Kathy McEwan

FCS Agent, Southwind District

Editor's Note: Kathy S. McEwan is a K-State Research and Extension family and consumer sciences and 4-H extension agent assigned to Allen County, Southwind Extension District. She may be reached at the Iola office (620) 365-2242 or by email at kmcewan@ksu.edu.

Back-to-school breakfasts for busy days

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It's because eating breakfast is linked to better performance and more.

Most public schools offer a breakfast program and these meals are offered to all children and at a free or discounted rate for those who qualify. According to an article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, some benefits of eating breakfast include:

* Better memory and better mood

* Better test scores and school attendance and lower tardiness rates

* Decreased hyperactivity

* Decreased risk of being overweight and lower cholesterol levels

* Higher intakes of vitamins A and C, riboflavin, calcium, zinc and iron

If it seems like you are too time-crunched in the morning to get a healthy start, try some of these fast fixes. You could get everything ready the night before. If you wish, take breakfast along for the ride as you or the children head out the door.

* Whole wheat bread, toast, bagel or tortilla, spread with peanut butter or cheese, and an apple

* Ready-to-eat cereal in a bag, a cup of milk and a banana

* Grits topped with cheese, and a cup of tomato or 100 percent fruit juice

* Oatmeal with milk and canned peaches

* Toasted frozen waffle with peanut butter and applesauce

* Rice and beans with a piece of fruit

* Yogurt mixed with small bits of fruit and ready-to-eat cereal

* Leftover cooked rice, a hard-boiled egg and baby carrots

* Scrambled egg and cheese wrapped in a tortilla

If there is a picky eater in your family, offer two or three food choices to help the child feel more in control. Having children help with breakfast is a nice way to start the day together.

And remember, kids are more likely to eat breakfast when they see adults eating breakfast. So set a good example -- you'll both benefit.

For more information about making healthy food choices, contact Kathy in the Southwind Extension District's Iola office at (620) 365-2242.