Did you know that half of American families skip breakfast – the most important meal of the day? Your kids especially need to start the day off on the right nutritional foot with a good breakfast.

Breakfast for everyone

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Did you know that half of American families skip breakfast – the most important meal of the day?  Your kids especially need to start the day off on the right nutritional foot with a good breakfast. It is a meal that will not happen on its own. You’ll need to make the time to have breakfast ready for the kids before they head out the door. Here is more about this nutritionally important meal for you and your kids.

Healthealth benefits to breakfast for your children:

  • Better memory and retention of information
  • Improved test scores
  • Better attention in class

Make breakfast happen:

  • Set the breakfast table the night before
  • Get up earlier in the morning – even 15 minutes will help
  • Loosely plan the breakfast menu to reduce prep time in the morning

The nutritional components to a healthy breakfast:

  • Protein: cheese, milk, yogurt, nuts and nut butters, egg, poultry, red meat
  • Starch: whole-grain muffins, bread and cereal, potato, rice, pasta
  • Vegetable and/or Fruit

Unless you have a good fairy around, breakfast will not magically happen. But with a little planning it can be a routine activity in the morning. You might think outside the box, too, for the menu to make it more interesting:

  • Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup
  • Leftover pizza and fruit
  • Yogurt, and frozen fruits blended into smoothies
  • Cheese and crackers, plus seasonal fruit cup
  • Leftover beef stew

Nothing says breakfast always has to be cereal and milk, although that is certainly a healthy but traditional option. You might make ahead on the weekend breakfast items that just require a quick reheat during the week: hearty whole-grain muffins, hard boiled eggs, veggie-egg muffin cups, and French toast. And be sure to add a beverage to breakfast such as milk or water so that you and your children start the day well-hydrated.

Recipes to try:

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About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.