By Katelyn Doggett
School is back in session, which means parents are hurrying around in the morning trying to get the kids to school on time. With all the rush, be sure not to forget about making a healthy breakfast.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, studies have found that breakfast eaters tend to have higher school attendance, concentrate better, solve problems more easily and have better muscle coordination, among numerous other benefits. Save time with these easy, healthy breakfast tips and ideas to take advantage of all the benefits eating breakfast offers for people of all ages.
Stock up your kitchen
It may seem like common sense, but make sure your kitchen has easy to prepare foods for when you’re in a rush. Stock up on breakfast cereals, fresh fruits, instant oatmeal, bagels, whole-grain toaster waffles and yogurt cups. These things are easy to prepare or grab on the way out the door. If you have these foods on hand, you’ll be less likely to skip breakfast.
Eat even if you’re not hungry
A common excuse for not eating breakfast is not being hungry first thing in the morning. Eating even something small helps provide the nourishment needed to jump-start the day. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends starting off by eating a piece of whole-wheat toast and a cup of 100 percent fruit juice.
If you think you or your child might get hungry later, you can pack a mid-morning snack, such as a hardboiled egg, low fat or fat-free yogurt or low-fat string cheese.
Make a breakfast bar
Eatright.org recommends setting up a breakfast bar, where kids can build their own breakfast. By setting out potential foods for your children to eat and letting them mix and match, they can choose something they actually want to eat that is still healthy. Some ideas for the breakfast bar include waffles, low-fat yogurt, dry cereals, cottage cheese, chopped nuts, dried cranberries and raisins, a variety of berries and whole grain bread, but the opportunities are endless. This might take a little more time, but prep work can be done the night before.
Refurbish your oatmeal
Oatmeal is a superfood that helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, but the idea of eating plain oatmeal might sound boring. If a bowl of plain oatmeal is not your idea of a tasty breakfast, try experimenting with different toppings. You can start off with classics like brown sugar, milk and raisins, but the sky is the limit. Add in fresh fruits, such as bananas, apples or peaches, try mixing in a bit of pumpkin pie puree or Greek yogurt or even go the savory route by sprinkling on some bacon or topping it with a cooked egg.
Branch out beyond breakfast foods
Some people skip breakfast because they don’t like breakfast foods. Eating anything helps your body refuel and start your day off right. If breakfast foods aren’t your thing, try heating up last night’s leftovers, grabbing a slice of pizza or warming up a bowl of soup. Sure, it’s not traditional, but the food will still provide the benefits of eating a morning meal.
For more information on healthy breakfast ideas visit eatright.org.