Going back to school means a lot of changes in your routine with homework, sports, after-school activities and more. The list goes on and on.
One area that can be easily overlooked by parents: making sure your child eats breakfast.
Studies have shown that breakfast can improve academic performance, behavior and overall health. Children who regularly eat breakfast also have a lower likelihood of being overweight.
Katie Jordanhazy, a registered dietitian at Novant Health, offered some healthy breakfast ideas for your children – and for yourself.
Easy breakfast options
“When it comes to thinking about your child’s health, you want to get them off to a good start in the morning with breakfast,” Jordanhazy said. “One thing that really helps is to prepare breakfast the night before. Having a couple of recipes on hand that you can make ahead of time makes the mornings much easier.”
“For overnight oats, you can take equal parts dry oats, Greek yogurt and milk, and add whatever toppings you want,” Jordanhazy said. “Mix the ingredients together, put it in the fridge overnight and it will be ready when you wake up.”
Jordanhazy said overnight oats is a much healthier option than packaged oatmeal because it doesn’t have as much added sugar.
Sugar can sneak up in a lot of breakfast options, including yogurt and cereal marketed toward children.
“Not all cereal is bad,” Jordanhazy said. “If you can choose a healthy cereal with a good amount of fiber – three grams or more – it can make for a good breakfast.”
A general rule is to try and stay below 10 grams of sugar for packaged foods, Jordanhazy said. Another quick option? Have prewashed and cut fruit ready to go.
“Having a combination of things you can easily grab while heading out the door is another helpful tip,” Jordanhazy said. “I recommend having some yogurt cups on hand to go along with any fruit and vegetables you may have available.”
The best snack options
“In every meal, you should try to get a good combination of protein and carbohydrates,” Jordanhazy said.
When it comes to a midmorning snack, this rule remains the same.
For carbohydrates, Jordanhazy recommends a piece of fruit or whole grain crackers. For protein, she said boiled eggs, natural peanut butter or mozzarella cheese sticks are great options.