Eating breakfast can improve children's behavior and school performance, as well as help them maintain a healthy weight. But a survey by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation reveals that breakfast isn't eaten all of the time by 42 percent of Caucasian and Hispanic children, and 59 percent of African American children.
This news is startling; when children skip breakfast, research shows us that their brains and bodies suffer all day long.
While breakfast might seem like a hurdle in your busy morning, a healthy diet doesn't need to take extra time to prepare.
- Get organized the night before. Get out a pan for pancakes or a blender for smoothies. Prepare muffin or waffle mix so it's ready to cook in the morning.
- Keep breakfast simple. On busy days, get the family going with something as quick as a bowl of whole-grain cereal with a banana.
- Pack your breakfast to go. If there's no time to eat at home, plan a nutritious option to eat in the car or bus. Busy teens can grab a banana, a bag of trail mix and a carton of milk.
Protein — a missing component in many morning meals — helps children go strong and stay focused until lunch. Go lean with protein choices: a slice or two of Canadian bacon, an egg, a slice of lean deli meat or low-fat cheese, a container of low-fat yogurt or peanut butter on toast.
Add in nutrient-rich whole grains to energize both kids' bodies and brains along with an extra nutrition punch. Plus, whole grains provide a longer lasting source of energy and curb hunger as they tend to digest more slowly. Serve kids whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal or whole-grain breads, muffins, waffles or pancakes.
Breakfast is a perfect time to enjoy fruits and vegetables children need for optimal health. Try fresh seasonal fruit alone or in cereal, add frozen fruits to yogurt, or toss chopped vegetables into an omelet.
Whatever your morning routine, remember that breakfast is an important meal for the family, and doesn't have to be time consuming!