monthly health topic

back to routine:

School is officially back in session and it can be difficult to plan meals during this time of year. We have all the easy and delicious recipes you need.

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breakfast basics

kick start your morning with breakfast!

It’s back-to-school time again and time to think about what to pack for lunch. If peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and fruit juice are the routine, how about changing it up? To create a more nutritious, colorful and delicious meal, focus on including foods from each of the food groups. Then, trade up to better-for-you options to replace the usual lunch box suspects. Think outside the proverbial box to add variety and keep kids interested. Plan a weekly lunch menu, just as you would for dinner, and get everyone involved in packing their lunches.

Busy mornings? Breakfast can be a quick and easy addition. Don’t fuss - the traditional pancakes, eggs, bacon or sausage can wait until the weekend. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a bowl of cereal either. Be creative and think outside the cereal box! You can even enjoy leftovers for breakfast from dinner the night before. To support a healthy lifestyle, breakfast should include three to four food groups: protein, whole grains, and fruits/vegetables.

powerful protein:

Protein helps maintain muscle mass and repair tissues. Muscle mass boosts metabolism, helping to burn calories. Protein is satisfying, preventing over-eating in mid-morning. Recent studies suggest spreading protein across three meals to help with satiety, blood glucose and muscle growth.

Bacon, sausage, and ham are rich in protein, but go easy on them because of the fat and sodium content. Include these protein-rich foods as part of your everyday breakfast routine:

food Item protein amount
5oz low-fat Greek yogurt 15 grams
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese 14 grams
1 cup low-fat milk 8 grams
2 eggs 12 grams
2 oz turkey deli meat 13 grams

Nuts, nut spreads and seeds also contain protein, beneficial fats, vitamins and minerals. Add a crunch to your breakfast with almonds, pecans, walnuts or seeds like chia, sunflower or pumpkin. Sometimes it’s easy to go overboard with nuts and nut butters, racking up the calories. Stick to about a handful of nuts and for nut butters use two tablespoons or the size of a ping pong ball.

Try it—The night before, combine low-fat Greek yogurt, oatmeal, chia seeds and a splash of low-fat milk in a cereal bowl, cover and refrigerate. In the morning, top with mixed berries and you will have a satisfying, balanced breakfast ready to eat!

Wonderful Whole-Grains:

Whole grain foods include the entire grain kernel providing B-vitamins, fiber and minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium. B-vitamins turn the food we eat into energy. Fiber in whole grains may help with weight loss by filling the stomach on fewer calories. While climbing the stairs you’ll be grateful for iron helping to carry oxygen throughout your body, and magnesium and selenium working to support your bones.

Check the ingredients label. Look for “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” when buying cereal and bread. Oatmeal, whole wheat bread, quinoa and millet are great whole grain foods. Add oatmeal to smoothies for extra fiber and nutrients. Make pancakes and waffles using whole wheat flour.

Try it—Pair a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, an apple, and low-fat milk for a tasty and filling breakfast!

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:

Eating fruits and vegetables in the morning is a healthy way to start the day. They provide energy, vitamins, minerals and are full of fiber. A piece of fruit can be an easy addition to any breakfast.

Don’t forget about the vegetables! Add kale or spinach to fruit smoothies. The bright green color may be surprising, but the taste is full of delicious fruit! On days with more time, make a hearty omelet by adding spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms or broccoli. Or try a whole wheat wrap with eggs, beans and salsa. Sandwiches packed with lean meat and vegetables can be a perfect start to the day as well.

Try it—Make a smoothie by combining canned pineapple, a ripe banana, leafy greens and low-fat milk. Enjoy with a side of whole wheat toast.

Make breakfast part of your routine:

  • Prepare breakfast the night before to save time in the morning
  • Include the whole family with developing breakfast ideas
  • Keep “grab and go items” on hand for busy days: yogurt containers, oatmeal containers, fresh fruit, hard boiled eggs and nuts
  • Set your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier—it only takes this amount of time to make breakfast