Think clear, play hard, dream big! What do these three verbs have in common? a strong start to the day… Yep! Breakfast
Breakfast, the most important meal because it is (or can be) the first good decision you make. And, when you make a good decision at breakfast research shows that you are much MORE likely to continue to make good decisions throughout the day.
Ah…back to school. Your family has been on the run for the past week picking up the essentials; backpack, pens & folders, new kicks, some sweet new outfits, and strategizing your perfect nutrition plan! Wait, what was that last one? With all the to-do’s we often forget the most important part of keeping our bodies healthy and prepared for the day, week, month, and school year… NUTRITION! We begin the school year with hopes and dreams for what is to come. We hope we like our teachers and classes, we look forward to our sports season, and cannot wait for fun with friends. This is all possible, and will be everything you want and more, if your body is healthy and full of the energy needed to accomplish your list of fun filled activities. So what to do? start at the beginning, with these 3 MUST DO nutrition tips for a GREAT breakfast.
Start the day Strong! 3 MUST DO nutrition tips…
#1 Something to satisfy… Protein! Good quality protein comes from both plants and animals. Human research has proven that protein at breakfast helps to achieve a good balance of sugar in our blood, keeps us satisfied between meals, and promotes muscle maintenance and growth. So how much protein you ask… about 20-30g (kids on the 20g side). Some examples of quality protein: Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, tofu, tempeh, whole grains, and seeds (just to name a few)
#2 Colorful Plants! This may sound a bit familiar from my last post … “The color and beauty of food is directly related to the amount of nutrition it contains. Humans have evolved to identify nutrition and health with what we now call "Beauty" and all colorful foods have unique benefits; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, & white all have something special to offer”. Although muscle tissue is made from the protein we eat, building muscle is ONLY possible with the help of nutrients coming from plants. Eating colorful plants is easy at breakfast… fruit! all varieties and all colors. I am talking the whole fruit here (fruit juice does not count, at all, in no way). I cannot leave out the opportunity for veggies at breakfast as well. Throw spinach in a smoothie or a veggie scramble with bell pepper, squash, & yum!
#3 Something Extra! There is ALWAYS a delicious and nutritious topper out there that can be enjoyed. The perfect topper will add nutrition to your breakfast; think: color, fiber, & healthy fats. These small additions make a HUGE impact over time. Great toppers include: chia seeds, avocado, nuts, seeds, cottage cheese, salsa, hot sauce, berries, chopped crunchy veggies.
Two of my go-to easy breakfasts for TONS of energy and nutrition…
Grains of Bounty 1/2 cup cooked oats (or any whole grain like barley, millet, teff, or buckwheat) Topped with: 1/2 cup low fat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup mixed berries, 1 Tbs ground flax seed, 1 Tbs chia seeds, 1 Tbs hemp seeds, 1 Tbs chopped walnuts. Serve hot or for a twist add all ingredients + unsweetened milk in a jar leave overnight in fridge grab and go for an awesome jar of cold “overnight oats”.
Scrambled with love 2 eggs, 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 cup veggies from last nights dinner. Scramble & cook. Top with: salsa, avocado, and chia seeds. For a quick version cook egg mixture in a cup in the microwave top as above. OR quadruple the recipe and bake (350 for 20-30 min) in a casserole dish. Cut up into individual servings and freeze. Toss frozen scramble in microwave for a minute, top as usual.
Friends and family of Silver State… think clear, play hard, dream big! Wishing you a year of amazing days all beginning with an awesome breakfast packed with protein, colorful plants, & topped with a little something extra :)
Shavawn M. Forester PhD, RDN (aka The Nutrient Dense RDN)
Nutrition Instructor at the University of Nevada, Reno
Founder of Nutrition Answered, LLC
& the Eat Well & WIN! Program for mom’s of growing athletes