August 26, 2008

“Break the Fast” with a Healthy Breakfast

By Patti Neary, Education Instructor, Pinellas County Extension

School is in session and now is the perfect time to get you and your children in a regular routine of eating a healthy breakfast every morning. “Breaking the fast” after an overnight sleep is essential for children to replenish their bodies with the food and nutrients they need to learn and grow. Here are some great A+ reasons to get the day started with something nutritious and delicious to eat.

Attention: Children who eat a healthy breakfast on a regular basis are less likely to be cranky, tired, and distracted during morning instruction. Eating healthy enables them to concentrate better, pay attention for longer periods of time, listen better and also gives them energy needed for physical education activities. Children and adolescents are able to concentrate solely on learning and not be distracted by hunger.

Attendance: Children who eat a nutritious breakfast on a regular basis are absent less frequently, have improved punctuality, miss less instruction, and are less likely to have health issues.

Academic Achievement: Children who eat a good breakfast show improved cognitive function, memory, attention and recall, and perform better and have higher scores on achievement tests.

Attitude: Eating a nourishing breakfast each day can reduce the risk of obesity in children and adolescents, helping them to feel better about themselves and their appearance.

Not only is breakfast important for your child, it also is essential for you too. Be a positive role model and join your child and eat breakfast together when you can. You too will experience the benefits of eating a nourishing breakfast each day. The key to getting a good start in the morning and having time to eat is keeping breakfast simple and easy. Breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate. Stock your pantry and have food items readily available that can be quickly put together. Whole grain foods such as cereal, bread and bagels, milk, cheese, yogurt, and fruit are good choices. Below are some delicious breakfast ideas and recipes. Remember also to check and see if the school your child attends provides breakfast.

Quick and healthy breakfast ideas:

  • Split a bagel. Layer each half with peanut butter and raisins. Bring along a carton of milk.

  • Warm up leftover pizza and serve with fruit juice.

  • Create a breakfast parfait with layers of fruit yogurt, sliced fresh fruit, and crunchy whole grain cereal.

  • Swirl applesauce and raisins into a packet of hot oatmeal. Serve with a cup of milk.

  • Microwave a frozen pancake, spread with peanut butter, top with sliced bananas, and roll it up.

  • Combine a soft pretzel, string cheese, and fresh fruit.

  • Layer one or two slices of turkey breast and a slice of cheese on a tortilla. Serve with a piece of fruit.

  • Pair a container of yogurt, half a bagel, and fruit juice.

  • Combine in blender until frothy: ½ cup lemon yogurt, ½ cup milk, a dash of vanilla extract, and two ice cubes. Complement with a slice of whole grain toast.

Quick and healthy breakfast recipes:

Yummy Banana Split
1 banana, split lengthwise
½ cup low-fat yogurt (any flavor)
1 large handful granola or chopped nuts
Peel and split banana lengthwise down the center. Place in a bowl and top with yogurt, granola, or nuts. Enjoy!

Strawberry Breakfast Sandwich

A strawberry breakfast sandwich sounds strange, but this one isn't! English muffins topped with cheese, honey, and strawberries make a delicious start to the day.
8 oz. Neufchatel cheese or low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 English muffins, split and toasted
2 cups (10 oz.) sliced strawberries
In food processor, process cheese, honey and zest until well mixed, or mix in bowl with wooden spoon. Spread 1 tablespoon cheese mixture on cut side of 1 muffin half; top with 1/4 cup strawberries. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 8 open-faced sandwiches. Quick tip: Make cheese mixture ahead and store in refrigerator.

Strawberry Breakfast Parfait:

3 tablespoons of graham cracker cereal or graham crackers
broken in pieces¼ cup nonfat vanilla yogurt⅛ cup strawberries, stemmed and
sliced 1 mint sprig (optional)
In each cup, layer 3
tablespoons cereal, 1/4 cup yogurt and 1/8 cup strawberries. Repeat layers. Top
with a mint sprig.

Super Sippin” Smoothie

1 16 oz. container nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt
1 banana
1 10 oz. package frozen sweetened strawberries, partially thawed
¾ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons wheat germ, oat bran or rolled oats
Place all ingredients in blender container. Blend 30
seconds to 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into glasses. Garnish with fresh

Resource Links:

No comments:

Post a Comment