Eat Local

Back to School Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day!

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I bet you wish you had a dollar for every time you heard the old saying: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”

Unfortunately, many hear the statement but don’t buy into the importance of a morning meal. How do we know this? Because in addition to being the most important meal, breakfast is the meal that is skipped the most.

Photo Credit: Omelet by cyclonebill on Flickr

Photo Credit: Omelet by cyclonebill on Flickr

So what makes breakfast so important – and why should you stop skipping this meal? Well, for starters, breakfast begins your day with the nutrition your body craves. Studies show children who eat breakfast have better attendance in school, improved test scores, better overall nutritional health, and are also less likely to be overweight. Whether we are an adult or a child, eating a morning meal improves our mood, sharpens our minds and prevents us from getting too hungry before lunch.

Research also indicates that the quality of the food our children eat impacts their cognition. For this reason, it is best to focus on healthier choices during the school week and splurge on doughnuts or syrup-covered pancakes only on some weekends and special occasions.

A balanced breakfast includes 3 of the 5 food groups: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. Good choices include breakfasts like a bowl of whole grain oatmeal, served with a fresh banana. To boost calcium, make the oatmeal with milk instead of water.

BakeryBreakfast-BroadStreetAnother good option is to serve up a vegetable omelet filled with farmers’ market fresh zucchini, red bell pepper, and mushrooms, with low-fat cheese. Or you can always pop in to one of Jackson’s local restaurants for a bakery breakfast; just be cautious of portion size. Typically, one big ol’ fresh baked muffin or bagel from a bakery can be big enough for two (or three) people. Buy one, split it, and order a side of fruit with a glass of milk.

Okay, I hear some of you saying- BUT: What if most mornings, your household resembles a circus, with mom as the ringleader and getting the kids to school with both shoes on and their teeth brushed is a death defying act in and of itself? Well, then, the best plan for you is to keep your kitchen stocked with grab-n-go options. Older kids can make a peanut butter-banana roll-up, or yogurt smoothie. Always keep whole grain cereals and granola bars with at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and low-fat milk on hand, too. And you can’t go wrong with fresh fruit!

So, remember not to skip breakfast because – all together now: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”

Rebecca MS RD CSSD is a busy mom, nutrition expert, and passionate runner. Reversing obesity in Mississippi is a marathon, not a sprint. For more information email her at rebeccaturner07@yahoo.com or tweet her @myRDrebecca