Back-to-School Breakfasts: Keep It Simple and Healthy

On harried, hurried school mornings, it may seem sugary cereal with milk is the easiest breakfast option.

The truth: It doesn’t take long to serve a healthy breakfast—and the benefits are well worth the effort.

Studies show that kids who eat a healthy breakfast tend to have better school attendance, less tardiness and fewer hunger-induced stomachaches in the morning, according to Toby Smithson, a registered dietitiannutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Their overall test scores are better, they concentrate better, solve problems more easily and have better muscle coordination,” Smithson says. “Children who eat breakfast are also less likely to be overweight and more likely to get enough calcium.”

But simply eating breakfast is not enough. It has to be a healthy breakfast.

This is even more important if you’re battling any blood sugar problems, which my older daughter and I do. If we don’t eat a protein-rich breakfast, we run the risk of literally passing out. Not fun. Even if you don’t suffer from blood sugar issues, many nutritionists will tell you protein is the star of any breakfast recipe.

Delicious Protein-Rich Breakfasts Include:

Fried or soft-boiled egg, whole-grain toast and fruit or avocado slices

Scrambled egg with cheese, topped with salsa, sometimes wrapped in a tortilla

Instant plain grits with shredded low-fat cheddar cheese and soy bacon bits

Cheese toast or whole-grain muffin or bagel half with fruit on the side

Frozen whole-grain blueberry waffle topped with peanut butter

Peanut butter toast with banana

Fruit smoothies or green smoothies (the older daughter includes plenty of protein, with some combination of milk, yogurt, protein powder or peanut butter)

Low-fat yogurt, topped with granola

Lean turkey on toast or a whole-grain English muffin, with a slice of tomato or avocado

Oatmeal with fresh or dried fruit and chopped nuts or peanut butter

Almond butter on whole-grain toast, muffin or waffle

If your kids don’t like breakfast foods—or get bored with them—let them eat a sandwich or leftovers. Anything is fine if it’s healthy food. Encourage them to fix their own—and to avoid prepackaged, processed foods as much as possible.

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