Break the fast: Make it quick and with “appeel”

Growing up, I was not a big fan of breakfast. I would skip breakfast, make all kinds of excuses as to why I couldn’t eat breakfast, or grab something like a candy bar. I still am not a big fan of traditional breakfasts, but I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day and my body needs a healthy breakfast in order for me to function and not feel sluggish.

I have learned over the years that I don’t have to eat a traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs in the morning, and I certainly don’t want to spend an hour in front of the stove before I go to work. What I do eat at least two mornings during the week is a simple peanut butter and banana sandwich. I can fix it and eat on the run with it. It is delicious, healthy, and not messy. If you don’t like bananas, you can choose a fruit that you do like.  Peanut butter goes great with just about any fruit like apples and pears.

Here is my recipe:


  • 1⁄2 banana peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 2 slices of whole-wheat or multigrain bread


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your ingredients and put them on a clean counter.

  1. 11885710_901064446632060_4068440304425868121_oUse a dinner knife to spread most of the peanut butter on one slice of bread and a little bit on the other slice.
  2. Arrange the banana slices over the peanut butter on one slice and top with the other slice (peanut butter side down).
  3. Cut the sandwich in half and serve right away.

This is a delicious, healthy and fast breakfast food. Enjoy!


Fuel Your Way Back To School

The food we eat helps supply our brains with the energy they need to function well. During the school year, children spend roughly 35 hours per week in school where they are focusing, learning, communicating, and thinking. All of these tasks require children’s minds to be alert, and a balanced diet to supply them with quality energy helps them do so. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner to the snacks in between, you can discuss with your kids how to fuel their bodies with healthy food at home and at school.

Here are some tips to get them off to a good start this school year:

  1. Your kids can get their day off to an energizing start by eating breakfast. Whether
    they eat at home or at school, encourage them to choose whole-grains (such as oats and whole-wheat bread) and fruit for fiber, and nonfat/low-fat dairy for protein. These nutrients can help keep them full until their snack or lunchtime. Check out this link to find ideas for breakfast foods your kids will love:
  2. School lunches have made big steps towards providing children with healthier options since I was in school. Look at the cafeteria menu and talk to your kids about the healthier options on the menu. On those days that there are not as many choices of fruits, vegetables, and other foods low in fat, sodium, and sugar, help your children decide what they would like to bring from home for lunch.
  3. Consider this: a lunch packed from home isn’t automatically healthy, because it could still include the same types of food in the cafeteria you’re trying to avoid, such as pizza, French fries, and sugary beverages. How can you ensure that the food you pack your kids is going to fuel them well? Aim for whole, minimally processed foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and nonfat/low-fat dairy. Also, choose water to drink to keep them hydrated and focused!
  4. Do your children have snack breaks at school? Vending machines are still readily available for children in many schools. Talk to your kids about why vending machines foods aren’t the best choices, and brainstorm ideas of healthier alternatives that they can bring from home, such as whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese.
  5. Cold foods should be kept cold to avoid getting sick from eating the food. If a refrigerator is not available, choose a lunch box with insulation, and pack it with ice packs that will keep it at a safe temperature until they’re ready to enjoy the food.
  6. Sweets and salty snacks don’t have to be avoided altogether. I love a bowl of ice cream after a long day or a bag of chips with my lunch once in awhile. Explain to your kids that a healthy diet can include these foods, just in small servings. A healthy diet is a balanced diet!
  7. Including your children in these decisions is very important. If they don’t like the foods you send them to school with, who’s to say they’ll actually eat it? Set a good example for them at home and expose them to many different healthy foods to encourage them to eat well.

For more tips, go to

Eating a healthy diet won’t guarantee good grades and behavior in school, but it can promote them!

Wishing you all a nutritious and balanced start to the school year,


Cara is an EFNEP student intern.

Break the Fast with a Frittata

source: usda recipe finder

source: usda recipe finder

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I love to eat it any time of the day. One of my favorite childhood memories is my dad cooking dinner on Sunday nights after we came home from church. He always cooked us bacon and pancakes. He would cook each of us 2 big pancakes and top it off with a pancake in the shape of the letter that our first name started with. For me, that would be an “S”.

Now that I’m all grown up, I still like breakfast for dinner. I love to make omelets because they are so versatile and you can use up leftover veggies so they are always different. Sometimes I change things up and make a frittata instead. A frittata is simply a thicker egg and veggie mixture that you cook in your skillet with the lid on. When I have a little more time, I might make a quiche instead and put my egg mixture in a pie shell.

Add a salad and a piece of fruit to round out your “breakfast” and dinner is ready to eat in a jiffy!

Garden Frittata

This frittata with its blend of colorful vegetables and fresh eggs makes a deliciously nutritious single-dish meal for breakfast, brunch, or supper.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Makes: 4 Servings


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium unpeeled red potatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch Italian kale, or other kale variety (approximately 6 oz)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (chopped)


1. Beat eggs, pepper, and salt in large bowl, set aside.

2. Microwave potatoes until slightly soft, but not completely cooked, then cube. (Alternate method without microwave: cube potatoes and boil 5 minutes until slightly soft, drain)

3. Chop remaining vegetables while potatoes cool. Mix vegetables together.

4. Heat oil in a 10-inch non -stick skillet. Sauté vegetables for 5-8 minutes; add to eggs and mix well.

5. Pour egg-vegetable mixture into the same skillet. Cook over low to medium heat until eggs are almost set, about 8-10 minutes.

6. Cover and let sit until eggs are completely set, about 5 minutes. Egg dishes should be cooked to 160ºF.


Serving Suggestions: Serve with 8-oz glass of fat-free (skim) milk and 1/2 sliced orange.

Source: USDA recipe finder



Makes 2 servings

Serving Size: 1/2 muffin

Here is a great way to use leftover muffins!Child Cooking


  •  1 muffin
  • 1 cup (8-ounce) low-fat yogurt, any flavor
  • 1 cup cut up fresh and/or dried fruit


  1. Divide muffin in half.
  2. Place 1/2 in each of two bowls.
  3. Top each with 1/2 cup of fruit and half of the yogurt.

Comments: Good way to increase calcium as well as fruit servings
Food Preparation Tip: Muffin may be warmed, if desired.

Nutrition Information Per Serving 220 Calories, Total Fat 4g, Saturated Fat 1g, Protein 7g, Total Carbohydrate 54g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Sodium 200mg. Good source of calcium and vitamins A and C.

How to choose a healthy breakfast cereal

Walking down the cereal aisle can be overwhelming with all the options available and different cereals claiming to be healthy. Here are some tips for finding the best cereals for your family:


  • Look at the Nutrition Facts panel on the side of the cereal box (ignore any health claims made on the front of the box), which lists the grams of sugar contained.
  • Find the serving size. If a cereal says it has 10 grams of sugar and a serving size of 30 grams, that means the cereal is one-third sugar.


  • Be careful about cereals that boast it is “High in Fiber!” if they are also high in sugar. If a cereal is basically 30% sugar, it doesn’t matter much if there is some added fiber.
  • Be careful about front of the box advertisement that says “Made with whole grain,” because that can mean made with very little whole grain.
  • Instead, look at the actual ingredient list. The first and second ingredient should be whole grain, like whole grain wheat or whole grain oats. Typically, if you see rice or rice flour, it’s not as good for you.


  1. Fake fruits: The “strawberries” in cereals like Strawberry Mini-Wheats are most likely a mixture of food dyes and gelatin, and not real fruit. The “raspberries” in a lot of cereals are more likely to have more salt than raspberry powder. Look for real fruit in the ingredients list, or top your cereal with sliced fresh fruit like bananas or strawberries instead.
  2. Yogurt clusters: Yogurt sounds like it should be healthy, but yogurt coating is mostly oil and sugar and has no health benefits.
  3. “Slimming” cereals: Some cereals claim you can drop a pant size if you eat a bowl for every meal. Most cereals can’t claim to cause weight loss, and isn’t a balanced and healthy diet to only eat cereal.
  4. Low in calories: Watch out for how large the serving size is! If the serving size is ¼ cup, think about how much you fill your bowl—it’s very unlikely you’re only eating ¼ cup!

Adapted from “How to choose a healthy breakfast cereal” at CNN Health.

Easy Parfait

For an easy breakfast parfait on the go, pack an insulated coffee cup or thermos with low fat yogurt, granola and grapes (or any other fruit you like).

Make ahead tip: pack your yogurt and fruit cup the night before and store in the fridge. Before eating (or running out the door!), top with granola or other whole grain cereal.

Money saving tip: buy large containers of low fat yogurt instead of individual cups.