Giving kids a nutritional edge for school

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, August 27, 2011

Editor’s note: This column is written by Chelsey Nelson, a Rochester native, who is a dietetic intern from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Chelsey has been working with Austin Hy-Vee dietitian Jen Haugen this past summer.

August is a busy month. It’s time to get together with family one last time, neighborhood block parties and getting kids ready for school.

One of the most important things families should start preparing for when school is back in session is making morning breakfast for their children.

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Kids who miss out on breakfast are missing out on vital brain fuel. According to many studies, kids who eat breakfast every morning have higher energy levels in school and better test scores than kids who missed breakfast.

Cold cereal can get old and boring after a while, leading to kids not being as interested in eating. It is important to provide a variety of choices for kids to pick from.

Since the kids are the ones eating, take them shopping and let them pick out what they want to eat. Kids who pick out their own food are more likely to eat it instead of something the parent has picked out.

Here are some examples of some great breakfast brain food options.

Have the kids pick out their favorite berry, such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. Mix them into yogurt, and serve with a side of whole grain toast with peanut butter for a quick, easy breakfast.

Another great option for this breakfast is putting the yogurt combination in a Dixie cup with a pretzel stick and freezing it.

Hot breakfasts are a great option; make eggs for the kids. Mix in a little cheese and serve with a side of toast and fresh fruit.

Most families are very busy in the morning and want five more minutes of sleep, but it is still important for kids to eat breakfast.

Here are some fun, quick and easy breakfast ideas that are still healthy and great for families on the go.

Smoothies are a fun and simple breakfast option. Try a simple banana smoothie. Blend together a frozen banana, 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt, 1/2 cup fresh orange juice and 1/4 cup blueberries. Another idea is making banana dogs, which have everything your child needs to give him or her a boost for school. Take a tortilla, spread on peanut butter, slide in a banana, drizzle honey or jelly on top and roll it up. The kids can have fun making it the night before or that morning.

These are just some simple ideas for kids to eat for breakfast and get a jump-start on their day. The kids will be full of energy and ready to focus on school. The recipe below is a great trail mix recipe that is easy to make and will provide kids with added energy throughout the day.

Garden Grub Granola

Serves 5

All you need:

4 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp honey

1/2 cup broccoli slaw

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

1/4 cup. mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup dry oatmeal

1/2 cup granola cereal

All you do

1. Add the peanut butter and honey to a zip-lock bag.

2. Add the broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, dried cranberries or raisins, mini chocolate chips, dry oatmeal and granola cereal.

3. Zip the bag and mix the ingredients together slowly so the bag does not open up.

4. You can add as much or as little of whatever you want. You can put it in the fridge and grab the next day, or eat it right away

Nutrition facts per serving: 240 calories, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 6 g protein.