sliced apple.
- Strawberry Banana Shake – 1 cup of low-fat milk, 1 cup of strawberries and banana slices, and ⅓ cup of raw rolled oats to a blender, and blend until combined.
- Cereal Sundae – Make cereal portable by replacing the milk with Greek yogurt and mixing it in a plastic container so they can eat it in the car or bus. Add ¼ cup of nuts or fresh or dried fruit, such as chopped peanuts or blueberries.
- Fruit and Spread English Muffin – top a toasted whole grain English muffin or two slices of whole wheat bread with 1 slice of cheese and apple slices, cream cheese and sliced bananas or strawberries, or peanut butter and raisins.
- Beary-Berry Banana Split – Split one banana in half and place in a bowl. Top with a 6oz container of low-fat strawberry yogurt and ¼ cup teddy grahams or other low-sugar dry cereal (8 g or less).
- Cold Cereal and Milk – Whole grain varieties such as Cheerios or Wheaties are good choices. Any cereal with less than 8g of sugar per serving is best. Top with milk and a sliced banana or handful of berries.
- Easy Oatmeal – quick or old-fashioned rolled oats are much more nutritious than oatmeal packets and just as easy to make. Combine ½ cup oats in a bowl with a ¾ cup of milk or water and microwave for 3 minutes. Add ½ cup applesauce, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon. Or try overnight oats.
- Breakfast Dog – place a medium banana into a whole wheat hot dog bun and spread peanut butter over the top.
What is your favorite brain-boosting recipe? Share it in the comments!
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