GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

July 31, 2013

Make breakfast a priority every day

Family Features News Service
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — It may be hard to believe, but it is already that time of year when families start to say goodbye to summer and hello to the new school year. In preparation, attention shifts toward to-do lists filled with tasks such as buying school supplies, going clothes shopping and getting sports physical.

What may not be on the list yet is making breakfast a priority. Why is breakfast an important addition to any back-to-school plan? Because this morning meal can help set kids up for success in the classroom.

Through research, it has been proven that when you feed a child’s mind with a nutrient-rich breakfast, he or she will perform better in school. A recent report by the American College of Sports Medicine, American School Health Association, GENYOUth Foundation and National Dairy Council shows that kids who eat breakfast in addition to being physically active have better memory, attention and behavior; and score higher on tests.

Not only does breakfast boost brain power, it also leads to improved nutritional status. This is because kids who skip breakfast don’t typically make up for the nutrients they miss at other meals throughout the day.

When it comes to building a nutrient-rich breakfast, low-fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt are smart foods to include. Together, they deliver a unique package of nine essential nutrients in a variety of tasty and affordable options.

By including dairy in the morning meal, families also put themselves on track to meet the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which recommends three daily servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods for people ages 9 and older. Find nutritious dairy recipes to prepare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks at DairyMakesSense.com.

The bottom line is a healthy student is a better student. To feed your child’s mind this school year, fuel them with a nutrient-rich breakfast made with dairy every day. Here are some simple tips:

* Keep breakfast foods on hand, like ready-to-eat cereals, yogurts, white and flavored milks and fruit. Kids can help themselves before they head out the door.

* Break breakfast boredom by eating foods like a ham and cheese sandwich or pizza.

* Take advantage of the School Breakfast Program. It offers a nutritious and convenient option for students who are pressed for time in the morning.

* Role model good breakfast behavior. When kids see that breakfast is a priority for adults, they will be more likely to eat it themselves.

* Mix breakfast up with milk. For example, prepare oatmeal with milk instead of water.

* Use yogurt to whip up a smoothie or build a parfait for a simple kid-friendly breakfast

Frosty Orange Banana Sipper

Servings: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

1 medium banana, peeled, chunked and frozen

3 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate

1 cup low-fat milk

1 container (6 ounces) low-fat vanilla yogurt

Set milk in freezer 30 minutes before using. Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glass and enjoy.