BLOGS from St. Anthony
By Krista Heuton, RD, LD, St. Anthony
It is no secret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but back-to-school season can make it difficult to fuel your family, and yourself, before the first bell. Even as a dietitian, I know it can be difficult to prepare a healthy, balanced meal three times a day. But, there are a few tips and tricks that can help your family get off on the right foot. Below, parents can utilize these tips to make smart, on-the-go breakfast options – especially for the days when you’re running behind.
Plan Ahead: A little planning goes a long way and this can go for any meal of the day. Cooking or baking portions of your meal that need extra time can help to alleviate stress when you’re under a time crunch. Set aside time to sit down with your family, plan meals for the week and then cook what you can ahead of time. This will help to ensure healthy meals are available and ready when you need them! Sometimes healthier meals take longer to make. Just remember, there are no bad foods, but it’s important to make smart choices.
Choose Whole Grains: When choosing a granola bar, cereal, or bread product look for the whole grain stamp. Using standards set by the Whole Grains Council, the official packaging symbol was developed in 2005 to help consumers find real whole grain products. The 100% stamp assures you that a food contains a full serving or more of whole grain in each labeled serving, plus whole grains keep you fuller, longer. Another way to spot whole grains are by looking at the ingredient list. Look for the word “whole” as one of the first ingredients. Try to make half of your daily grains, whole grains. Have you ever tried whole wheat pancakes or waffles?
Fruit is fabulous: Fruit can be an easy go to in the morning when on the run. It can also be added to other options like cereal, oatmeal, pancakes/waffles or yogurt to sweeten things up a bit naturally! Whole fresh fruit also contains fiber which can help keep us fuller longer and is also good for our digestive health. Fruit juice can count as your child’s fruit serving, just be sure the label says 100 percent juice.
Protein power: Incorporating a protein source such as eggs, meats, peanut butter, nuts/seeds can also keep us fuller longer and help with the urge to overeat at the next meal. Have some leftovers from the night before? Who says you can’t turn that entrée into something for breakfast? Something is better than nothing!
Be a role model and get your kids involved: Our kids are always watching, therefore it’s important to remember to show them the importance of breakfast. Plan to take some time in the morning to enjoy some breakfast during a family huddle before running out the door if able. It’s also important to get them involved in the process. Let them help from start to finish-including the trip to the grocery store!
Quick Ideas: Fruit smoothie (blend fruit with milk or yogurt), whole grain toast, bagel, or English muffin with peanut butter or cheese, cereal with low-fat milk, hot cereal topped with fruit and/or nuts, whole grain tortilla with eggs and veggies of choice.
If these tips don’t work for your family, check out your schools breakfast program! These programs have to meet nutritional standards based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed an informative resource for those looking to create a balanced diet. Visit www.choosemyplate.gov to explore online tools and build a balanced diet for each member of your family. The website provides insight on adequate servings for fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy.
Keep in mind, nutrition recommendations vary based on a variety of factors for your child, including age, gender, height, weight and activity level. If you have nutrition concerns, talk to your doctor or ask your doctor for a referral to speak with a St. Anthony dietitian.
- healthy eating