Washington, DC. The research showed that children who skipped breakfast and were hungry can have difficulty paying attention in class and may not be able to get along with classmates. Proponents of school breakfast programs also report that children who have school breakfasts eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume less saturated fat than those who don't eat breakfast or have breakfast at home, Procter said.
Breakfast need not be complicated, time-consuming – or expensive, said Procter, who suggested choosing foods from two or more food groups, such as whole grain cereal with milk and fruit, or eggs, toast and juice.
Asking children to take turns in the kitchen and help with breakfast preparation can stimulate family buy-in, said Procter, who also suggested setting out tableware and non-perishable foods – a box of cereal as an example – before bedtime to save time in the morning. Some families, including those with teens involved in school activities or with an after-school job, find that eating breakfast together can be easier than finding "together" time for an evening meal, she said. Bringing the family together at mealtime offers an opportunity for family members to share food and fellowship and to encourage each other, Procter said. Whether a child is working on a science project or an adult is near completing a major work project, encouraging words send a positive message and nurture strength in the family.
About this article: This story is by Nancy Peterson at the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. In Kansas, information on planning and preparing breakfast and choosing foods for health is available at any county or district K-State Research and Extension office and on Extension's Web site: www.oznet.ksu.edu/humannutrition. More information on school breakfast and lunch programs is typically available from school district offices and during enrollment.
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