As registered dietitians, we work with a lot of moms. Most moms know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but did you know studies show kids who eat breakfast have better scores on math, reading and standardized tests; are better able to pay attention; and have fewer absences and incidences of tardiness, compared to breakfast skippers?
One of the comments we hear the most frequently is how focused and energetic their kids are when they eat a breakfast that we’ve recommended. When parents ask us what the secret is, we tell them a great breakfast must:
- Be one that your kids (even picky ones!) will actually eat.
- Provide your kids (and you!) with healthy energy and an increased ability to focus. This means your breakfast must provide both fiber and protein.
One of the best ways to be sure your family has the energy and valuable nutrients it needs to tackle the day is by serving milk at breakfast! Milk is a breakfast SUPER food, packed with 9 essential nutrients in each glass including 8 grams of high-quality protein. An added bonus – protein in the morning can help keep you full, so you don’t feel hungry by mid-morning!
Whether in a latte, in a smoothie, on your favorite whole grain cereal (an added benefit of fiber), or straight from the glass, serving milk at breakfast is an easy way to be sure your whole family starts the day off right.
Here are a few great breakfast ideas that pair easily with milk and can be prepared fairly quickly:
- Apple (fiber) and low-fat cheese slices between whole-wheat crackers and a glass of low-fat milk.
This is especially great if you’re racing to get the kids out the door to school in the morning. Tammy goes for this when her kids are having a morning when they are running behind. She knows her picky daughter will drink milk in a thermos on the way to school and eat the apple. She includes milk in every breakfast she gives her daughters to provide a healthy source of energy that helps her kids start their day off right.
- Banana Wrap: A slice of whole grain toast (fiber) with peanut butter (protein and good-for-you fat) wrapped around a banana (more fiber).
- Whole-wheat toast (fiber) and a hard-boiled egg (protein) and a piece of fruit (more fiber).
On a weekend morning or when you’re not in a hurry try one of these options:
- Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie: Kids love this! Blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, 1 cup low-fat milk. Fiber from the banana, protein from the milk, heart healthy fat and some protein from the peanut butter
- Super Food Smoothie This smoothie packs a powerful punch to help kids tackle the day. Packed with 2 powerful super foods, milk and blueberries, it will help set your family up for a successful day – no matter what’s on the agenda.
- Fruity Breakfast Quinoa (see recipe below) Lately our client’s kids (and Tammy’s girls) are loving this. You get the fiber (and some protein!) from the quinoa and protein from the milk (and calcium and vitamin D to boot!)
Fruity Breakfast Quinoa
Ingredients (Serves 6)
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 2 cups Low-fat milk
- Cinnamon to taste
- 2-1/2 cups Berries (any will do)
- 1/4 cup Slivered almonds
Cook quinoa according to package directions, but replace the water with low-fat milk. Then instead of using salt and pepper, add cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Sprinkle berries and slivered almonds.
- HELP GIVE KIDS GREATER ACCESS TO A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
- Not all kids have the chance to eat a healthy breakfast at home. Unfortunately, many go to school hungry and miss out on the benefits of breakfast. But there’s a way you can help!
– From now through Feb. 17, 2013, when you buy milk you can vote to help a local school win a $1,000 Fuel Up to Play 60 grant. Log on to MilkMustache.com for a chance to score breakfast for schools in your area AND enter for a chance to win prizes, including free milk for a year!
The Nutrition Twins work with American’s milk processors to help to educate parents about the benefits of milk’s 9 essential nutrients in the morning.