GOT KIDS? GET BREAKFAST!

Children and teens who eat breakfast regularly are shown to have healthier overall diets; increased attendance and reduced tardiness; better test (including SAT) scores and improved weight control.  Improved weight control and maintenance are also benefits for adults, along with a reduced risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease.  Breakfast is a great opportunity to eat fruits and whole grains and many breakfast foods are high in nutrients and fiber, but relatively low in calories.  Despite these good reasons to eat breakfast: 10-30% of children aged 6-19 years are skipping their morning meal.  So if they ate dinner at 7 PM, skipped breakfast the next day and ate lunch at Noon, they have gone 17 hours without eating.  Not a balanced way to eat for growing bodies!

Some reasons for skipping include: lack of time, not hungry and weight loss.  If you or your kids are frequent breakfast skippers, here are some tips to help you make it part of your day:

Lack of Time:

Set the alarm 15 minutes earlier – it’s worth it (Think: improved test scores!)

Prepare for breakfast the night before – for example: set-out cereal, bowls and spoons

Purchase and prepare convenient foods that can be eaten on the run (cereal bars, fruit and fruit juice, instant breakfast drink, even sandwiches or pizza)

Not Hungry:

Try convenient, “Grab-n-go” foods that can be eaten later in the morning

Involve your kids in food selection and preparation

Make it a fun meal with parfaits, frozen banana pops or tote bags for eating on the run

Weight Loss:

Skipping breakfast is a technique frequently used by teenage girls and some adults in an attempt to lose weight.  Breakfast actually jumpstarts your body into burning energy and may lead to other healthy habits during the day, so consider it a meal not to be skipped!

 

To create a balanced breakfast, include 2-3 of the 5 food groups, for example:

Cereal with milk and fresh fruit

Scrambled egg and cheese sandwich/wrap with juice

Yogurt parfait (alternate layers of yogurt, crushed cereal and fresh fruit

Oatmeal with raisins and milk

Hard-boiled egg and a banana

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