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Healthy Breakfasts for Healthy Minds

Eating a healthy breakfast can help your child maintain focus on learning throughout the day.

By GreatSchools Staff

Many studies have found a relationship between eating breakfast and learning ability, attention span and general well-being. Eating a healthy breakfast with complex carbohydrates and protein can help your child maintain energy and focus, and think clearly throughout the day. Try one of the following healthy breakfast meals.

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie (serves 2)

Thanks to a reader of My Second-Grader who sent this recipe in. She tells us, "My kids love smoothies for breakfast. Their favorite, which also gives them energy and protein to start the day, is a peanut butter and banana smoothie." She also notes how to alter this recipe if you have an allergy to peanut butter, "You can simply add the banana, a hint of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a capful of vanilla extract... and it still tastes wonderful."

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk or soy milk
1 banana
1 tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup crushed ice
1 tablespoon soy-based protein powder in a chocolate flavor (optional)

Preparation

Place all of the ingredients in the blender. Blend to desired consistency.

Breakfast Burritos (makes 2)

Savor this morning meal that is full of protein. If your kids are in a hurry, they can wrap it up and take it on the go.

Ingredients

Oil or cooking spray
2 flour or whole wheat tortillas
2 eggs
2 tablespoons low-fat milk
¼ cup grated cheese
Mild salsa to taste
Avocado (optional)
Sausage, tofu or bacon (optional)

Preparation

Heat the oven to 325º F. Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the eggs with the milk. Heat the oil or cooking spray in a pan and scramble the eggs. If adding meat or tofu, heat the oil or cooking spray in another skillet and cook the sausage, tofu or bacon. In the tortilla, combine the eggs, meat or tofu, and avocado. Sprinkle with cheese, top with salsa and roll into a burrito.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

08/27/2009:
"Those are some great healthy food tha we can give to our kids...."
03/23/2009:
"i want more information about why breakfast is good for better results in the tests"
03/18/2009:
"thank you for the breakfast recipes.. I do have concerns about them so will adjust the recipes-- 1. Why saussage or bacon on the burrito? Is the low-fat milk meant to offset the fat? Children are consuming more junk food than I have ever seen these days. In the southwest we use beans, perhaps ham would be better alternative as well. 2. Peanut butter? What about food warnings? Allergies? Perhaps yogurt could be used, as there is protien in the optional powder. "
03/16/2009:
"Good ideas! My son LOVES sushi - and since fish is 'brain food' he requests it for breakfast on FCAT mornings. An unusual breakfast selection to be sure, but it is a tradition for him and his FCAT levels have all been 4's and 5's since we started this. It may be all in his head, but the grades are certainly there!"
03/16/2009:
"I am in the same boat as the poster with the child who doesn't like to eat so early. We have to be at the bus stop by 7:08, and there's no eating on the bus. I have tried to get my daughter to eat something before we leave or on the way to the bus stop, but so far the only thing she can get down that early is half a high-fiber pop tart! I'm not sure there's much you can do when their stomachs haven't woken up yet. Luckily, her class has lunch at 10:45, but I wonder about how she gets through her first 2 1/2 hours at school."
08/6/2008:
"For those of us that are stretched for time in the a.m.; eggs can be scrambled in the evening and will keep for a few days in the frig. For breakfast, wrap your eggs in a whole grain tortilla with some pre-shredded cheese and zap in your microwave. Voila - Instant breakfast! (well, almost!) "
08/5/2008:
"I am inclined to agree with the posts below. I am a single mother of a toddler (2) and a pre-teen (10). I hardly have the time to make an eight course meal in the morning (or at night) while trying to get a toddler dressed and make sure that my other child is ready all while getting myself ready to go to work, it's just not possible. While I appreciate all of the tips and recipes that are provided, could we please have some tips and recipes for the single, hard working mothers? Thanks!"
08/5/2008:
"Sure, is tough for many Mothers to some how manage time. If you already make the most of your day, and do not have time to make breakfast, such as using the oven or the blender. Than continue doing what you do. I only sleep 5 hours everyday including weekends, this became a habbit. It is not being a hero or a Super Mom, but there is not enough hours in the day. I put my children as my first priority in my list everyday. And if that means sleeping 5 hrs everyday just to use a blender in the morning, so I do. This is all on top of being a full time working Mom, Single Mom, Part time job, and doing all the chores at home, laundry, cleaning, washing clothes and dusting the entire house twice a week because my child has allergies, taking them to Doctor's appointments everything, that a Mom does. If I am missing anything I'm sure one of you will respond, to that."
08/1/2008:
"I love these recipes! My son and I are vegetarians and these recipes include healthy ingredients for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Come on let's get back to feeding our kids healthy foods! That's most important. I'm a single parent, my son has to be in school by 7:55, I have to get ready for work, but I'm willing to give these recipes a try. It doesn't have to be every morning. Thanks Great Schools for sharing!"
07/31/2008:
"Thank you for that comment about NOT COOKING in the morning....I'm having a hard enough time figuring out how to get my kid ready by 7:30 when he's usually just waking up at that time and getting myself ready for WORK...where I usually eat my breakfast. Let's see some suggestions for really filling, protein filled food that can be made the night before and microwaved in the morning! Who has the time to crush ice, chop fruit, and cook eggs??? (lucky, lucky, well-rested women, probably)!"
07/30/2008:
"What if the child doesn't like having breakfast so early in the morning?What suggestions do you have?"
08/24/2007:
"What!?! I don't have that much time to put breakfast together. As a mother of an infant, a toddler with food allergies and an elementary student I have to be realistic. Try a recipe that doesn't involve baking. Something simple, like fruit juice and yogurt with a bowl of cereal. Halved sandwiches with jam and fruit slices. If we have to pack the lunch the night before, why on earth would we want to cook all morning? "
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