No breakfast before school? No excuses

Consumer Reports News: August 11, 2011 11:24 AM

Mornings are hectic, especially during the school year. But that’s no excuse for you or your kids to skip breakfast, which nutrition experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) see as a basic tool for maintaining healthy weight and good health.

“When people skip breakfast, they end up making up for it, often eating more later on,” said Alice Bender, a registered dietician with the American Institute for Cancer Research. The problem with that, said Bender, is that it can lead children and teenagers to become overweight or obese, which in turn leads to other serious health problems. (Learn more about Sneaking healthy foods into your child's diet.)

“It’s about maintaining healthy weight and developing good habits,” said Bender, who urges parents to model healthy breakfast habits for their children, including eating whole grains, fruit and dairy. “Breakfast is one of the best times to get high-fiber foods.” (See Is organic food better for kids?)

Bender notes that people say they don’t have time to wait for breakfast. But “many of the things we suggest you can do the night before,” she says. “For kids who get to school early, they can eat them there.”

Here are some no-cook breakfast ideas from the AICR brochure, “The New American Plate for Breakfast”:

  • Peanut butter on brown rice cakes + apple (whole or slices) + 1 cup milk
  • Breakfast smoothie (berries, yogurt or silken tofu, 100 per cent juice) + whole grain bagel
  • Breakfast fruit wrap—whole-wheat tortilla with ricotta cheese, fruit spread, sliced strawberries, and chopped nuts
  • Whole-wheat pita bread with hummus, and fresh fruit or small box of raisins

Merri Rosenberg

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