Springfield News-Sun

These tips can help with breakfast for kids


A healthy breakfast is necessary for kids. Skip it and your kids will be playing nutritiona­l catch-up for the rest of the day. Growing bodies and developing brains need regular, healthy meals. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, studies show that school children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom. As with other meals, it’s a good idea for your kids (and you) to eat a healthy balance of fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy—not just for breakfast but throughout the day.

■Use the Nutrition Facts Label. When you’re grocery shopping, labels make it easy to determine the amount of nutrients your kids are getting and to compare one product to another. Make sure your children get nutrient-dense foods that are low in sodium and added sugars.

■Go beyond traditiona­l breakfast foods.

Breakfast doesn’t have to mean traditiona­l breakfast foods. Anything goes if you maintain a healthy balance. Think about serving leftovers from last night’s dinner. There’s nothing wrong with tuna fish with celery on a whole wheat English muffin or a turkey sandwich to start the day.

■Give kids food they like.

Leftover pizza with a whole grain crust and veggies works for breakfast. Make muffins with zucchini and carrots and spread with peanut butter or almond butter for protein and serve with a glass of milk. Do your kids love sugary cereal? Mix a little bit of that cereal with a whole-grain, nutrient-packed healthier cereal. Dip a banana in yogurt, roll in crushed cereal and freeze. Combine milk, fruit and ice in a blender for a “milkshake,” or spread peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers, apple slices, a tortilla or jicama slices.

■Make healthy trade-offs.

Nutritiona­l balance is key — not just for one meal, but throughout the day. Add fruit to the morning meal and serve carrots, celery and broccoli with a hummus dip as an afternoon snack.

Take growth and activity levels into account. Growing bodies need nourishmen­t. If your kids are physically active, they need plenty of calories to keep them fueled. Having a breakfast that contains protein, fat and carbohydra­tes helps children feel full and stay focused until lunch. Protein choices might include an egg, some nuts, a slice of deli meat or cheese, or yogurt.

■Help your children make healthy choices, even if they’re on the run. When time is short, hand your kids something healthy as they head out the door: a piece of fruit, a bag of nut-and-fruit trail mix or a whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter, and a carton of milk or fortified soy beverage.

■Prep the night before. Morning is a busy time for everyone. Take 10 minutes to think ahead and prep for breakfast the night before. Chop up fruit to layer in a yogurt parfait or add to cereal. Cut up vegetables for an omelet. Mix up muffin or whole-grain waffle batter, cover, and put in the fridge.

A “grab-and-go” might be appropriat­e for teens in the morning. Have quick breakfast foods available for your child to grab and eat on the way to school. Good options are hard-boiled eggs, homemade muffins, yogurt, granola bars, dry cereal, energy bars, fresh or dried fruit, and bagels with low-fat cream cheese.


Makes 8 pancakes

210 calories per pancake

½ cup whole-wheat flour

½ cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 1 egg

2 tablespoon­s molasses 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Mix dry ingredient­s in a bowl. In another bowl, stir egg, molasses, oil and buttermilk.

Pour milk mixture into dry ingredient­s; stir together lightly.

Grease a large skillet or griddle and heat over medium-high heat. For each pancake, pour about ¼ of batter onto the hot griddle.

Cook until pancakes are puffed and dry around edges. Turn and cook the other side until golden brown.

Tips: No buttermilk? Place 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup line with milk. Stir and let set to thicken slightly. Top with applesauce, fresh fruit or yogurt.


Makes 6 slices.

140 calories per slice

2 eggs

½ cup nonfat or 1% milk 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup unsweetene­d applesauce 6 slices whole-wheat bread

In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and applesauce. Mix well.

Soak bread one slice at a time until mixture is slightly absorbed.

Lightly grease a skillet or griddle. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot.

Tips: Top with applesauce, fresh fruit or yogurt.

Interested in free nutrition lessons with OSU Extension EFNEP? Call Nancy Lyons at 937-244-9654 or lyons.489@osu.edu.

 ?? ?? Nancy Doyle Lyons
Nancy Doyle Lyons

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