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The Most Important Meal of the Day

The word “breakfast” really does mean “break the fast”. By the time we wake up, most of us have gone 8–12 hours without food. During the night, our brain uses our body’s stored energy. Eating a balanced breakfast in the morning will help give our brains and bodies the energy it needs to work properly.

A healthy breakfast gives children the nutrients they need to grow, learn and concentrate in school. When children and adults skip breakfast, it may hard to concentrate and learn at school or work. We are also more likely to be irritable and to have poor performance.

Many people are not interested or able to eat as soon as they wake up. Children and adults should try to eat something for breakfast within an hour of waking. If it is not possible to eat all of a balanced breakfast right away, break it up. Eat a piece of fruit soon after waking, and then have yogurt and cereal a little while later.

A nutritious breakfast includes one food from each of the three food categories – Vegetables and Fruit, Whole Grains, and Protein Foods (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and dairy products).

Get creative with breakfast. Any food can be a breakfast food. Many children and adults do not like the “typical” breakfast foods, like cereal, fruit, muffin, pancakes, toast, etc. Some people like a sandwich, salad, casserole, or stir-fry first thing in the morning. A stir-fry can have a food from each of the three food categories; noodles or rice, vegetables, and meat.

Here are some quick and easy breakfast ideas:

  • Half a whole grain bagel toasted with cheese and tomato
  • A smoothie with yogurt and berries, and a handful of trail mix
  • Scrambled eggs, salsa and cheese wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with an apple on the side
  • Homemade pizza with whole grain crust, pizza sauce, vegetables and chicken
  • Leftover quinoa topped with sliced bananas and walnuts
  • Homemade muffin with yogurt and an orange

Try to limit foods like sugary cereals, which are low in nutrients and don’t help children stay full for very long.

Mornings can be hectic trying to get everyone out the door on time. Try these tips to beat the mornings rush and save more time for breakfast:

  • Finish homework and pack backpacks the night before
  • Make and refrigerate lunches the night before
  • Have kids set the table for breakfast after dinner
  • Stock up on quick and easy-to-grab items for breakfast like fruit, whole grain breads and cereals (look for cereals with less than 8g of sugar per 35g serving), yogurt and cereal bars