It’s never old news to talk about how important it is to get kids to eat breakfast. But some breakfasts aren’t kid stuff.
For some tips, we looked to one of the experts.
Gary Geiser has built a reputation for his insane “habanero-hot” green chili sauce, which he serves up at his King’s Chef Diners. He has lots of local fans. But now, with help from the TV Food Network Magazine, he’ll be known around the country as Colorado’s Breakfast King.
On June 29, the food magazine published a list of the best places in 50 states to have breakfast. King’s Chef was singled out in Colorado as the place to start your day — with his breakfast burrito.
His burrito is huge. It’s filled with eggs, hash browns, sausage and optional grilled onions. Then he tops it with cheese and serves a side of that over-the-top green chili with it.
OK, it’s a gut-buster that no one would eat every day, much less serve up to youngsters on their way to school. But Geiser is a dad, too, so he knows a thing or two about what it takes to get his kids’ day started. Since he’s usually at work early on school days, it’s his wife who runs the breakfast show at home.
“My wife said she does not let the kids watch TV or get dressed prior to having some food in their tummies,” he said in an e-mail. “We always have stuff like Cliff Bars, fresh fruit, yogurt, Ensures and smoothies available for a quick grab. But my wife likes to make quick, easy items like scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes.”
Like so many parents with school-age children, the Geisers know that what every mother has said forever is true: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast may be the only time kids or adults consume fruit juice and milk — when they can get important nutrients like vitamin C and calcium.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, “adolescents between the ages of 9 and 18 need 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily. Because nearly half of adult bone mass is formed during these years, it is imperative that adolescents consume the recommended amounts of calcium. With good calcium consumption during these critical years, adolescents will build a strong skeletal foundation.”
A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, found that 20 percent of children and 32 percent of adolescents skip breakfast.
“Breakfast should provide about one-third of the day’s nutrients, but it serves an additional role that’s vitally important for kids,” says Liz Weiss, a dietitian, blogger and who, with Janice Newell-Bissex, also a dietitian, wrote “The Meal Makeover Moms” book. “The nourishment and energy that a good breakfast provides helps unlock your child’s potential as they head to school. They simply cannot perform as well in the classroom — or the playing field — without a nutritious morning meal.”
But that all said, the bottom line is: Getting kids out the door on school days can be chaotic.
Marty Meitus, with the federal Women, Infants and Children program in Denver and was the food editor for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver for 28 years, has some tips for helping kids get that all-important breakfast quickly.
“For the back-to-school breakfast, I suggest an egg sandwich,” she said about a recipe she teaches clients who participate in the WIC program. “Because they can do an egg in the microwave in 40 seconds in a custard cup. Then put the egg on a whole-wheat English muffin and add a slice of cheese and they have the ubiquitous egg sandwich.”
Then there are her “monster” yogurt faces.
“Kids can put cereal ‘hair’ and grape ‘eyes’ or blueberries like a ‘mouth’ on top of a flavored nonfat yogurt,” she said. “It’s been a big hit because it’s more interesting than just cereal or yogurt.”
She does something similar for a breakfast pizza.
“I also think it’s fine to do a variation on pizza faces, using a whole-wheat English muffin, and melt mozzarella cheese or cheddar on top,” she said. “I do banana muffin tops too. You make them like drop cookies and it only has 1/2 cup brown sugar for the whole batter. They’re really perfect for breakfast because they can put the dry ingredients together and add eggs, oil and bananas when they have some ripe ones on the counter. We’ve also kept the wet batter in the fridge overnight and it still works.”
For more help, visit whymilk.com. Weiss and Newell-Bissex, along with the “Got milk? campaign,” came up with a checklist for getting the school day off to a good start while building a strong family, too.
Then on weekends, when you have more time, take the family to one of Geiser’s King’s Chef Diners to indulge in a hearty breakfast burrito.
BANANA BREAKFAST SHAKE
Yield: 2 servings
1 1/2 cups fat-free or lowfat milk
1 peeled and sliced medium banana, frozen
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
Cinnamon for garnish, optional
1. In blender container, combine all ingredients except cinnamon. Blend until smooth, about 20 seconds.
2. Pour into glasses and garnish with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
4 flour tortillas
1. Brown sausage in skillet. Drain off fat and pat dry with paper towel.
Break eggs in bowl and scramble with a fork. Add eggs to skillet with sausage. Cook over medium heat until fluffy. Top with cheese.
2. Heat flour tortillas in microwave on plate covered with a paper towel. Fill each tortilla with an adequate amount of egg/sausage mixture and garnish with sliced avocado, salsa and sour cream.
Yield: 6 servings
6 slices whole-wheat bread or English muffins, toasted
1 (8-ounce) can tomato or pizza sauce
Toppings of choice, such as sliced bell peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced carrots, sliced mushrooms, steamed green beans or sliced zucchini
1. Spoon 1 tablespoon tomato or pizza sauce and spread over each half. Make faces with vegetables, such as mushroom or bell-pepper hair, tomato or carrot or zucchini eyes. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
2. Toast in oven or toaster oven until cheese melts.
Marty Meitus, Women, Infants and Children program
BANANA MUFFIN-TOP COOKIES
Yield: About 30 soft cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1/2 cup canola oil
2 very ripe large bananas
Additional brown sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together all dry ingredients.
2. In separate bowl, beat eggs and oil. Add bananas and beat until mixture is thick and somewhat smooth. Add dry ingredients to mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Drop batter onto greased cookie sheet using a large spoon or small ice cream scoop. Bake 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Marty Meitus (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens “Silly Snacks”) with the WIC program
Call Farney at 636-0271. Hear her “KVOR Table Talk,” radio show noon to 1 p.m. Saturdays on 740 AM.