What Food Stuff should Breakfast Include

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Breakfast_cWith many schools starting up again, getting students to eat a quick, tasty and power-packed breakfast before their first class can present an equation even Einstein would have trouble solving. When planning breakfast, dietitians advise including at least three food groups in the meal.

"The problem with breakfast is that it can become really monotonous," said Sara Lopinski, a registered dietitian with St. John's Hospital's Center for Living in Springfield, Ill. "And a lot of people abandon breakfast because of their busy lifestyle."

Boredom and busyness are two reasons students skip the morning meal. Another is that they just don't like the taste. Scrambled eggs and high-fiber cereal may pack a nutritional punch, but they're not first-draft picks for kids used to Pop-Tarts and Coco Krispies.

When planning breakfast, dietitians advise including at least three food groups in the meal. That can mean whole grains (cereals, bagels, English muffins, toast), fruits (berries, bananas, peaches, raisins), vegetables (green peppers, onions, celery, broccoli), protein (eggs, peanut butter, chicken, pork) or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese).

"You won't meet your daily nutrients with a doughnut," said Becky Smith, a registered dietitian with Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

She said 25 percent of a person's daily nutrients should come from breakfast.

"If kids don't eat breakfast, they'll be hungry, they'll be tired, they'll have problems thinking in school, they'll be sluggish and their memory will be affected," Smith said. "You have to have fuel to nourish the body and the brain."

Parents should eat breakfast with their children," Smith said.

"It's so important to eat together. You really want to be a role model for the kids, and it sets up healthy eating habits. Get them up 10 minutes earlier in the morning if you have to," she advised.

It helps to make breakfast convenient.

"Cook together on the weekends and put the pancakes or muffins into little bags and freeze them. You can microwave them in the morning, and they can take the muffins with them," Smith said.

"If you know you're not going to have time in the morning, do what you can at night," Lopinski said. Plan the meal, set the table and leave the bread near the toaster the night before.

For a super-quick breakfast, Lopinski recommends Quaker Oatmeal To Go Bars; each bar has the same nutrition as a bowl of Quaker instant oatmeal.

A nutrient-dense morning meal doesn't have to be expensive.

"Make the pancakes, waffles and muffins instead of buying mixes or frozen foods," Smith said.

Buy fruits and vegetables in season. Look for sales on eggs and meats. Buy generic cereals and peanut butter.

If kids say they're not hungry in the morning, perhaps they're eating too much the night before. Cut back on hearty late-night snacks.

"We don't expect kids to get all the food groups in at breakfast," Lopinski said, "but it's a perfect opportunity to get in some of them they need."


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