Begin with Breakfast

You know our moms were right that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A lot of us don’t have an appetite for food when we first get up and with work and school it’s hard to get everyone out the door on time. So how do we fit a good breakfast in all of that and why should we?

By eating a good breakfast it perks up our metabolism as well as perks up our brain. Research has shown that we perform better at work and our kids achieve higher grades and it’s easier for them to pay closer attention. People who skip breakfast tend to be more over weight than non breakfast eaters and a healthy breakfast sets the tone for a nutritional day!

So what is a good or healthy breakfast, something that will stick with us throughout the morning hours and help us get our brains working? Its got to have lots of protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber as well as calcium and some good fats. Proteins perk up the brain and complex carbohydrates relax the brain, so the right balances of both stimulate and relax the brain for optimal performance. Fiber studies the absorption of the nutrients and thy act like a time-release energy capsule thought out the morning. A study by the USDA to determine why we perform better after a good breakfast and they found that while the brain makes up only 2 percent of our body weight, it uses about 25 percent of the body’s blood sugar. So with no breakfast or a sugar breakfast the brain runs out of fuel because it depletes the glucose stored from the overnight fast. That is how breakfast got its name, you are breaking your over night fast.

So what are some nutritious breakfast choices?

Cereals that are made from whole grains, not just wheat and have at least 3 grams of protein and less that 6 grams of sugar and 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. And of course no hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservative, or artificial colors which will be talking more about later.

Eggs with whole wheat toast and 100% orange juice
Peanut butter and banana slices on a whole wheat English muffin
Low-fat cheese melted on toast with a piece of fruit
Yogurt with fresh fruit

A great way to get a healthy breakfast on the go is a liquid one. I have printed on the back of your outline a morning smoothie that is great for everyone in the morning. Put it in the blender and pour out and what you have is a breakfast that has 500 calories, 8 grams of fiber, 25 grams of protein, 30% good fat and 50% complex carbohydrates.

Recipes

Breakfast Smoothie
3 cups of low-fat milk or soy beverage
1 1/2 cups yogurt
1 banana
1 tsp. lemon juice (to preserve color)
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 cup of several of your favorite fresh or frozen fruits
4 tbsp. ground flaxseeds (for a grainy texture) or tbsp. flaxseed oil (for smooth texture)
4 ounces tofu
2 tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
2 tsp. wheat germ (optional)
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
2 servings of chocolate or vanilla flavored multi-nutrient supplement (optional)

Serving suggestions: combine all the ingredients, blend until smooth, serve immediately when it has a bubbly, milkshake consistency.

Nutritional breakdown: One average serving size for a child aged six to twelve would be 2 1/2 cups or 20 oz. One serving would provide a perfect nutritional balance for a healthy breakfast: 500 calories, 8 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein: 30 percent fat (mostly healthy omega-3s and monounsaturated fats), 20 percent protein, and 50 percent complex carbohydrates. This recipe makes approximately eight cups.

Breakfast Oatmeal Bars
1 egg lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of milk or soy product
1/4 cup vegetable oil or substitute pure apple sauce
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 of apple chopped into small pieces
1 ripe banana smashed (optional)
1/4 cup of chopped nuts (optional)
1/4 cup of raisins (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a greased 8 in squire baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares.

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