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Health & Wellness

Send Kids Off to School Right with a Healthy Breakfast

Most of us have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It isn’t just a cliché. Breakfast gives all of us the fuel we need to handle our busy days. And it's especially important for kids and teens.

The American Dietetic Association says kids who eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to:

  • Meet their daily nutrition requirements
  • Miss fewer days of school
  • Be more alert and concentrate better
  • Have better problem-solving skills
  • Have better hand-eye coordination
  • Be more creative
  • Be more physically active

What makes up a healthy breakfast? Breakfast should include complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and a small amount of fat. Include foods from each of these groups to help kids (and adults!) get the most from breakfast:

  • Whole grains: whole-grain rolls and bagels, hot or cold whole-grain cereals, low-fat bran muffins, or whole-grain crackers
  • Low-fat protein: peanut butter, lean meat, poultry or fish, or hard-boiled eggs
  • Low-fat dairy: skim milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses, such as cottage cheese and natural cheeses
  • Fruits and vegetables: fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, 100 percent juice beverages without added sugar, or fruit and vegetable smoothies. Be sure to choose low-sodium versions of beverages.

Short on time? A bowl of cereal, the old standby, isn’t your only option. Cover a whole-wheat tortilla with grated cheese, fold over and zap in the microwave for 20 seconds. Serve with salsa and a piece of fruit. Or make a breakfast shake with banana slices, frozen strawberries and low-fat milk or yogurt. Blend for 30 seconds and serve with a whole-wheat bagel.

Sources: Mayo Clinic; Journal of the American Dietetic Association