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Article updated: 8/28/2013 12:10 PM

A bounty of ideas for healthful breakfasts

By

Parents are beginning to again contemplate carpools, homework and how to keep hectic mornings moving smoothly. Because we shouldn't send our kids off to school without a healthful meal, we should start contemplating breakfast, too.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, two-thirds of teenage girls and half of teenage boys don't eat breakfast, even though it has proved to be essential to help them focus and maintain energy levels in school.

Let's move our kids, no matter what age, into the habit of beginning their days healthfully.

There are three key nutrients that make up a wholesome breakfast.

Protein

Provides concentrated energy for the body

Constructs the brain

Repairs tissue

Keeps the body satisfied longer

Healthful fat

Supplies energy

Builds the brain

Slows absorption of other parts of the meal, keeping the body satisfied longer

Fiber

Reduces risk of heart disease

Lowers cholesterol

Keeps the body full longer

Where to start

Serve any of these items with a side of fruit for a healthful breakfast.

Eggs

Hard-cooked

Scrambled (add veggies)

Egg nest: whole grain toast with an egg fried in a hole in the middle

Breakfast burrito: scrambled eggs and cheese in a whole-grain wrap

Frittata (Make in advance and heat up a slice, or make as muffins so they're easy to reheat, grab and go.)

Green eggs and ham (Chop a handful of spinach into tiny pieces and toss with eggs before scrambling. Serve with a side of nitrate-free bacon or ham.)

Smoothies

Start with a frozen banana

Add any combination of fresh or frozen fruit (berries, pineapple, mango, cherries)

For added nutrition, throw in a handful of greens (spinach, kale)

For protein: 1 tablespoon nut butter, a handful of raw cashews or sunflower seeds, or cup plain yogurt

For a creamier texture: cup almond milk or coconut milk

Add water if needed until it blends smoothly

Nuts and seeds

Low-sugar granola

Granola Wedges (see related recipe)

Banana spread with nut butter

Breakfast quesadilla: whole-grain tortilla spread with nut butter and sliced berries

Almond pancakes or waffles (make a big batch over the weekend and reheat in the toaster)

Whole grains

Pre-soaked oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice or millet topped with honey or maple syrup and fruit (soak your grain in the fridge overnight and then just heat up)

Whole-grain muffins (make on Sunday for the week)

Oatmeal pancakes (make a big batch over the weekend and reheat in toaster during the week)

Dairy

Yogurt parfait with fruit and nuts or granola

Other ideas

Sweet potato pancakes

Smoked salmon and mascarpone or cream cheese on sliced bread

A piece of whole-grain toast with sliced avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper

Scrambled tofu

Nitrate-free turkey or chicken sausage

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