Benefits of Breakfast

Late starts, rushing around in the morning, and not being hungry cause many people to skip breakfast.  But breakfast is an extremely important meal for both children and adults!  Breakfast gives us energy to begin the day, feel fuller longer (so you can hold out until lunch time), and eating kick starts our metabolism in the morning.  Many people skip breakfast because they want to reduce their caloric intake, however eating breakfast has been linked to lower rates of obesity.  This may sound strange- how does eating reduce obesity?  Studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are less likely to snack throughout the morning and they also eat a more balanced diet because they aren’t starving by lunch time, so they have smaller meals.

Teachers have noticed that their students perform better when they have breakfast in the morning.  Schools have been offering the School Breakfast Program, but there are still many students that don’t use this program.  Eating breakfast has shown to improve a child’s standardized test scores, concentration, alertness, math grades, and attendance.  Teenagers also have been shown to develop better relationships with their peers when they have breakfast in the morning.

Breakfast in the classroom, like the name suggests, offers students breakfast in the classroom.  You may ask, what’s the benefit of eating in the classroom compared to eating at home or in the cafeteria?  Well, research has determined that eating in the classroom encourages more students to participate in the program.  Also, 1 in 5 children in the U.S. struggle with hunger and they may not have access to breakfast at home.  These kids may feel stigmatized by eating in the cafeteria, but eating in the classroom, offers all children breakfast without singling out those who receive free or reduced meals.

Breakfast in the Classroom takes place before and during the morning announcements.  As students enter the building, they will either stop by an On-The-Go kiosk or receive their breakfast items from pre-stocked bags in their classrooms. The students are then able to choose from a variety of nutritious items, one of which being a fruit or fruit juice. Since breakfast is being served in the classroom, children that arrive late have the chance to grab breakfast as well.  If they decide that they cannot eat all of the food they picked, they can place it on the share table.  This allows anyone who is still hungry to take another item.  Operation Food Search has partnered with schools throughout St. Louis and Kansas City to initiate Breakfast in the Classroom and reduce the number of children who start off their days hungry.

Tips for eating breakfast:

  • Try making breakfast the night before. Then all you need to do is grab it and go.
  • Breakfast doesn’t need to be eaten as soon as you wake up. Breakfast is typically eaten within 2 hours of waking up.
  • Eat slowly. If you can eat at work, take your time eating your breakfast.
  • Try to eat a breakfast high in fiber and protein. These items keep you feeling full.

If you are rushing in the morning or need some quick weekend breakfast ideas for your children, check out the recipes underneath!!

Overnight Oats  
1/3 to ½ cup milk (any kind) The night before:

1.      Add oats and milk to a jar.  You may need to add more milk in order to completely cover the oats.

2.      Place jar in the refrigerator overnight.

3.      In the morning, add more milk until at the desired consistency.

4.      Add in any other items to flavor your oats. Example: Banana and nut butter, or Vanilla extract, blueberries, and peaches.

 

 

Tip: To save more time in the morning, add all extra items the night before.

1/3 to ½ cup oatmeal (old-fashioned rolled oats are the best option, but not necessary)
Extra Items – These are your choice, mix them up to try new flavors
Fruit

–          Apple

–          Banana

–          Blueberries

–          Peaches

–          Plums

–          Dried Fruit

–          Oranges

–          Kiwi fruit

Protein

–          Peanut Butter (or any kind of nut or seed butter)

–          Nuts or seeds

–          Protein powder

Granola
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

 

French Toast in a mug  
1-2 slices of bread (any kind) 1.      Slice bread into cubes.  Place into a coffee mug, or microwaveable bowl.

2.      In a bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and any other items you want to add.

3.      Pour over the bread cubes.  Press the bread down and let sit for 30 seconds to a minute, allowing the bread to soak up the liquid.  You may want to stir the mixture a little, just to make sure all the bread is soaked.

4.      Place the cup in the microwave.  Starting with 1 minute, cook the French toast.  If it does not looked cooked after 1 minute, cook for an additional 10 seconds until it is at your liking. (Make sure the egg is cooked)

5.      Serve hot!  If you want you can add syrup or other items, like fruit or chocolate chips at this point.

1 egg
3 Tbsp milk (any kind)
Dash of Cinnamon
Drop of Vanilla Extract
Extra Items

–          Fruit

–          Canned Pumpkin

–          Chocolate Chips

–          Syrup

Written by:

Deeona Johnston, Dietetic Intern, Fontbonne University and Operation Food Search

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