Healthy Breakfast Tips Just in Time for Back to School

Healthy Breakfast Tips Just in Time for Back to School
Image: Pixabay
August 13, 2015

The first day of school is right around the corner and with it comes busy schedules. Busy schedules, though, are no excuse for kids to skip breakfast.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reminding parents that a healthy breakfast is essential for growing kids, who often performed better in the classroom if they've had a meal before school starts.

Children are different and for some, breakfast can be a battle. Balance and compromise may make it easier to bring your children to the table.

Breakfast is simply the first meal of the day, and no one is required to eat traditional breakfast foods of cereal, bacon, eggs, or pancakes. If your child pushes away a plate of waffles, there's no rule saying you can't heat up some of last night's dinner leftovers or make them a turkey sandwich.

Forcing kids to eat food they don't like isn't effective for any meal of the day, so give kids food that they already enjoy. Give a pizza-loving kid leftover multigrain veggie pizza for breakfast. A peanut-butter-lover might like peanut butter spread on a zucchini muffin.

Sugary cereal is low in nutritional value, but an easy way to a kid's heart. Compromise by mixing a little bit of the sugary stuff with a healthier whole grain cereal. "Nothing has to be off the table altogether, and sometimes just a taste of something your kids like is enough to keep them happy," FDA dietitian Carole Adler said in a release.

Adler also says that nutritional balance is key throughout the entire day. If breakfast was lacking in fruit or vegetable servings, add some more later in the day.

It can be hard to pack breakfast into a busy day. It's the easiest meal to skip. A breakfast on the move is better than no breakfast at al. Sending your kid off with a piece of fruit, a bag of trail mix, or a whole-wheat tortilla with peanut butter to eat on the bus or in the car is better than an empty stomach.

Smoothies are another great on-the-go option since they can be easily transported in a water bottle. Smoothies made with low-fat yogurt, fruits and even some hidden vegetables can provide your child with the nutrients he or she needs to get through the morning.

Rushed mornings aren't the best times to be cutting fruits and making pancakes from scratch. Take some time the night before to get everything read for the next day. If you can spare a portion of your Sunday, take part in the Sunday Food Prep movement and do the bulk of your prep work in one day. Cut fruit, mix pancake batter, hard-boil eggs, bake muffins, and do anything else that would help you cut down cook times in the mornings during the week. Get inspiration and tips using the hashtag #SundayFoodPrep.

All of this work is for nothing if you aren't making healthy choices at the source. Use the Nutrition Facts label and ingredient list to make sure you're buying nutrient-dense foods that are low in salt and added sugars.

For more information, visit the FDA website.