Wellness & Education

Wellness & Education

Start off Right: High-Energy Breakfast Meals for You and Your Kids

There is a good amount of truth to the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal. The right balance of nutrients is important in any meal or snack throughout the day, but breakfast provides the fuel you need to get off to a good start. For a parent, faced with aisles of sugary cereals and limited time to cook, options can seem limited. Small changes can have a powerful and healthy impact, though. We’ve compiled some tips and suggestions to begin your day with high-energy meals.

The Right Energy

Best Breakfast FoodsSugars and simple carbohydrates like white breads send a spike of energy to the brain. These foods can jolt you awake in the morning, but the energy often doesn’t last through a long morning in the classroom or at work. Your brain needs protein to stimulate alertness and a steady supply of complex carbohydrates to function steadily. The best breakfast meals will contain proteins and fiber-rich carbohydrates for brain food without the energy highs and lows.

The Best Breakfast Proteins

Protein comes in more forms than just meat, which is not always a convenient breakfast food. Foods like milk, yogurt and eggs contain both of the proteins necessary to stimulate alertness and relaxation. Unfortunately, a lot of dairy products marketed for breakfast come infused with syrup and sugars to attract children, but opt for the simpler varieties—plain, low-fat milk and honey-sweetened Greek yogurt.

More Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates aren’t bad for you and your kids. They’re necessary components of a high-energy meal, but they need to be complex carbs: rich in fiber and proteins. When grocery shopping, avoid white breads and carbs infused with sugars, like cereal and breakfast pastries. Multi-grain breads, oats and bran all serve as excellent brain food and can make a meal richer in nutrients.

Making Breakfast Sweeter

We know it’s tough getting your kids to eat healthy, especially if they’re used to sugary breakfasts. Sweetening breakfast can be necessary, and the good news is it can be done nutritiously. If you’re a toast eater, look for jams sweetened with pure juice rather than cane sugar or corn syrup. Fruit smoothies, though they contain mostly sugars, can be an excellent way to feed your kids plain yogurt and sneak in more nutritious foods, like flaxseed or vegetables. Honey is also a better substitute for syrup, though adding bananas or berries to whole grain pancakes can totally eliminate the need for sweeteners.

Proper nutrition—especially in the morning—is vital to steady energy and good health. Check out more ideas from WebMD >

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