August means back to school, which means mornings are about to turn into a daily marathon of checking clothing choices and backpacks, watching the clock and figuring out a good breakfast for the family.
“After going all night without any nutrition, it is important for children and adults to feed their brains before they get moving for the day,” said Karen Beers, clinical dietitian at UCHealth Memorial Hospital. “A healthy breakfast should have some protein, such as eggs, dairy, meats, nuts or legumes, and complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains. Fruit is also a great addition at breakfast as well. I recommend avoiding high-sugar foods at breakfast as these are likely to cause a ‘crash’ in midmorning.”
If commercial cereal is in your breakfast toolbox, that means looking for low-sugar options, with less than 6 grams of added sugar per serving, says Patricia Kulbeth, a dietitian formerly with UCHealth.
“Another good guideline is to not pick cereals with sugar listed in the top three ingredients on the label,” Kulbeth said. “The lower down the list, the better. And beware of hidden sweet stuff. Check the ingredient list for sugar imposters, including glucose, maltodextrin, high-fructose corn syrup and evaporated cane juice.”
Crystal Hoganson, mother of children ages 12, 10 and 7, offers bananas with peanut butter and keeps packets of instant no-sugar-added oatmeal at the ready.
“I always have fruit available,” said Hoganson, who practices healthy eating habits. “My middle son and younger daughter love, love fruit. Honestly, for me, the easiest thing to fix is scrambled eggs. They all love it in the winter when I make Cream of Wheat, but it takes a little longer.”
Trina Shook, a nurse who is also careful about what her three boys eat, said, “I make big batches of burritos, about 12 at a time on weekends, and freeze them. It’s easy for them to grab out of the freezer and microwave. You can buy them frozen, but they are so easy to make and I know what’s in them.”
Other ideas from our moms and dietiiians included overnight oats cooking in a slow cooker, hard-boiled eggs; whole-grain toast spread with avocado or nut butters; egg muffins (think small, crustless quiches); muffins made with whole grains, zucchini, carrots, nuts, seeds and dried fruit; breakfast tacos; and burritos filled with cooked potatoes, veggies, beans and tofu. Some can be made the night or weekend before, which can give you days of zero-prep breakfasts.
Here are some breakfast recipes to jump-start a school day.
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