Today I have another guest post for you from SMK reader Erica. She is going to share with us some healthy tips on balancing breakfast.
Let’s welcome her!
Healthy meals are important, especially for children. Establishing good eating habits is essential to ensuring lifelong health, and it all starts with breakfast. Widely considered to be the most important of the three meals, breakfast provides the nutritional foundation for the day, ensuring kids have the right nutrients to get their bodies moving and brains thinking. Knowing which foods to serve (and how to serve them) is important, so here are a few tips on how to keep breakfasts nutritional, energizing and delicious:
Don’t skip breakfast!
First and foremost, your family should never skip breakfast! One of the reasons it’s considered the most important meal of the day is because breakfast can keep you full and satisfied through the beginning of the day. Missing breakfast can start the day off on a bad note, leaving your kids hungry and unable to focus in school, and causing them to consume high-calorie, high-sugar snacks in order to abate their hunger. Such foods don’t have much nutritional value, meaning kids will stay hungry even after consuming all those empty calories.
Avoid too much oil, sugar and fat.
Large quantities of oil, sugar and fat will make your children tired and sluggish, not to mention set them on a track toward obesity and perhaps even diabetes. That doesn’t mean bacon is to be avoided entirely; rather, you should limit the amount of bacon and similar foods, supplementing them with whole wheat bread, fruit, vegetables, some dairy and lean proteins. These foods not only aid in digestion, but also provide a balanced group of foods that will stimulate everything from quicker thinking to muscle growth.
Cook ahead of time.
Making breakfast the night before can be a good way to ensure the meal is served quickly as well as with maximum nutrients. Poor breakfasts often come together when you’re too busy to make something healthy; warming up Pop Tarts only takes a second, while cooking whole-grain pancakes or making a bowl of oatmeal might take too long when you’re attempting to shepherd your kids out of the door. While refrigerating omelets doesn’t sound like a good idea, there are healthy breakfast foods that require little preparation, like whole grain muffins or even raw fruits.
Smoothies prepared with the right fruit can be highly nutritious, not to mention tasty and easy to eat. Berries, bananas, strawberries and oranges are all popular smoothie ingredients, and they don’t lose any of their essential nutrients upon being liquefied. You can even prepare smoothies ahead of time, freezing them in batches so you always have a good supply handy. Smoothies can also be a great way to get your kids to eat fruit if they’re normally resistant.
Make sure your juice is actually juice.
Fruit juice is a great way to get your kids energized in the morning, but make sure the juice they’re drinking is actual juice. Most of what you’ll find in the supermarket is juice “cocktails.” These “cocktails” often contain only a small amount of actual fruit juice; much of the rest comes from a variety of artificial chemicals and flavors. If you’re pouring a glass of fruit juice for your kids along with their cereal or sweet potato hashes, make sure the label reads “100 percent juice.”
This post is written by Erica Moss, who is the community manager for the online masters in nursing program at Georgetown University. She also enjoys dabbling in photography and connecting with new people. Follow her on Twitter @ericajmoss.