Starting your day with a good breakfast

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Eating breakfast on some mornings can be quite a challenge, especially now with the school year starting again next week.

Parents have a special responsibility to ensure that their young ones start their day off with good nutrition.

Encouraging good breakfast eating habits early in life provides good nutrition for the short haul and good eating habits for a lifetime. However, if you’re like many of today’s parents, mornings are hectic. Getting yourself and your children dressed and ready for the day and taking care of morning chores often mean little or no time for breakfast for the family. What can you do?

With a little planning the night before, you can be sure that your kids begin the day with the best nutrition start possible. Before bed, put out plates, bowls, utensils, cereal boxes, and bagels or bread. In the morning add a serving of fruit, such as bananas or peaches, and low-fat milk to the cereal or pop the bread in the toaster and add a spread of peanut butter and preserves.

It’s important that you don’t forget your own breakfast with your children. It can be an enjoyable start to the day. However, if you find yourself running out of time for breakfast, at least grab a Greek yogurt with some granola or fruit for your own burst of energy!

If you have a breakfast skipper in your home, try instilling new habits by offering quick and nutritious choices like a granola bar and juice, yogurt with fresh fruit, or even a slice of pizza left over from last night’s dinner with a glass of juice. Take a cue from MyPlate and include fruit, grains, dairy and protein for a balanced and healthful breakfast.

Breakfast is important because it provides a major part of a child’s daily energy supply. Children who eat breakfast are better nourished than those who skip breakfast. Also, children who eat breakfast are more likely to meet their daily need for certain essential vitamins and minerals than breakfast skippers.

Healthy, nutritious breakfast choices should include whole grain cereals, breads, bagels, or English muffins. These will help meet some of their iron and B-vitamin requirements for the day. Pair these with a good protein source such as nut butters, eggs, Greek yogurt or cheese to help keep feelings of hunger at bay. Fruit or fruit juice will provide additional vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Pancakes, waffles, or a veggie omelet served with a glass of juice and milk is also nutritious fare, providing a good balance of protein, vitamins, and minerals to begin the day.

he calories supplied by breakfast provide children with energy to get through the morning until snack or lunchtime. Studies show that children who eat breakfast learn better, are more alert and attentive, and are more likely to participate in activities.

Mary Koch is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome and may be sent to


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