You know that old cliché about breakfast being the most important meal of the day? For school-age kids, there’s a lot of science to back up that saying.
Eating breakfast has been associated with better academic performance and behavior in children. And research has also shown that eating a balanced breakfast -- one that includes protein and complex carbohydrates -- helps boost brain function.
Here are some quick and easy ideas for healthy power breakfasts for the whole family.
- Be creative. Breakfast doesn’t always have to mean toast and eggs. Try some leftovers. Got chicken from last nite’s dinner? Make a chicken breakfast burrito or try one of these ideas for make-ahead breakfast burritos.
- Whip up a smoothie. Smoothies can often be a life-saver for busy moms -- just blend together a few ingredients and you’re out the door. If you're really running late, you can even take it with you in a travel cup.
- Boil some eggs. Boiled eggs are an excellent choice for a high-protein breakfast. Make some the night before to save time in the morning. Serve with a slice of whole-grain toast or English muffin and voila! A wonderful balanced breakfast.
- Try a nut butter. Serve up some peanut or almond butter on whole-grain toast for a high-protein boost.
- Fish for breakfast. Who says you can't have fish for breakfast? Salmon and tuna are high in protein as well as healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Try some tuna or salmon salad or smoked salmon with cream cheese on a bagel.
- Skip the sugary cereal. Get into the habit of reading labels when it comes to choosing a breakfast cereal. Opt for one that lists whole grains as one of the top ingredients and is low in sugar.
- Be carb smart. Fruits, whole-grain cereals and oatmeal are excellent choices for breakfast. These complex carbohydrates provide fiber and other nutrients and keep blood sugar levels relatively steady (unlike, say, sugary cereals, which can lead to rapid energy spikes and crashes).
Once you get your grade-schooler into the habit of having something in the morning, he’ll be less likely to pass it up. And be sure to set a good example by eating something yourself; your child is less likely to balk at breakfast if you’re having something together.