School has started, and everyone wants this to be the best school year ever.

School has started, and everyone wants this to be the best school year ever.

An important way to make this a reality is to be sure children begin their day with a healthy breakfast. Well-nourished children are ready to learn, and teachers say it’s obvious when children skip breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to have better school attendance, less tardiness, and few hunger-induced stomachaches. Children who eat breakfast have higher overall test scores and superior muscle coordination. It is also easier for them to solve problems. Skipping breakfast can lead to mild under-nutrition that could have a lasting effect on a child’s achievement.

Breakfast leads to a healthier weight. People think skipping breakfast helps lose weight. Not true. “Breakfast skippers” often end up feeling starved and overeat at lunch or snack on high calorie foods. One habit of “maintainers” – people who lost weight and kept it off – is eating breakfast. A healthy, high-fiber breakfast helps control weight.

 Some say, “I’m not hungry in the morning.” In actuality, you have conditioned your body not to be hungry. To build up your appetite, start with a glass of milk or juice, then a week later, add a piece of toast or fruit, then cereal.

 Raise responsible kids and teach them to make their own breakfast. Try these “make on your own” kid pleasers:

Peanut butter, banana and jelly sandwich Yogurt topped with cereal and fresh fruit Apple and cheese slices with wheat crackers Scrambled egg and salsa wrapped in tortilla   

For a quick breakfast, start your day with a shake and whole-wheat toast, a bran muffin or high-fiber trail mix.

 

Wake up shake

1 small banana

3⁄4 cup skim milk

1 cup nonfat fruit flavored yogurt

1⁄4 cup orange juice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Makes 2 1-cup servings. 180 calories, 1 gram of fat. Exchanges: 1⁄2 milk, 1 fruit


Lynda Johnson is a nutrition and health education specialist with MU Extension. For more information, contact her at johnsonl@missouri.edu or 660-584-3658.