Anita Shaffer, RD
You’ve heard the old adage many times… “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But hectic mornings (“Mom! Where is my backpack?!”) filled with competing priorities (“Hurry up- you’re going to miss the bus!”) can make it easy to skip the morning meal. Back to school time is a good time to reflect on the reasons why breakfast is so important, and remind ourselves to make breakfast a priority in our own and our family’s morning routine.
- Breakfast is a nutritional opportunity that gives everyone a chance to get many important vitamins and minerals, and to eat food groups most adults and kids don’t get enough of, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Children and adolescents who eat breakfast tend to have better nutrient intakes than those who do not eat breakfast.1,2 If your child skips breakfast, it’s unlikely he or she will make up for certain nutrients later in the day, such as calcium and fiber.2,3,4 When preparing your family’s lunches in the morning, offer your children some baby carrots or sliced sweet pepper sticks as you are packing their bags.
- Breakfast promotes good health. Breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight.5,6,7 Kids and teens who eat breakfast have decreased risk for obesity, and less likely to become chronically obese than those who skip breakfast.1,7-12
- Breakfast supports school success. School age children who eat breakfast do better in school, have fewer discipline problems, and are more alert and attentive in class.13
For a good breakfast, encourage your children to eat one food from three of the food groups below. For a better breakfast, challenge them to eat one food from four groups. For a five star very best breakfast, inspire kids to eat one food from all five food groups below. Remember- breakfast can be any food you enjoy, even if it’s not traditional breakfast food. Last night’s leftovers can be part of a convenient, nutritious breakfast that provides a jump start on meeting your dietary needs for the day!
(breads, cereals, crackers, tortillas)
(eggs, nuts and nut butters, seeds, lean meats)
(fresh, frozen, canned, dried, 100% juices)
(baby carrots, other fresh cut veggie sticks, V8®100% Vegetable Juice, V8 V-Fusion®, or V8® Veggie Blends)
(yogurt, cheese, milk)
Eating breakfast as a family is a great way to connect. But if breakfast at home isn't an option for your child, find out if breakfast is available at school. Or pack them a healthy breakfast they can eat on the bus, in the car, or when they get to school. The trail mix recipe below is my daughter’s bus stop breakfast favorite… it’s sweet and savory, a good source of protein, fiber, and iron, provides whole grains and a full serving of fruit. I hope you and your children will try it and enjoy it, too!
Best wishes for a healthy and happy new school year,
Goldfish® Go Mix (makes 6 servings, 1 cup each)
Combine these ingredients together, and store in an air-tight container for up to one week:
3 cups Goldfish® Made with Whole Grain Cheddar baked snack
1-1/2 cup sunflower seeds
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup dried cranberries
- Make your mix with soy nuts, almonds, peanuts, or cashews instead of sunflower seeds.
- Try other dried fruits like apricots, blueberries, or cherries.
- Fix ahead, and use a 1-cup measuring cup to portion individual servings into plastic sandwich bags.
- Enjoy with ½ cup of 100% fruit or vegetable juice and 1 cup of low fat milk for a complete 5-star breakfast.
Nutrients Per Serving: 380 calories, 18g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, <5mg cholesterol, 300mg sodium, 51g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 24g sugar, 9g protein, 0%DV vitamin A, 2% DV vitamin C, 6% DV calcium, 15% mg iron.
- Deshmukh-Taskar et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010.
- Rampersaud et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005.
- Nicklas et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998.
- Morgan et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 1986.
- Cho et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003.
- Affenito et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005.
- Barton et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005.
- Alexander et al. Obesity 2009.
- Fiore et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006.
- Merten et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009.
- Niemeier et al. J Adol Health 2006.
- Timlin et al. Pediatrics 2008.
- Breakfast for Learning Brief. Food Research and Action Center 2014. Available online at http://frac.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/breakfastforlearning.pdf
Anita has over 25 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. She received her Bachelor of Nutrition Science degree from Drexel University and completed her clinical dietetics training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. Her diverse professional experience in the food service industry includes clinical nutrition practice and management, nutrition education program development, food services systems management, and recipe and menu development for healthcare and school food service operations. At Campbell, Anita is the Senior Nutritionist supporting the North American Food Service Division. She collaborates with the Campbell foodservice team to develop and promote innovative products that provide balanced nutrition for food service operators in the healthcare, school, and restaurant settings.