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Breakfast - Rise to the Occasion (continued)

Inventive plans for breaking the fast

Power breakfasts include a mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat. High-fiber whole grains deliver a slow and steady stream of glucose to the brain for thinking power, plus energy to jump-start muscles. Nutrient-rich protein and fat provide key nutrients plus staying power to take us to lunch. Nuts, peanut butter, eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt all fit the bill.

Try these strategies for nourishing, yet hassle-free mornings:

1. Create competition and offer rewards.

Set a kitchen timer and see if your kids can get to the table before the timer goes off. Keep a chart with gold stars rewarding those children who make the time. Reward gold stars at the end of the week with an extra half-hour of story time before bed. Our goal is developing the habit of breakfast eating, so when the gold star rewards no longer hold appeal, the habit will be set in stone.

2. Keep easy-to-eat breakfast foods on hand.

Stock a variety of dry cereals, plus fresh and dried fruit, and let children mix up new combinations. Choose cereals with no more than 8 grams of sugar (the equivalent of two teaspoons) and at least 2 grams of fiber per serving. Whole grain toast with peanut butter or sliced cheese make quick, nutritious breakfasts too. You can also hard boil eggs the night before and store them in the refrigerator for speedy peel ‘n eat protein.

3. Cook once, eat twice.

Over the weekend, make an extra batch of muffins, pancakes, or banana, zucchini or pumpkin bread. Keep the bulk quantity in your freezer and take out what you need the night before. Serve with a glass of milk and a piece of fruit for a complete breakfast.

4. Plan ahead.

Set out cereal bowls, spoons, juice glasses, and napkins the night before to help speed the process.

5. Think outside the box.

In 30 seconds flat you can pour cold milk over ready-to-eat cereal and slice a banana on top. However, leftover reheated meatloaf and mashed potatoes works too. Be creative and have fun. What matters is the quality of your meal.

6. Keep a variety of grab-and-go items to supplement small breakfasts.

Most kids appreciate having a snack in their backpack to eat on the bus or during a mid-morning snack time. Create your own trail mix and keep it in small refillable sandwich bags. Combine your choice of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, blueberries, raisins and dry cereal. Granola bars, cheese sticks, yogurt (remember the spoon), and fresh whole fruit, travel well too.  

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