Back to School Breakfast Basics

August 17, 2011

It's back to school time and that means getting kids and their parents the best start to the day, a healthy breakfast. Here are SupermarketGuru's tips

It's back-to-school time, and that means it's time to pick up the pace from summer, and get the kids ready for a great year at school. Starting off the day with a nutritious protein packed breakfast will help keep kids focused, help build strong muscles and bones, and ensures they wont reach for sugary snacks before lunch time.

Breakfast may be the king of meals nutritionally, but it isn't behaviorally. While 89 percent of US moms want their children to start each day with breakfast, 40 percent say this doesn't happen. And as children grow up, fewer eat breakfast each day: 77 percent of toddlers and pre-schoolers eat breakfast each morning, but just 50 percent of middle-schoolers and 36 percent of high-schoolers do so, according to a Kellogg Company consumer study released in June.

It’s important that breakfast includes adequate protein and contrary what many of us think, Americans generally don't eat enough protein for breakfast. The average breakfast is usually rich in carbohydrates –and includes a bagel, muffin or cereal, which on average weighs in at about 10 grams of protein. Protein is critical for maintaining muscle mass, among other things, as proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies. They are constantly being broken down and thus we must replace them through the foods we eat. 

A protein rich breakfast has been shown to keep you feeling fuller longer and less hungry throughout the day. Research also demonstrates that when teens eat a higher-protein breakfast, they have reduced feelings of hunger and increased fullness, and feelings of satiety continue throughout the day.

Other studies show that students who eat breakfast do better in school and have improved attention spans and memory. Plus, kids who start the day with a healthy breakfast are likely to have consumed important nutrients such as calcium and other vitamins.

Children need between 45 to 130 grams of protein per day, depending on age, gender and activity level, which is best consumed over equal increments throughout the day. Aiming for about twenty grams of protein at breakfast, and around 300 to 350 calories is a great place to start, and emphasizing the importance of breakfast is one of the best things you can do for you and your family. Most eating habits are formed early in life and SupermarketGuru has some great breakfast ideas that the whole family can enjoy.

Some great choices include yogurt with granola or cereal, eggs with whole grain toast, a yogurt based fresh or frozen fruit smoothie along side cereal, oatmeal, toast or a bagel. Melting cheese atop a whole grain bagel, English muffin or toast is also a protein rich option. Seed and nut butters like almond, peanut, and sunflower are not only protein rich but rich in essential minerals as well. Serve an English muffin, bagel or toast with your child's favorite nut butter and sliced banana or strawberries on top. Nut and seed butters are extremely versatile and can even be mixed in with oatmeal to increase the nutrition content of this already nutritious breakfast choice!

Start the day off right by sending your kids off to school with the confidence that they have had a nutritious protein packed breakfast.