Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

New tips to promote breakfast – an essential meal of the day

We all know getting breakfast can be a hassle for many people.  Whether it be lack of sleep that causes you to keep hitting the snooze button and therefore running late with no time for breakfast or your kids resistance to actually eating when you put the food on the table, breakfast can unfortunately become a fleeting or non-existent event during the week.  And, that’s bad news if you want to stay healthy, too…yes, I know it is something else to stress about during a stressful week.

However, if you do actually nourish yourself with a balanced breakfast, you will indeed find yourself recharged and more ready to face day to day stresses – which may in turn become less stressful (we may perceive things as more stressful if we are hungry!)  Of course, the kids will do better in school and have a better chance of developing lifelong healthy behaviors with foods, too.

So, how do you piece it all together?  Here are some tips from food ideas to transport and storage ideas – all with the intent to increase your chances of eating a good-for-you breakfast!  Good luck!

  • Set out bowls/plates/utensils the night before, in order to make one less task in the morning.
  • Put any non-perishables on the counter next to the bowls, etc.  For instance, set out the box of cereal and the right number of pieces of fresh fruit (i.e. one per person in the household).
  • Pre-measure dry oatmeal or fill your bowl/zip-top baggie with the cereal the night before and cover the bowl with re-usable foil to keep it fresh.
  • Make sure the dining table is cleared off in the evening to ensure a place to sit down.
  • If your kids have trouble with finding an option in the morning, go ahead and select an option for them and serve it up without discussion – perhaps before they even come into the kitchen.  It may reduce the stress of choice in the morning.
  • In the case where you know certain mornings tend to be more rushed than others, select easier, faster breakfast items.  Instead of oatmeal or a yogurt parfait, pick something like (1) a granola bar, banana and milk (in a box or insulated cup); (2) dry whole grain mini bagel, apple and milk or string cheese and water; (3) zip-top baggie of whole grain, protein-rich cereal like Kashi Heart to Heart, a pear and a drinkable yogurt; (4) or, a protein-rich drink such as Carnation Instant Breakfast with at banana.  These options are quick and portable.  If you or your kids don’t finish them in time, they could occasionally be finished in the car.  Don’t eat while driving though!!
  • Look for appealing breakfast items to spark your interest in actually eating breakfast.  Make a list of your favorite breakfasts so that you are sure to keep supplies on hand and have a variety of options at home you can select.  If the options are not there, it is easier to make unhealthy decisions – be it skipping breakfast or opting for the bacon, egg and cheese fast food drive-though biscuit.  Stack the cards in your favor for selecting delicious and nutritious breakfast foods.
  • Make yourself a note – or several!  Stick it on the kitchen counter, your bathroom mirror or on your dresser.  Something like, “I need breakfast to fuel me for the day” or “I choose to take care of myself today, starting with breakfast”. Affirming your decision to eat breakfast will help get you in the right mindset and increase your chances of actually eating it.
  • Get more ideas.  Look online or go on a grocery store tour with a registered dietitian who can highlight new ideas as you shop the grocery store aisles.  Here are a few of my favorites: (1) Frozen Vans or Kashi waffles with sliced bananas, a dollop of whipped cream and a cup of caffeine-free tea steeped in vanilla soymilk; (2) a bowl of Nature’s Path Flax Plus cereal with frozen organic berries, vanilla soymilk and a banana on the side; (3) homemade natural granola with Stonyfield Farm lowfat plain yogurt and sliced bananas; and (4) oatmeal made with organic 2% milk, a sprinkle of dried fruit and raw almonds and applesauce or baked apples on the side.  In addition to the options listed, I always have ½ cup organic 100% apple juice mixed with 1 cup water to get in fluids and phytonutrients each morning!  Proper portioning is as important as what you select.  If you have questions, work with a registered dietitian or visit www.mypyramid.gov.
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