Why breakfast?

We all lead busy lives, and there’s always something that just has to get today. (Here in Maine we call it being “right out straight.”) While this is true for everyone, one of the most important things you can make time for is breakfast!  Eating breakfast can give you the stamina needed to accomplish all those other important tasks.

You’ve heard it before: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Probably you’ve heard it so many times because it’s true. When you eat breakfast you have more energy, you can keep your focus easier, and you are more apt to eat healthier throughout the day. Many people believe that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight, but if you eat a healthy breakfast it will actually kick start your metabolism, and that full feeling will keep you from consuming empty calories later on.

When children have a nutritious breakfast, they do better in school and are more likely to participate in sports. Kids who don’t eat breakfast have a more difficult time paying attention in school, which often leads to poor performance and behavioral problems. They also miss more school and are more likely to have a higher BMI (body mass index), which means they may be overweight.

To learn more about the connection between nutrition, physical activity and academic success, read the Wellness Impact Report executive summary at http://www.genyouthfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The_Wellness_Impact_Exec_Sum.pdf or the long version is at http://www.genyouthfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The_Wellness_Impact_Report.pdf/.

While any breakfast is better than no breakfast at all, it’s important to try and eat things lower in calories, sugar and fat. Save those sprinkle-covered, jelly-filled doughnuts for once in a while treats, and add some variety to your breakfasts by trying to include at least three of the five main food groups:

  • Dairy
  • Grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat

Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information and tips about how to ensure you are getting the right amount of servings of each food group each day.

Ingredients for a healthier breakfast are:

  • Dairy Products – milk, cheese, and yogurt are all sources of high quality protein you can add to make a healthy breakfast!
  • Fruit – Top your cereal, oatmeal or yogurt with fresh or dried fruit!
  • Vegetables – make an omelet with some veggies like peppers and tomatoes in it.
  • Protein – try adding some eggs or nuts to your breakfast.
  • Grains – go for the whole grains.

Ideas for a healthy breakfast:

  • Omelet with cheese and veggies
  • French toast or pancakes made with whole grain bread or flour (add some fruit on top)
  • Cereal with milk and fruit
  • Whole grain English muffin with cheese and a side of fruit
  • Yogurt parfait with fruit and granola
  • Fruit smoothie made with milk and/or yogurt
  • Oatmeal cooked in milk (or soak a half cup on rolled oats in 1 cup of  yogurt, milk or a combination thereof overnight and it will be ready when you get up in the morning).

Still too busy?

Like I said earlier, any breakfast is better than no breakfast, here are some quick breakfast ideas you can either prepare the night before or grab on your way out the door:

  • Fresh fruit and cheese
  • English muffin with peanut butter and a cheese stick on the side
  • Yogurt with a trail mix
  • Cold leftover pizza. That’s right folks, I said it – pizza. Make sure it’s a whole grain crust, low-fat cheese and lots of veggies like peppers, spinach, fresh or sun dried tomatoes, even sweet potato or cubed squash. Pizza is not junk food if it’s made correctly.

I just found this recipe from Food Recipes HQ on Pinterest. It’s a great way to save time by incorporating the oh-so-important morning coffee into your breakfast smoothie. This one is probably best for the adults.

Coffee and Banana Smoothie

¾ to 1 cup fresh brewed coffee, cooled

1 medium banana (best if frozen)

1-2 Tbsp. honey

2 ice cubes

1 ½ cups yogurt

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and mixed. Pour it into your favorite travel mug or Mason jar and take it to go!

For the kids, this recipe from the National Dairy Council is sure to be a hit.

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Shake

1 cup milk

½ cup frozen banana slices

1 Tbsp. peanut butter

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. vanilla extract

Sweet cocoa powder (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, if desired.

Follow DrinkMaineMilk.org on Pinterest for more recipes, including some excellent smoothies.