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The first bells of school are ringing, eat breakfast

Soon the first bells will ring announcing the beginning of school!

Children, parents and teachers are all excited about it. Some children are so excited that they are not conscious of their surroundings – including ongoing traffic.

Let’s remember to slow it down when we see children walking or running around their schools and along the streets – especially in the mornings and after school. Also, be mindful of school buses that have flashing lights on and are stopped in the middle of the street or road. This usually means they are picking up or letting children off the bus. Remember, all lanes of traffic (going both ways) should come to a full stop.

 

The importance

of breakfast

With school being back in full swing! There’s nothing better than starting the school year with breakfast. Starting your day without breakfast is like trying to drive a car without fuel. It’s next to impossible!

Why is Breakfast so important to children and adults? It’s elementary, my dear! Breakfast simply means…Breaking-the-Fast!

• By the time you wake up in the morning, it has been 8-12 hours since your last meal. When you are told, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” take note. By morning, your energy levels are low. Breakfast provides your body and brain with the energy it needs to start the day.

• Eating breakfast improves your overall health and well-being. You will be less tired and sleepy in the mid-morning hours. Teachers have documented that children who eat breakfast are more creative, do better in class, perform better on tests and have fewer behavior problems. Adults who eat breakfast tend to do better at work, snack less and get more nutrients each day than adults who do not eat breakfast.

Tips on making breakfast a priority:

Breakfast is also important because it provides about one quarter of our daily calories and nutrients. A nutritious breakfast is exactly what a growing child or teenager needs, without it they are unlikely to make up this nutritional loss through other meals and snacks during the day.

A healthy breakfast can be as simple as a banana and peanut butter sandwich. Make that bread whole-grain and you have an even healthier meal. Low-fat milk and cereal, toasted cheese sandwich and orange juice, even a leftover slice of pizza will help you make it through the morning. Include some protein to help your breakfast last until your next meal. Children may be able to get breakfast at school – check with the school food service to find out if it is available in your area.

 

More tips for a quick breakfast:

• No time? Make breakfast the night before. Have family members help you prepare breakfast. Choose low fat milk or cheese high-fiber cereal, fruit, boiled eggs, whole-grain bread or English muffin.

• Are you in a hurry? Take it to go. String cheese, low-fat yogurt, dry cereal in a bag or a banana will make a nutritious and delicious breakfast.

• Not hungry yet? Drink some skim milk. Have whole-wheat bread or crackers with low-fat cheese later in the morning.

 

More healthy breakfast ideas:

• Power Breakfast: Mix fresh, canned or dried fruit, low-fat yogurt and cereal.

• Breakfast Pizza: Top an English muffin or bagel with tomato sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese and mushrooms (you can use any vegetable). Heat in a toaster or microwave.

• Shake It Up: Put a cup of ice, one cup of fresh fruit, a half cup of orange juice, and a half cup of low-fat yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth.

• Egg White Omelet: Beat two egg whites, add to pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

• Small whole wheat bagel with peanut butter, a banana, and a glass of skim or low-fat milk.

• Oatmeal with skim or low-fat milk topped with dried or fresh fruit and chopped nuts.

 

Skipping breakfast and weight gain

• Skipping breakfast may increase your chances for weight gain. Eating breakfast can help reduce hunger and avoid overeating.

• Skipping breakfast may leave you feeling famished, leaving the door open for temptations such as candy, chips and other foods from the vending machine.

 

Breakfast and academic performance

• Research shows skipping out on breakfast can negatively impact children’s academic performance. As children get older, they are less and less likely to eat breakfast.

• The American Dietetic Association states that children who eat a healthy breakfast are more apt to have better concentration, alertness, creativity, miss fewer days of school and be more active. And research shows that those who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to have a healthier overall diet.

If you are one of the many people who skip breakfast, start eating breakfast this month and make it a good routine. We want all of you to plan now to eat breakfast (or a little something) in the morning.

Sources: 1. American Dietetic Association. Power up with breakfast. Accessed at www.eatright.org. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.