It’s back-to-school time, which means lazy mornings around the breakfast table are soon to be visions of the past. My boys are usually scrambling trying to finish homework they forgot about or trying to find matching socks buried in their rooms! Breakfast, sadly, is last on their priority list at the wee hour of 7:00 a.m.
As a mom and dietitian, I try hard to start the day off right with good protein sources. It’s even better if it’s quick, easy and portable so that it can be eaten on the way to school!
New research confirms that eating protein-rich foods for breakfast helps you feel full longer and decreases hunger throughout the day. Protein-rich foods include items like eggs, yogurt, low-fat dairy products and lean meat. For breakfast I try to combine protein-rich foods with fiber-filled foods, such as whole wheat bread, whole grain cereal and fruit.
One new breakfast recipe my family enjoys is the Mini Frittata. I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of preparation, and even more pleased that my boys wanted seconds! My youngest isn’t a big egg fan, but he raved about this recipe. He said he can’t wait to eat it again because the frittata is so “fluffy and creamy.” I also serve this dish with a side of light sour cream and salsa. For weekday meals, I use the recipe tip provided and make the frittata ahead of time: I freeze and then reheat them for a quick and easy breakfast.
Another idea for breakfast on the go: serve a slice of Deli American with an apple, grapes or whole grain crackers. These combinations add fiber to the diet while helping you and your children feel full longer.
What makes these recipes better for you?
Eggs and cheese are packed with protein. By adding fruit, you provide a delicious and nutritious breakfast for your family that doesn’t take hours to prepare.
One egg provides 6 grams of protein, about 12% of the Recommended Daily Value, and has just 70 calories. Eggs provide the highest quality protein found in any food because they provide all of the essential amino acids our bodies need.
Did you know that both the egg white and yolk provide protein? Many people toss the yolk because they believe it only provides fat. Actually, yolk provides nearly half of the egg’s protein, along with all of the folate, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.
Cheese is naturally nutrient-rich in calcium, potassium and other vitamins and minerals, and provides high-quality protein. Cheese provides three of the five essential nutrients of concern for children: calcium, potassium, and magnesium. The USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt every day. Consuming nutrient-rich cheese and dairy items daily is a convenient and affordable way to get several key nutrients that many children lack in adequate amounts.
Two more of my family’s favorite breakfast recipes are the Omelet in a Cup, which is super-fast to prepare and travels well, and the Easy Egg & Cheese Sandwich. When I’ve made hard-boiled eggs ahead of time, it really is…well, easy!
A great complement to these breakfast recipes is a fruit smoothie, which is are refreshing, portable, protein-packed drink. Smoothies like the Strawberry Passion Smoothie are my kids’ all-time favorite beverages any time of the day! If you want to increase the protein in the recipe, swap out the regular yogurt for Greek yogurt.
It’s easy to get a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast on the table with tried and true Land O’Lakes recipes. Try some of these suggestions and let us know what you think!
Christa is a registered dietician at Land O'Lakes.