Build an Easy Breakfast

Mornings can be a hectic time to get everyone fed and off to the places we have to be often early in the morning. Breakfast may not always be a top priority. However, breakfast is a very important part of the day for you and everyone in your family. For some ideas, Super Healthy Kids has a list of recipes to help make your mornings a little easier:

Here are some of the highlights:

However you choose to make breakfast a part of your family’s day, be sure keep it simple!


Oats Make a Meal: How do you eat yours?


Did you know Saturday October 29th is National Oatmeal Day?

Why do we love Oatmeal? Oatmeal contains fiber, which stays in the stomach longer and helps us feel fuller, longer. This can help kids easily get through the school morning until lunchtime, help prevent overeating and help maintain a healthy weight.

Once cup of oatmeal contains only 150 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein. In addition to the fiber and protein, oatmeal is rich in thiamin, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and iron.

There are three types of oatmeal, steel-cut oats (whole oat grain), rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats), and instant oats (most processed and frequently loaded with sweeteners). As good rule of thumb is to choose the less processed because they will have more fiber and health benefits.

Oatmeal should be a pantry staple because it’s so versatile. Oatmeal can be prepared minimalistic with just milk and honey or you can jazz it up with berries and nuts. Sprinkle some dried oatmeal to your yogurt for extra texture and fullness. Out of breadcrumbs; oatmeal can be used to crust baked chicken for dinner. Check out more ways to prepare oatmeal:

To learn more about oatmeal’s history, health benefits, fiber, and ways to mix up the oatmeal bowl click here:


Jasmine is an EFNEP intern.

Break the Fast with Breakfast

Since we were kids, we’ve been told breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, do you know why? Our bodies fast each night as we sleep. By morning, our blood glucose levels have been exhausted and need replenishing. Glucose gives our bodies fuel to function both physically and mentally. Breakfast provides that fuel.

  • Here’s a quick list of some breakfast eating benefits:
    Adults and children who skip breakfast have trouble staying focused at work and at school.
  • No breakfast means no energy. Breakfast skippers become fatigued and grouchy more easily.
  • Breakfast provides the nutrition we need each day. Researchers have shown that people who eat breakfast are more likely to meet their needs for calcium, iron, riboflavin, folic acid, iron, vitamins A and D and other nutrients. They also eat less fat.
  • People who eat breakfast tend to eat more healthfully all day.
  • Breakfast skippers usually don’t make up for the nutrients they missed at breakfast – and they may end up overeating later in the day.
  • Eating breakfast helps with weight management – Grabbing high calorie snacks and overeating increases calorie intake, which in turn, causes weight gain.

mealtime_f4So, now that we know why eating breakfast is important, what does a good breakfast look like?

  • Aim for variety. Choose foods from three or four different food groups, such as a grain, meat, fruit and milk.
  • Have some protein. Researchers have shown that people who eat a protein-containing breakfast performed better on tests involving thinking and concentration. For example, having a glass of milk, container of yogurt, a piece of cheese, peanut butter on your toast or a hard-cooked egg all would add protein.
  • Choose cereal wisely. When shopping, look high on the shelves instead of at eye level or lower, where the kids’ cereals often are placed.
  • Read the Nutrition Facts labels carefully. Compare fiber, sugar content, vitamins and minerals.
  • Compare cereal prices. Consider store brands, and use the unit price found on most store shelves.
  • Choose whole-grain cereals and whole-grain breads. To select whole-grain foods, check the first couple of items on the ingredient list. For example, look for oatmeal, whole wheat or whole grain.

breakfast-1615784_1280Below are some breakfast ideas that might help you start your day.

  • Cereal with sliced bananas and milk
  • Homemade cereal mix with whole-grain cereal, nuts, dried fruit and milk
  • Graham crackers with peanut butter, and a fruit and yogurt smoothie
  • Waffles with fresh strawberries, lean ham and low-fat milk.
  • Oatmeal with raisins and low-fat milk
  • Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast, apple slices and low-fat milk
  • Mini-pizzas made with English muffins, pizza sauce, cheese, Canadian bacon or other toppings and orange juice
  • Scrambled eggs, whole-wheat toast, orange slices and low-fat milk
  • Scrambled eggs with salsa wrapped in tortillas, sliced peaches and low-fat milk



Break the fast: Start the day off smart!


Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. My mother always made sure we started our day with foods such as eggs, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes and breakfast meats like bacon and sausage. But, breakfast can be so much more than these traditional foods that can take more time to prepare that we often have in our rush to get out the door on a weekday morning.

Here are some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help you and your family get a healthy breakfast and still get out the door.

Plan Ahead

  • Get ready the night before: Set the table with bowls and spoons for cereal. Get out a pan for pancakes or a blender for smoothies. Slice up some fruit and cheese.
  • Keep it simple: Fancy breakfasts are wonderful when you have the time. On busy days, a sandwich, a slice of leftover pizza, or low-fat yogurt with fruit work just fine.
  • Pack to-go: If there is no time to eat at home, take your breakfast to-go. Pack a brown bag breakfast for the road – or see if your school offers a breakfast program.

Include Protein/Carbs

  • Carbohydrates: A high-octane carbohydrate energizes your body and brain for a busy day. Think cereal (hot or cold), bread, dinner rolls, tortillas, or even leftover rice or pasta. Choose whole grains for an extra nutrition punch (more fiber and nutrients).
  • Protein: This is the missing link in most morning meals. Protein is what we need to go strong until lunch. Think a slice of Canadian bacon, an egg, a slice of lean deli meat or low-fat cheese, a container of low-fat yogurt, a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese, or a handful of nuts.
  • Fruit: It’s quick and easy to add color and nutrition to your breakfast with your favorite fruits. Think fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit – like apples, berries, pears, bananas, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, oranges, or pineapple. Another great option is avocados. They are high in unsaturated (or “good”) fat and contain vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin and beta-carotene, which forms vitamin A.

Eat well in the a.m. and you and your family will be on the nutrition fast track for a high-energy day.


Oats all around

Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast. Around my house, we eat oatmeal as a healthy snack too. For extra calcium, I replace the water with low-fat milk and add fruits, fresh, frozen, or canned to increase the vitamin and antioxidant content. For a change in flavor, I add cinnamon, raisins, or artificially sweetened brown sugar.

You can find boxes of single serving packages already flavored. Take time to read the oatmealnutrition facts before buying these, as they can be high in sugar.   If you want to have the single serving packages on hand, purchase the plain oatmeal and sweeten it yourself with fruit or raisins. I usually purchase the quick cooking oats, which is a far better buy and allow myself a couple extra minutes for preparation.

Oats are very versatile and can be used in many recipes. Search for recipes such as pancakes, granola bars, breads, cakes and cookies that contain oats and oatmeal. Even try adding oats to your next smoothie or meat loaf. Look for ways to include this important high-fiber grain in your favorite recipes or create new ones and share on our Facebook pages


Better Breakfast Day

September 26th is Better Breakfast Day! What’s that all about?

The answer to that question can be found in the results of research conducted on the benefits of eating breakfast. Studies based on the behaviors of all Americans – children, adolescents and adults – have shown these benefits can be categorized into three general areas: Nutrition, Health, and Performance. Let’s look at each of the areas separately starting first with “Nutrition”.

According to the Dietary Guidelines, we need a new supply of nutrients each day to keep our organs functioning and our bodies healthy. It would be difficult to get all the nutrients we need (like the required amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber) if we skipped breakfast. Research has shown that eating breakfast not only gives us a jump-start in meeting our nutrient requirements for the day, it also sets the stage for our making better food choices throughout the day. Now, just think about that a minute! Do you eat better throughout the day when you eat breakfast? Bet you do!


In the area of “Health”, research has shown that eating breakfast can help control one’s weight. How is that possible? Well, as we mentioned before, people who eat breakfast are more likely to make better food choices during the day. For example, unlike breakfast skippers who often scarf down high calorie junk food when they get hungry mid-morning or at lunch, breakfast eaters aren’t as hungry and tend to choose more thoughtfully, taking into consideration the sugar, fat and calorie content of the food they choose to eat. Plus, breakfast eaters are typically more physically active than non-breakfast eaters. The marrying of these three behaviors – eating breakfast, making wise food choices during the day, and being physically active – are contributing factors to not only managing one’s weight, but to also controlling the onset of other health issues like heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. It’s amazing that simply eating breakfast can have such long-range health benefits, isn’t it?

Lastly, eating breakfast provides benefits in the area of “Performance”. Researchers agree that breakfast consumption has a positive impact on cognitive and academic performance. For example, children who eat breakfast do better on standardized tests, are late or absent less often, and have less trouble concentrating than their breakfast skipping counterparts. As for adults, research has shown that skipping breakfast can also interfere with their ability to think and learn. Even a simple breakfast of corn flakes and milk can provide a new supply of glucose, that will in turn, heighten their creativity and make them more productive during the day.

Although breakfast is often pushed to the bottom of our priority list, it’s pretty easy to see why it truly is the most important meal of the day. For nutritional, health, and performance ability reasons, we all should eat a healthy breakfast every day.

So, don’t delay! To learn more, read “Now Serving Breakfast” and “The Importance of Eating a Healthy Breakfast” and start planning a Better Breakfast Day at your house tomorrow… and every day of the year!