Set Students Up for Success with a Balanced Breakfast!

Categories: Uncategorized

By: Madeline Waters, KSC Dietetic Intern

Eating a balanced breakfast sets the day up for success. Breakfast means “break the fast” from the night before. According to the Sleep Foundation, it is recommended that school aged children 6-13 years old get 9-11 hours of sleep while teenagers 14-17 years old get 8-10 hours of sleep. That is a long time to go without any food! If breakfast is skipped, students running on empty may be unable to focus, learn, and succeed in school. Breakfast is a great opportunity to jumpstart your metabolism. Breakfast breaks the overnight fast and provides energy for a full morning of learning.

Studies have found that eating a healthy breakfast can: improve concentration and performance in the classroom, memory, attention, problem solving skills, and increase participation and engagement at school. Students who eat breakfast are more likely to meet their daily nutrient needs, with 1/3 of this coming at breakfast. Students who do not eat breakfast are less likely to meet fruit and vegetable recommendations for the day and more likely to consume unhealthy snacks.

A balanced breakfast should include a variety of food groups to ensure the body is getting all the nutrition it needs: whole grains, vegetable, fruit, lean protein, low-fat dairy or dairy alternate.
Here are some breakfast ideas:
• Vegetable omelet with whole grain toast
• Plain yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
• Whole wheat bread with peanut butter and banana
• Breakfast burrito – whole wheat wrap with scrambled eggs and vegetables
• Oatmeal with low-fat milk topped with berries and nuts
• Smoothie balanced with fruit, vegetables, low-fat yogurt
• Whole grain cereal with low-fat milk and fresh fruit

Here are some tips to make breakfast part of your daily routine:
• Plan! Make a list for the grocery store that includes breakfast staples: whole grain bread, eggs, low-fat milk, low-sugar cereal, peanut butter, fresh fruit, etc.
• Create a routine with breakfast in mind, wake up 10 minutes earlier than usual to have enough time for breakfast.
Make breakfast appealing! Use vibrant colors. Added bonus: the vibrant colors in fruits and vegetables are due to antioxidants. Antioxidants help the body fight disease.

Below is a balanced breakfast recipe to try:
Eggs in Bell Pepper Rings – easy, fun, vibrant, and nutritious!
Serves: 2 (2 eggs and pepper rings per serving)

Ingredients:
Cooking spray or oil
1 large bell pepper, cut into 1/4″ rings and seeds removed (you should get about 4 slices per pepper)
4 eggs
Salt, pepper, herbs, and spices, to taste
Directions:
1. Heat a medium-size skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray, or coat with oil.
2. Add the bell pepper slices, and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until the peppers begin to soften and brown slightly.
3. Crack an egg into each bell pepper slice. Reduce the head to medium-low, cover, and cook the eggs until the desired yolk is achieved.
4. Season with your preferred spices. Serve with whole grain toast. Enjoy!
Recipe & Image Adapted From: https://wholefully.com/bell-pepper-eggs/

Mahoney, Caroline R., et al. “Effect of Breakfast Composition on Cognitive Processes in Elementary School Children.” Physiology & Behavior, vol. 85, no. 5, 2005, pp. 635–645., doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.06.023.
Mahoney, Caroline R., et al. “Effect of Breakfast Composition on Cognitive Processes in Elementary School Children.” Physiology & Behavior, vol. 85, no. 5, 2005, pp. 635–645., doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.06.023.