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Making Breakfast a Priority: Ask the Experts from Brenner FIT

Written by Melissa Moses, MS, RD, LDN

I’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But there’s no time in the morning to cook! I can barely get my kids to take a granola bar on their way to the bus stop. Please help me make breakfast a priority in my family! 
Signed: Frazzled Mom

Frazzled Mom, you’re not alone! Lots of families struggle with eating breakfast. However, with a few small changes in your routine, you can make breakfast a priority for your family. 

Research shows that people who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat at their next meal and through the day. When you skip breakfast, you tend to graze and choose higher fat, higher calorie foods. Not eating in the morning causes your metabolism to slow down and makes it harder for you to stay at a healthy weight. Breakfast gives your body the energy and nutrients to be healthy.

Planning ahead can help you make breakfast a priority. Wake up just a few minutes earlier so you have time to make breakfast. (I know this may be hard, but it will be worth it!) 

Start small. Eat a banana or drink a glass of milk. Breakfast does not have to be fancy. Finding just a few minutes to sit down for breakfast may encourage others to join you at the table. If it seems impossible to sit together, send the kids out the door with a grab-and-go option. A granola bar or cheese stick is better than no breakfast at all! Some people don’t eat breakfast because they don’t feel hungry. Starting to eat something will train your body to be hungry.   

Once you get into the habit of eating in the morning, you’ll probably want to add more variety. At Brenner FIT, we encourage families to have at least three food groups for breakfast. This can be as simple as adding a fruit to what you eat right now. By having three food groups for breakfast, your family will feel more satisfied. Also, including higher fiber foods (three grams or more of fiber per serving) will help everyone feel fuller. 

Try cereal with milk and fruit. Or, maybe serve deli meat wrapped in a high-fiber tortilla with canned fruit. A grab-and-go breakfast can be a granola bar, string cheese and grapes.  

Have your family help you create your grocery list! Pick a food from each column to create a balanced breakfast. 

Grain Choices   Fruit or Veggies   Protein Choices 
Cereal   Apple   String cheese
Crackers   Applesauce   Sliced or cubed cheese 
Oatmeal   Canned fruit   Cottage cheese 
Bread/toast   Grapes   Cream cheese 
Tortillas   Banana   Eggs or egg substitute 
Mini bagels   Orage   Yogurt 
Granola bars   Clementine   Milk 
English muffins   Melon   Deli meat 
Waffles   Raisins   Peanut butter 
Pita bread   Craisins   Nuts 
   Carrots   Hummus 
   Cucumber   Sausage 
   Celery   Bacon 
   Spinach   Canadian bacon 
   Broccoli    
   Tomato    
   Bell pepper    

 

This article was written by staff who are apart of Brenner FIT (Families in Training). Brenner FIT is a pediatric weight management program at Brenner Children’s Hospital that helps families create healthier lifestyles together. Brenner FIT offers free cooking, nutrition and parenting classes. Visit BrennerChildrens.org/BrennerFit for our current class listing.