|September is National Breakfast Month
If back to school means back to busy mornings at your house, don’t let the hectic rush force you to sacrifice breakfast. September is National Breakfast Month – a good time to commit to incorporating a smart morning meal into your family’s daily routine.
Make sure that breakfast is as healthy as it is tasty by including grains and protein as part of the meal. Grains are an important part of daily dietary needs; strive for two or three servings each morning to get a good start on the six servings you need each day. Protein means staying power: these foods will keep you and your kids feeling energized all morning long. Here are some tips to help ensure that your family gets a nutritious start to even the busiest of days:
- Making a simple, healthy breakfast can be one of a young child’s first “I can do that!” moments in the kitchen. Set out two or three boxes of favorite cereals and teach your preschooler to pour it into a bowl. Use a small scoop or measuring cup to demonstrate portion size. Incorporate her participation into the morning routine, and before you know it, she really will be handling it by herself.
- Teach kids the difference in the nutrition profile of cereal by using the “topping” method. Three-quarters of the bowl could be a whole grain, low-sugar cereal.
Colored cereals or those with higher sugar content can be sprinkled lightly on top.
- Use weekends wisely. If you’re whipping up pancakes or waffles one lazy Saturday morning, make an extra batch to be enjoyed during the week. Wrap in plastic, store in the refrigerator or freezer, and warm in the microwave or toaster when ready to eat.
- For a fast, tasty start to the morning, nothing beats the simplicity of toast. Top with peanut, almond or cashew butter, or melted goat or feta cheese, for protein staying-power. A sprinkle of fresh herbs like chopped basil or sage, or a spice like ground ginger or cinnamon, adds important anti-oxidants.
- Also easy: Toast an English muffin or bagel, and add a sliced hard-boiled egg, slice of ham, Swiss cheese or anything else you have on hand that appeals to your taste buds for a quick breakfast sandwich.
- Absolutely no prep time? Open a box of whole wheat crackers, grab a banana or apple, and head out the door!
- Kids will enjoy creating their own combinations of breakfast trail mix. Fill small plastic baggies with a mix of healthful, whole grain cereals, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds or walnuts and dried fruit. Keep a stash on hand to grab when eating in the car.
- And finally: Get in the habit of taking 10 minutes before turning off the kitchen lights each night to set up for the next morning. Make sure that backpacks, homework and balls for after-school soccer practice are in place. Recharge your cell phone. Clear the kitchen counter. Little tasks like these take up valuable time on busy mornings; addressing them the night before will leave more time to focus on breakfast the next day