Back-to-school breakfast guide

For years research has shown breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for many parents, getting their kids to eat something before school isn’t easy.

According to Jennifer Willoughby, a pediatric registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, a healthy breakfast doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.  Building a better back-to-school breakfast starts with two key components that’ll make mornings easier.

“It’s really important to give them something with a protein and something with a carbohydrate,” she said. “Preferably a whole grain or a piece of fruit, something that will fill them up and keep them full when they go in for that first class of the day.”

A simple Greek yogurt with a handful of high fiber cereal can be a great protein and carb pairing to start the day. Adding a piece of fruit makes the meal an even better option because it adds fiber, which will help kids feel fuller, longer. One protein alternative to yogurt is a hardboiled egg, which can be prepared the night before or at the beginning of the week— a bonus for busy parents.

Other good quick breakfast options include whole wheat toast with peanut butter and oatmeal with mixed nuts.

Many studies show that a meal of protein and carbohydrate is the best combination to fuel the body and brain.

“It doesn’t take a lot of effort. Have things ready in the morning that they can just grab and go, even if they do something as simple as a glass of low-fat milk and a baggie of cereal on their way to school,” Willoughby said. “You still want to have that pairing there, but it can be easy, it can be fun.”

As far as breakfast beverages, Willoughby said to skip fruit juices, which can be really high in sugar. Instead, give your kids a glass of milk, which has protein  but little sugar.