Build a Better Breakfast

Getting kids to school on time is certainly an endeavor. If your kids regularly arrive at school clean, fed, and on time, I applaud you. With all the hurdles of choosing clothing (that at least somewhat matches), brushing teeth, finding both shoes, and taming bedhead, breakfast can often get overlooked. We all know that breakfast is important, and for all of you out there living in the world of missed alarms, tangled hair, and temper tantrums, there is good news: breakfast can be healthy AND simple! 

Breakfast is a crucial tool in your child’s toolbox for success. However, not all breakfast foods are created equal. Your child needs a nutrient-rich breakfast full of energy that will last until lunchtime. All food is made up of three nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates, such as grains, cereals, and fruit, are the most quickly absorbed and digested nutrient. The body needs more time to digest protein and fat, so those nutrients provide a longer-lasting energy supply. Fat is certainly healthy in moderation, but we want to focus on bulking up our breakfast with protein to provide our bodies with plenty of energy to get through the morning.

Much of what we would consider typical breakfast foods, such as pancakes, waffles, cereal, and toast, are carbohydrates. Fitting more protein into your morning meal may require some creativity, but it is absolutely doable.

Here are some ideas for you and your kids:

  • Mix last night’s leftover ground beef or turkey in your scrambled eggs.

  • Add Greek yogurt or peanut butter to your fruit smoothie.
  • Melt cheddar or Swiss cheese on top of your whole-wheat toast.

  • Create a breakfast “banana split” by topping a length-wise sliced banana with cottage cheese, fruit preserves, and nuts.

  • Top whole-wheat English muffin halves with low-fat cheese and a tomato slice for a quick breakfast pizza.

  • Spread ricotta cheese onto French bread slices and top with fruit.

o   Protein-rich ricotta cheese is a great option for kids! It is drier than cottage cheese and milder than cream cheese, so it is generally more pleasing to children’s palates. 

Thanks to Texas Tech Dietetic Intern,  Ashleigh Arthurs,  for today's blog post.

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