Brighten school days -- any days -- with breakfast

 

Research shows our mamas were right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether going

Research shows our mamas were right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whether going "back to school" or trying to do your best at work, breakfast - like this yogurt and fruit, scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast - doesn't have to be a time-consuming or costly affair. Photo by: extension.psu.edu

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

School -- in whatever form that means for your household -- is back in session. For kids, sleeping in is (or should be) just a memory now. Families have spent the past six months adjusting in every way, shape and form. Fall semester 2020 calls for no less.

 

Whether attending in-person classes or distance learning from home, kids have hopefully regained some sense of academic routine. But after such a long break, early mornings can throw us into a tizzy. My own great-nieces attend two different Columbus schools. The youngest is going in-person; she's one of four children in her classroom. The elder, in middle school, is opting for distance learning. Their schedules vary a bit, but both situations call for rise-and-shine and breakfast to start the day out right.

 

When we sleep, we are in a state of rest. Our bodies are fasting and renewing themselves Extension Agent Jill Breslawski of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences penned in a past article about on-the-go breakfast ideas.

 

 

"Breakfast means to 'break the fast,' to begin waking up and energizing ourselves again with nutrition," Breslawski wrote. Adults, that means for you, too. Breakfast provides energy to function, reason and think. Even something quick and nutritious can do the job.

 

Sure, it's easy to reach for sweet cereals or icing-smothered toaster tarts. But the empty calories and sugar-load aren't really beneficial.

 

These alternatives suggested by Breslawski go a longer way toward keeping minds and bodies energized until lunch. Pair them with low-fat milk or 100 percent fruit juice.

 

  • A slice of whole wheat toast with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

     

  • A piece of fresh fruit and a whole grain English muffin

     

  • A low-sugar granola bar

     

  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt with granola and a piece of fruit

     

  • Egg burrito: scrambled egg on a small, whole grain tortilla with salsa

     

  • Homemade fruit smoothie

     

  • Oatmeal with fresh fruits and nuts.

     

     

    Set the stage

     

    A few choices that can help school days -- or work days -- get off to a smooth start include getting clothes ready the night before, allowing time for breakfast by waking up 10 minutes earlier if need be, keeping menus simple and avoiding controversial table conversation. Try to get everybody off to a positive start, recommends Penn State Extension Service. Get everyone to sit down at the table for a few minutes if possible; it's a great time to check schedules or talk about upcoming events.

     

    About those menus, don't get stuck in a rut. Mix things up with a turkey or chicken sandwich with fruit, celery stuffed with peanut butter, mac and cheese with fruit, or frozen waffles or pancakes with applesauce topping. Try different breads, like bagels or pita bread. Incorporate a variety of fruits in season, like apples, kiwi, berries, grapes, oranges or melons.

     

    The bottom line is, for school or work, we need routine. We need fuel. We need focus. Breakfast can kick-start them all.

     

    For more advice on healthy eating for children, visit choosemyplate.gov.

     

     

    BREAKFAST PIZZA

     

    Makes 2 servings

     

     

    1 whole regular or 2 mini pitas

     

    4 tablespoons low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese*

     

    1 small apple

     

    1 medium banana

     

    2 teaspoons sugar

     

    1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon

     

    2 tablespoons raisins (optional)

     

    *4 tablespoons peanut butter can be substituted for the ricotta or cottage cheese. Leave out the sugar and cinnamon. Follow the same directions.

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice pita bread through the middle to make rounds. Spread 2 tablespoons ricotta or cottage cheese on each half of the pita bread.

     

  • Thinly slice the apple and the banana. Place 1/2 the sliced apple and 1/2 the sliced banana on each piece of the pita. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon on each pita. Place both pita halves on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

     

    Nutrition: 269 calories, 8 grams protein, 7 grams fiber, and 7 grams fat.

     

    (Source: extension.psu.edu)

     

     

    FRITTATA

     

    Makes 6 servings

     

     

    1 egg

     

    3⁄4 cup of flour

     

    1⁄2 teaspoon salt

     

    1⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano

     

    1 cup 2 percent milk

     

    1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

     

    3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

     

     

  • Mix egg, flour, salt oregano, and milk. Pour into a blender and blend until foamy.

     

  • Add mozzarella cheese and pour into greased pie pan. Bake 400 F for 30 minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese. Boil until Parmesan is slightly melted. Serve warm or cold.

     

    Nutrition: One serving provides 157 calories, 10 grams protein, and 5 grams fat.

     

    (Source: extension.psu.edu)

     

     

    SURPRISE MUFFINS

     

    Makes 12 muffins

     

     

    1 1⁄4 cups flour

     

    3 teaspoons baking powder

     

    1 teaspoon salt

     

    1⁄3 cup sugar

     

    2 cups cornflake cereal

     

    1 cup milk

     

    1 egg

     

    1⁄3 cup shortening

     

    1⁄4 cup preserves or jam

     

     

  • Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside. Measure cornflake cereal into large mixing bowl. Stir in milk. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until cereal is softened.

     

  • Add egg and shortening to the cereal mixture. Beat well. Add flour mixture to the cereal mixture, stirring only until combined. Divide batter evenly into 12 greased 2 1/2 -inch muffin pan cups. Make a deep indentation in top of batter for each muffin. Fill each with one measuring teaspoon of preserves.

     

  • Bake at 400 F about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

     

    Nutrition: One serving provides 168 calories, 3 grams protein, and 6 grams fat.

     

    (Source: extension.psu.edu)

     

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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