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March 1, 2012

Hassle-Free Healthy Breakfasts

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

If there is a most important meal of the day, it's breakfast. Here are easy ways to make eating breakfast at home top priority for you and your family.

Breakfast Benefits

Replenish with breakfast: Going without food for upwards of 10 hours while sleeping forces your body to tap into its nutrient reserves.

The morning meal replaces the protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients used throughout the night, and refuels the body and brain. When you skimp on breakfast, or skip it, it's difficult to make up for missing nutrients at other meals and snacks during the day.
Eat breakfast for easier weight control: Research shows a connection between eating breakfast on a regular basis and better weight control in adults and children. Breakfast-skippers are prone to mid-morning hunger, and more likely to reach for the first high-calorie food they see (donut, anyone?) because they are so famished.

Breakfast is brain food: For kids, the morning meal prevents hunger that saps their energy to learn and play. In addition, studies show a link between eating breakfast and better school attendance, concentration, and problem-solving ability in children.

The Best Breakfast The best breakfast includes foods rich in protein, such as milk and eggs, and fiber-filled foods, including whole grains and fruit, to help you feel fuller for longer.

A balanced morning meal is based on nutritious foods from at least three food groups, and includes a serving of Hood Milk . Cereal makes an easy, nutritious morning meal.  Ready-to-eat cereal and milk supplies the four nutrients - calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fiber - that are often lacking in our diets. Topped with a serving of fruit, cereal and milk offers even more nutrition.
If you prefer warm cereal, microwave plain, 1-minute or instant oatmeal with eight ounces of Hood Milk instead of water.  When the oatmeal is done, stir in 1/4 cup dried fruit and 2 tablespoons chopped almonds.

Out-of-the-Box Breakfast Ideas

No worries if you or your child don't like traditional breakfast foods, such as cereal. Here are some out-of-the-box breakfast ideas. Pair them with eight ounces of Hood Milk and get your day off to a great start:

• Frozen whole grain waffle sandwich with sunflower seed butter, peanut or almond butter, and California raisins

• Hard-cooked egg (make ahead on the weekend), fruit, and 1/2 whole wheat English muffin with tub margarine
• Piece of leftover pizza, fruit

• 1/2 turkey or roast beef roll on a whole wheat wrap

• Whole grain crackers, string cheese, and banana
• Trail mix: 1/2 cup whole grain cereal, 1/4 cup dried fruit, ¼ cup chopped nuts

• Sliced apple with 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, peanut or almond butter for dipping, 1 slice whole grain toast

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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