A better breakfast is often key to powering through your busy day. When you properly fuel your body you have more physical and mental energy for work, kids, exercising, housecleaning, cooking, after school activities and more.
Did you know that September is the Better Breakfast Month? Make plans to stock up on healthy staples and make breakfast a priority—for yourself and for your family, too.
Celebrate Better Breakfast Month
Do you find it rather coincidental that September is known as back-to-school month in addition to Better Breakfast Month? It’s likely no coincidence at all. While the origin of the celebration is a bit unclear, what’s clear is the importance of starting your day with the proper nutrition. Medical studies have proven that eating a morning meal that include complex carbohydrates, along with fruit or vegetables and protein, ensures you’ll be at peak performance for the first part of your day.
Often times children are sent to school without breakfast or with sugary treats that shouldn’t be considered a better breakfast. They shouldn’t even be called breakfast foods. Low income students who qualify for the free breakfast program in many of our nation’s elementary schools have improved significantly in both math and reading after a few months of taking part in the program. This shows a better breakfast helps the brain of our students to succeed.
Strive for Five
When stocking up your refrigerator and pantry in preparation for Better Breakfast Month, why not strive for five? Try to incorporate something from each of the five food groups into each breakfast you eat or serve. This means including a fruit, a vegetable, a grain, a protein and dairy products into every breakfast. Those who don’t do dairy can supplement with an almond milk product for pretty much the same nutritional value.
What to Buy
Consider including some or all of the following when stocking your refrigerator and pantry for Better Breakfast Month. Obviously you will have to pick and choose based on your tastes and those of your family, as well as cost. For your pantry, consider the following:
- Dried fruit
- Whole grain cereal
- Whole grain muffin mix
- Brown sugar
- Whole grain bread
- Real maple syrup
- Whole grain English muffins
- Whole wheat pita bread or wraps
Always check the labels on any “whole grain” products to make sure there are wholesome ingredients. There should be any bleached flour or sugar in the first few ingredients listed. For your refrigerator, consider the following:
- Low-fat or nonfat yogurt (plain is best as it lacks added sugar—Greek is higher in protein)
- Frozen fruit when fresh fruit or berries not in season (or simply for convenience)
- Milk or almond milk (low-fat)
- Cheese (real, not processed)
- Seasonal fresh fruit and/or berries
- Seasonal fresh veggies
- Frozen veggies (see fresh frozen fruit above)
Once you’ve filled your pantry and your refrigerator, it’s time to create some easy to fix, go-to combinations that make delicious and healthy breakfasts. Consider some of the following for Better Breakfast Month.
- Make oatmeal the night before. Microwave a cup full in the morning and top it with raisins, nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Put it in a to-go cup and eat it on the bus.
- Scramble a couple of eggs and add in diced peppers, some tomatoes and a bit of grated cheese. Take it to go in a whole wheat wrap.
- Add fresh or frozen fruit to a cup of cereal with some almond milk. Top it with a handful of chopped nuts.
- Top a container of yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts. Enjoy it with a whole grain muffin you baked the night before.
- Make a sandwich with a scrambled egg, piece of cheese, and a slice of avocado or tomato on an English muffin.
Use these ideas as inspiration to come up with other breakfast combinations on your own. Base them on your favorites or what’s on sale each week at your local grocery store—or on items left in your pantry after a thorough housecleaning of your shelves.
Sometimes a good cleaning of your refrigerator leaves you with some great breakfast alternatives. After all, who said a better breakfast has to be celebrated by eating solely breakfast foods? Ummmm…no one. Consider some of these alternatives that still pack the proper nutritional punch. When eaten at breakfast time, they do qualify as breakfast—breaking the fast!
- A leftover piece of chicken topped with sliced tomato on whole grain bread. Add some guacamole or hummus for extra protein and flavor and a slice of cheese, too, if you like.
- A cup of tomato soup topped with grated cheese, some nuts, and a twist of lime.
- A leftover taco. It’s got everything you need. It is even healthier if you eat it on a whole wheat wrap or pita pocket instead of a crunchy corn shell. Relax a bit—even eating that crunchy corn shell filled with wholesome ingredients beats eating nothing—by far.
- Tossed salad. Add a handful of nuts, and a slice of whole grain bread with cheese.
Drink Your Breakfast
The recent popularity of smoothies has made it easy to drink your breakfast. Prepare your foods the night before and toss them into the blender in the morning. You can drink your breakfast as you drive safely to work or ride your bike to school. Try bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and organic honey with a handful of ice cubes mixed in your clean blender. Another possibility is spinach, kale, cucumbers, yogurt, almond butter, and almond milk, sweetened with maple syrup
Play around on the weekend and find out what kind of smoothie fills you up and provides good nutrition. Research the internet or in magazines for “smoothie recipes” and unleash a wealth of options. You will see that following the notion of a better breakfast in September will be the start of good nutrition that lasts all year long.
Get a start on Better Breakfast Month with these healthy ideas and more. When your body is properly fueled you have more stamina, you think more clearly, and you tend to be a happier person. You and your family will reap the benefits as each day goes by.
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