Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Brain Food: Powerful Back to School Breakfasts

Brain food. That's what my mom always called breakfast. She was right! Breakfast is super important because it gets your systems going. It revs up the metabolism, aids in weight management, improves focus and is also a potentially terrific source of nutrients.

The morning may also be one of the most hectic times of the day, especially if you're trying to get the kids out the door for school and you're trying to get yourself to work on time too. There are two keys to successful breafast regimens:
  1. It's quick.
  2. You've planned ahead.
Sounds easy enough, right? It is as long as you've got your game plan. Start the school year off on the right foot by forming this habit right from the start. Even if you don't have children, these ideas will serve you well too.

1. Breakfast is not optional. Discuss the breakfast plan with the whole family and get everyone on board.

2. Put together breakfast meal options as a family. I like the index card system:
  • Sit down together on a weekend and brainstorm different breakfast meals.
  • Write each meal on a separate index card and store them in a box.
  • Try to come up with at least 10 different options (that's 2 weeks full of different breakfasts). 
  • Requirements: Each meal must include some type of whole grain(s), a fruit, a dairy and a healthy fat or protein.
  • Example: Whole wheat toast with peanut butter, banana sliced on top, glass of milk. Done. (P.S. This is a great activity to do with the kids to help them learn about the different food groups and how to build a balanced meal. See the MyPlate website for more information).

3. Before each school week, take a few minutes as a family to select the breakfasts for the week. Pull out 5 index cards; one for each school day. Everyone should have a say in which items make the list. If you have two children, each child could select two breakfasts and mom could select one.

4. Use the meals you've selected to plan your grocery list and make sure you have all the necessary groceries on hand.

5. Prepare anything you can in advance. For example, wash or slice fruit ahead of time and store it in a container in the fridge. Make extra whole wheat pancakes on the weekend and store leftovers for the next school week. Hard boil eggs and store them in the fridge.

Try coming up with some breakfast ideas of your own and watch for Brain Food Part 2, coming this Friday. Hint: I'll be posting a list of 10 Back to School Breakfast Ideas!