Healthy Fuel for Busy Mornings
It's a no-brainer: Healthy breakfasts fuel good days at school—and beyond. Yet kids are dropping out of the breakfast club at an alarming rate. Rushed mornings, busy families ... we know. That's why we've got a guide to breakfasts on the go that you and your kids will love
Landmark studies link even the simplest morning meal (a bowl of cereal, a splash of milk, a few banana slices) with better attention spans, sharper fact recall, and happier moods for kids. But although 95% of elementary school kids (and 87% of teens) ate breakfast in 1965, fewer than 86% (and fewer than 70% of teens) do so today. The reason: rushed mornings, busy families.
The solution? Breakfast to go.
"A good breakfast is easier than you think," says children's nutritionist Jackie Berning, PhD, RD, of the University of Colorado. "Choosing the right foods, you can make an easy brown-bag breakfast in advance or even buy breakfast at a fast-food place or convenience store and know that your kids are getting a healthy meal." Just follow Berning's three-food rule:
1. Fruit: Whole or cut-up fruit, or 1/2 cup of orange juice. Fruit supplies carbohydrates (for energy), vitamins A and C, plus a wealth of healthy antioxidants.
2. Whole grains: Whole wheat toast (look for varieties with at least 3 g of fiber per slice) or hot or cold whole grain cereal. Grains provide carbs, vitamin E, folic acid, and heart-healthy fiber.
3. Protein: Two eggs, 6 to 8 oz of low-fat yogurt, 1 cup of 1% milk, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Protein is the building block for growth and for repairing most body systems; dairy sources add bone-building calcium.
The following three-food meals are easy to put together on a busy morning and even easier to eat on the run.
Assemble these meals in brown paper bags the night before and keep them ready in your fridge.
A mozzarella cheese stick, two slices of whole wheat bread with a dab of trans fat-free margarine, and 1 cup of seedless red grapes
A half-pint carton of 1% milk, a banana, and half of a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread
Breakfast trail mix (1 cup whole grain cereal, 1/4 cup nuts, 1/4 cup dried fruit) and a half-pint carton of 1% milk
Blender Drinks to Go
Throw everything into a blender, and give it a whirl. Serve with one or two slices of whole wheat bread with trans fat-free margarine.
Try these three blender combinations:
1 cup 1% milk or low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1 small banana, 2 teaspoons honey, 4 ice cubes
1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 cup low-fat chocolate yogurt, 1/2 banana, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, 4 ice cubes
Dunkin' Donuts: Half of a wheat bagel with light cream cheese, a small orange juice, and a half-pint carton of 1% milk
McDonald's: A Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait with Granola and an orange juice (bring a single-serve box of whole grain cereal to add more healthy fiber)
Gas-station convenience store: a container of low-fat yogurt, a banana or small orange juice, and a single-serve box of whole grain cereal
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