As you trade your slow summer days for hectic, back-to-school mornings, a balanced breakfast often falls through the cracks. In fact, studies estimate that 40% of people regularly skip important morning meal! Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is linked to better performance at school and work and a healthy weight. Here are three strategies for building a balanced breakfast and three grab-and-go recipes that will have you out the door to work or school in a flash.

Three Strategies to Build a Balanced Breakfast

1. Aim for 3 different food groups

While any breakfast is better than no breakfast, aiming for 3 different food groups ensures a variety of different types of fuel. More fuel and a variety of fuel translates to an overall reduced appetite and calorie intake the rest of the day. Two examples: Yogurt parfait with yogurt, fruit and fiber-rich cereal (dairy, fruit, whole grains) Whole grain toast hard-boiled egg and a banana (whole grains, protein, fruit)

2. Build in protein

Eating a protein-packed breakfast helps you stay full and stabilize blood sugars, and may help maintain a healthy body weight. A recent study showed that teens who ate a protein-packed breakfast (about 35 grams) stabilized their blood sugar, reduced feelings of hunger and prevented unhealthy gains in body fat.

Protein-packed Breakfast Foods:

  • 1 cup of yogurt = 8 grams
  • 1 cup of greek yogurt =22 grams
  • 2 large eggs = 12 grams
  • 2 T. peanut butter = 8 grams
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese = 28 grams
  • 1 turkey/soy sausage = 10 grams

3. Cut back on sugar

It is obvious that donuts and pastries are loaded with sugar, but many breakfast cereals and bars are high in sugar too. A sugary start will leave you and your child hungry within an hour, making concentration and productivity difficult. How to lower the sugar: Aim for a cereals that have 8 grams of sugar or less. Use fruit to sweeten foods. Top whole grain waffles with banana slices and stir berries into unsweetened yogurt. Balance out sweet with unsweet. Example: pair a hard-boiled egg with a sweet cereal bar.

Three Grab-and-Go Recipes For Both Adults and Kids

CLICK on LINKS for recipes: 

1. Pumpkin Pie Protein Overnight Oats

2. Muffin Tin Egg Bakes

3. Almond & Raspberry Jam Bars 

For more adult- and kid-friendly easy breakfast ideas, watch this Nutri-Bite video!

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.