Our children always seem to be in a hurry in the morning, often rushing off to school with little more than a toaster pastry. What should I do?
While a toaster pastry for breakfast is fine now and then, these goodies generally offer little except fat and calories. However, when breakfast-on-the-run is unavoidable, send along a carton of skim milk, yogurt, or calcium-fortified orange juice to give that toaster pastry some nutrition-packed company.
Breakfast for active children should provide one-fourth to one-third of their daily nutrient and energy needs. Studies show that children who eat a nutrition-packed breakfast do better in school, are more attentive, feel better, and are more likely to engage in physical activities.
Breakfast-eating parents lead to breakfast-eating children. It's especially important for parents to eat a good breakfast every day. Why? Because parents are role models for their children. Children who see their parents eat breakfast are more likely to eat breakfast, too. So, turn off the television, put down the paper and enjoy a healthy breakfast with your children whenever possible. Also, to avoid the morning rush hour, add organizing clothes, shoes and homework to your family's pre-bedtime ritual.
Breakfast can be just about anything, from last night's leftover pizza, macaroni and cheese, a quesadilla made with low fat cheese, a grilled cheese sandwich, or cereal and milk. Add a fruit to any of these to make it complete. Just before going to bed, put boxes of cereal, preferably whole-grain, on the table and pre-poured glasses of milk and juice in the refrigerator.
Here are some quick breakfast ideas to consider:
- Low-fat muffin, yogurt and vegetable juice.
- Whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter and 1/2 banana.
- Pre-packed whole-grain cereal, raisins or other dried fruit and peanuts.
- String cheese with crackers and a piece of fruit.
- Waffle sandwich made with two frozen waffles, toasted; 1 tablespoon mayonnaise-type low-fat salad dressing; 1 lettuce leaf; 2 slices boiled ham or turkey; and 1 slice processed American cheese.
- Graham crackers with a thin layer of peanut butter and a cup of milk.
- Blender drink -- whip together juice, fruit and yogurt.
Here are a few easy and nutritious breakfast recipes:
Creamy Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal
2 cups skim milk
1 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 apple -- peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
In a medium pot, heat the milk over medium heat, almost to a boil. Add the oatmeal, reduce the heat to low, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until all of the milk is soaked up by the oatmeal. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and apple pieces. Stir well and serve. Makes two servings.
2 containers of yogurt (vanilla, lemon, or peach)
2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen): strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or blackberries
1 cup low fat granola
In 2 glasses or plastic cups, add a layer of yogurt to the bottom. Cover with a layer of berries, and then sprinkle on a layer of granola. Repeat the layers until the glasses or cups are full, ending with a sprinkle of granola. Makes two servings.
1 or 2 eggs
1 toasted whole wheat pita or toasted English muffin
Optional item(s): mushrooms, peppers, grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, onions, salsa or whatever else you like
Microwave Directions: Crack eggs into a glass measuring cup and beat well. Mix in any other ingredients you like. Cover tightly with a microwave safe plastic wrap. Microwave at 70 percent 1 minute for 1 egg; 1 1/2 minutes for 2 eggs and slightly longer if you add other ingredients, or if you like your eggs more well done. Spoon into a pita, or onto a toasted English muffin.
Stovetop directions: Crack eggs into a bowl and beat well. Mix in any other ingredients you like. Pour egg mixture into a nonstick pan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until eggs are cooked through. Spoon into a pita or onto a toasted English muffin.
French Toast Sticks
4 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons milk
Powdered sugar and cinnamon for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
Cut each slice of bread into four strips lengthwise. In a small bowl, combine eggs and milk; beat with a fork until frothy. Dip each "stick" of bread in egg mixture and place on baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes until brown. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Makes four servings.