By Johanna Hicks
I recently had the opportunity to speak with a group of students on the topic of breakfast. They had a great time and seemed to learn a lot. Then it dawned on me – adults need the same information! Regardless of the arrangements for the upcoming school year, some things will stay the same – the need for breakfast!
Making sure students eat a healthy breakfast, either at home or school, will always be important. This can optimize learning and help children maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that students who eat breakfast are able to concentrate better and they are more alert in the morning. Adults also need the nutrition to avoid that mid-morning slump.
I explained to the students that our bodies are like a vehicle. If you try to drive your car from Texas to Florida without stopping for gas, you’re going to run out of fuel. Our bodies need fuel in the morning after a long fasting period. Think of the word “breakfast.” It literally means to break the fast.
A healthy breakfast can include the following components in any combination:
- Whole grains, such as oats, whole grain bread, quinoa, and enriched cereal (not the highly sugared variety!)
- Lean proteins such as eggs or turkey sausage
- Fruits such as berries, kiwi, bananas, grapes, apples, peaches, etc.
- Vegetables such as carrots, onions, broccoli (I’m thinking a breakfast omelet!)
- Dairy such as milk, yogurt, or cheese
These breakfast components assist our bodies in multiple ways. Grains give us energy and fiber, proteins help us feel full longer and help our muscles, fruits & vegetables provide vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Dairy helps our bones and teeth and provides extra vitamins and minerals. As I mentioned earlier, aim for at least three of the food groups in your breakfast.
To make breakfast quick and easy, try these ideas:
- Plan it out. Create a menu of breakfast options for the week. When shopping, stick to these foods.
- Prepare the night before. If time is limited in the morning, simply prepare the portions to save time. Example, set out the cereal box, bowl, and spoon. Cut up veggies for an omelet, etc.
- Visit Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight program. This offers delicious and budget-friendly recipes and has various healthy breakfast options, such as Greek Yogurt Banana and Blueberry Pancakes or Breakfast Burrito. To learn more, go to: https://dinnertonight.tamu.edu.
On an old man’s shirt was written a sentence, “I am not 80 years old – I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.” That’s positive attitude! – Six Little Stories