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Healthy Breakfast Fuels' Kids Minds and Bodies

Posted - May 10, 2004 at 7:40 a.m.



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Healthy breakfast fuels kids minds and bodies

HOUSTON --(HealthNewsDigest.com) Whether ingredients are stirred, scrambled, baked or toasted, a nutritious breakfast boasts benefits for kids that stretch far beyond a full tummy.

Its important to wake up the body from its fast through the night, said Judy Bradicich, a registered dietitian in the Texas Childrens Wellness Center. A good breakfast fuels the brain with energy. Children who eat breakfast tend to do better in math and have greater memory retention and more motivation to solve complicated problems."

Bradicich said the ideal breakfast includes foods from the grain, fruit and low-fat dairy groups.

If a child has a late lunch period, its a good idea to include a protein food to provide a stable energy source throughout the morning, she said. Try adding an egg or a slice of lean ham, or topping toast with peanut butter or melted cheese.

When planning the first meal of the day, Bradicich urges parents to consider the rise and fall of blood sugar.

If cereal is preferred, select one that is high in dietary fiber -- 3 grams or more -- and has l2 grams or less of sugar per serving, Bradicich said. A cereal that is high in sugar and low in fiber will initially raise blood sugar. After blood sugar peaks, it will drop even lower than before the cereal was eaten.

As a result, your child will feel hungry and tired, she continued. Cereal thats low in sugar and high in fiber will not cause a peak and will provide a more stable, long-lasting energy source.

Although pastry tarts and granola bars are handy for quick breakfasts, they can be high in sugar, depending on the brand. Bradicich recommends reading labels closely.

Preferred breakfast beverage options include lowfat or skim milk, soy milk, lowfat drinkable yogurts or smoothies, homemade breakfast smoothies (made with frozen fruits, lowfat plain yogurt, and 1-2 teaspoons sugar or Splenda), sugar-free hot chocolate (made with lowfat milk), and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices.

Limit the intake of juice for breakfast, Bradicich said. Substitute whole fruits for juices because whole fruits are more satisfying than juice.

Of course, not all youngsters are eager to start the day with food. Some, in fact, prefer not to eat at all.

Give your child a chance to wake up, Bradicich said. Let him or her get dressed and ready for school before sitting down at the table. If they still are not hungry, pack some dry cereal to eat as a mid-morning snack.

Texas Childrens Healthy Breakfast Recipes

French Toast

Makes 2 to 3 servings

Ingredients

8 slices 100 percent whole-wheat bread

2 to 3 eggs or ½ to ¾ c. egg substitute

½ c. 1 percent milk

1 t. vanilla extract

Dash of nutmeg and/or cinnamon

Cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat griddle to 350°.

2. Toast bread. Use assorted cookie cutters to cut shapes into bread.

3. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla extract and spices in a shallow bowl.

4. Coat griddle with cooking spray. Dip bread in egg mixture and place on hot griddle.

5. Flip once. French toast is done when brown.

6. Top with sprinkles, powdered sugar, fruit toppings, fresh fruit or light pancake syrup.

Best Ever Banana Bread

Makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins

Bake during the weekend and freeze for an easy breakfast on weekdays. Warm each muffin in microwave for 20 seconds on high setting.

Ingredients

½ c. margarine

1¼ c. sugar

2 eggs

5 overripe bananas

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole-wheat flour

1 t. salt

2 t. baking soda

½ c. wheat germ

1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° for loaf pans or 400° for muffin pans.

2. Grease two 8 ½-inch loaf pans or line two muffin pans with muffin cups.

3. Cream margarine and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add eggs and bananas and blend until bananas are thoroughly mashed.

4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in wheat germ and nuts, if desired.

5. Add dry ingredients to the banana mixture and blend just until mixed. Pour the batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly.

6. Bake loaves for 50 minutes or muffins for 18-20 minutes, until the tops spring back when gently pressed.

Cranberry Nut Muffins

Makes 36 mini muffins or 15 regular muffins

Ingredients

2 c. flour

1 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

1 large egg at room temperature

1 c. milk

4 T. of unsalted butter, melted

½ c. chopped, dried cranberries

½ c. finely chopped nuts

Non-stick cooking spray

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Coat muffin pan with non-stick spray.

2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.

3. Whisk the egg, milk and melted butter together.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid mix all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until dry ingredients are just moistened.

5. Fold in cranberries and pecans. The batter will be lumpy; do not over-mix.

6. Fill the tins ⅔ full, being careful not to drip batter on the edge of the tins.

7. Bake until golden brown, approximately 12-15 minutes. The muffins are done when a small knife inserted in the center comes out dry. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Confetti Omelets

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 eggs or ½ c. egg substitute

2 T. 1 percent milk

3 - 4 T. green bell pepper

2 T. onion

6 cherry tomatoes

1 leaf fresh basil

2 - 4 T. shredded 2 percent cheddar or mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

1. Finely chop bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. Slice basil into threads.

2. Whisk together eggs or egg substitute, milk, salt and pepper.

3. Heat non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Coat skillet with cooking spray. Sauté chopped veggies, except basil, until onions are transparent.

4. Pour egg mixture and basil into skillet with veggies and cook until egg solidifies around edges. Lift edges occasionally to allow egg mixture to cook under omelet.*

5. When done, sprinkle with 2 T. cheese and fold in half. Continue to cook until done.

*Option - After adding egg mixture to veggies, add cheese and stir until eggs are scrambled to taste.

The nonprofit Texas Childrens Hospital, celebrating 50 years,

is the largest childrens hospital in the United States.

www.texaschildrenshospital.org

© Health News Digest.com 2004 All Rights Reserved.

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