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Send Your Children Off to School with a Healthy Breakfast!

Before you head off to school and work, make sure you take time to start your day right with a healthy breakfast.

Nashville, Ark. – School starts next week and that means busy mornings getting everyone ready. Before you head off to school and work, make sure you take time to start your day right with a healthy breakfast.

            Research shows that people who eat breakfast are significantly less likely to be obese and diabetic than those who usually don’t. Research also indicates that children who eat breakfast are more likely to have better concentration, problem-solving skills, and hand-eye coordination. According to a large “Breakfast Study” conducted in Minnesota, students who ate breakfast had better math grades and reading scores. The researchers also noticed that student attention increased, nurse visits in school decreased, and student behavior improved. All are great reasons why you should eat a healthy breakfast.

            Unfortunately, many breakfast foods contain a lot of sugar and have been stripped of their natural nutrients. Try to avoid frosted and chocolate cereals, donuts, white bread, and high-sugar breakfast bars. Instead of sugary juices, consume 100% fruit juices or fat-free or low-fat milk. Better yet, eat fresh fruit rather than drinking juice. Eating only sugary foods may cause one to have erratic energy levels. Eating a balanced breakfast will help everyone in the family to get going and sustain their energy until lunch time. Here are some tips for a healthy breakfast.

  • Oatmeal is Quick. Instant oatmeal is great on a cold morning and contains fiber and vitamins. Choose oatmeal that is not already presweetened and add raisins or fresh fruit to sweeten it.
  • Healthy Smoothies. Blend frozen fruit (bananas and strawberries are great), low-fat or fat-free yogurt, and 100% fruit juice for a quick, tasty breakfast smoothie with lots of nutrients.
  • Go 100% Whole Grain. One hundred percent fiber-containing, whole-grain cereals served with 1% or fat-free milk are a healthy choice. Whole-wheat muffins with smashed bananas, applesauce, or a small amount of peanut butter are easy and tasty as well.
  • Eggxactly! Boil, scramble or poach eggs and serve on whole-wheat toast. They’re packed with nutrition, and easy to serve.
  • Toaster Treats. Frozen whole-grain waffles take almost no time to make. Top them with berries, applesauce, or sliced bananas instead of syrup.
  • Add Nuts for Protein. Spreading peanut or almond butter on whole-grain toast is a great way to get both protein and fiber.
  • Go Fruity. Fresh fruit with a dollop of low-fat or fat-free yogurt is a great way to start the day. Fresh fruit is a good source of fiber and minerals such as potassium.
  • Try All-Fruit Spreads. Instead of butter or margarine on toast, try all-fruit spreads, fruit butters or even sliced kiwi or strawberries.
  • Bagel Classics. Try a whole-grain or whole-wheat bagel with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter.
  • Breakfast On-the-Go. If you don’t have time to eat breakfast at home, keep whole-grain mini-bagels on hand or small muffins, packets of nuts, and dried fruits that can be taken with you to work or a meeting. Children can eat these backpack foods on the way to school or at break time. Apple slices and bananas are easy to take and not too messy!

            Remember, small changes in your breakfast habits can make a difference in your health and how you feel all day long. A healthy breakfast does not have to take a lot of time. Stick to the basics and serve simple foods that are nutritious and quick to prepare in the morning.

            For more information on nutrition issues or for a copy “Power Up the Day with Breakfast” recipes, contact the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517. We are part of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Our office is located on the second floor of the Howard County courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            Here is a great breakfast idea that your family will love! It is so easy to make. In fact this recipe can be made ahead of time and put in the freezer. Grab one in the morning and pop in the microwave for a minute, add a piece of fruit and low-fat or fat-free milk for a complete breakfast on your way to school or work. They are perfect for busy mornings. On top of that, they are packed full of nutrients.

Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup potatoes, diced (1 medium potato)

½ cup onions, diced (1/2 medium onion)

1 cup bell peppers, diced (1 medium pepper)

8 eggs, beaten

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup 2% fat cheddar cheese, shredded

8 flour tortillas (8 inch)

            Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Cook potatoes for 6-10 minutes over medium heat. Add onions and peppers to the potatoes. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the potatoes are browned.

            Add beaten eggs to the vegetable mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally until there is no liquid left. Stir in the garlic powder and pepper.

            Roll up each burrito. Use 2 tablespoons of cheese and ½ cup of the egg mixture. Serve or freeze. Yield 8 burritos

            To freeze the burritos, wrap each burrito tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Seal wrapped burritos in a freezer bag when they are frozen.

            To reheat the frozen burritos. Remove the plastic wrap. Wrap burrito in a damp paper towel. Set microwave on medium power. Heat burrito for 3-4 minutes.

Tip: Add hot peppers, salsa, or cayenne pepper for a spicier burrito.

            Nutrition Information Per Serving: 260 calories, 10g fat, 14g protein, 30g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 450mg sodium. Excellent source of vitamin C. Good source of calcium, iron and vitamin A.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N Main St, Nashville AR 71854
(870) 845-7517

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

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