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Breakfast is more than the first meal of the day Most kids don’t want us to remind them that breakfast is the most important meal of the day as they’re running out the door to get to school on time. But they might be interested in hearing that eating a balanced breakfast will make them feel better, inside and out, contributing to better grades, better performance on the field and better nutrition choices throughout their days. A significant percentage of elementary and an even greater percentage of middle and high school students skip breakfast daily or a few times a week. On a given day, up to 30 percent of teens in the U.S. skip breakfast. As they get older, homework, jobs, sports teams, the arts and the Internet result in all-tooshort nights for students, and the need to catch a few more moments of sleep in the morning. Breakfast allows students to break the fast of nighttime, reigniting brains and concentration abilities. “It’s everything you’ve heard about in terms of it being a critical meal of the day,” says Sue Moores, a registered dietitian and consultant to schools in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. “Miss or skip breakfast and you start the day playing catch up.” According to Moores, many kids already lack important body-strengthening, body

“building” nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, potassium, protein and fiber. Without breakfast, which is a meal that can easily offer all of these, there’s extra pressure to fill the nutritional gaps with snacks and other meals. Including carbohydrates in the morning meal (whole-grain carbs, says Moores) is key, as carbs are the preferred source of energy for the brain. Add in a bit of protein to help distribute the energy carbohydrates offer, and you have the start of a great meal. Skipping breakfast may not only put students behind the eight-ball for morning nutrition,

adds Moores, it may also set them back by way of poor food choices for the rest of the day. Some studies show breakfastskippers actually crave salty, higher fat, sweet foods throughout the day compared to people who eat a morning meal. What they eat in place of breakfast is far from nutritious fare. Beginning this school year, school breakfasts are required to meet the United States Department of Agriculture’s new food-based meal pattern, which outlines increased amounts of fruits/vegetables, grains and milk food components. Amy Harkey, a registered

and get the nutrition they need to begin their busy academic days.” Harkey explains that they provide a variety of “Quick Bites for Breakfast,” offering both hot and cold options that meet the complete school breakfast requirements. “We learned in our pilot test of the program this spring that the students are reacting positively to our breakfast menus. They enjoy having the menu board outside the cafeteria so that in the afternoons they can see what will be offered the next morning,” says Harkey. Companies have stepped up to the plate, delivering whole grain and protein-rich options that, when paired with a calcium-rich, low-fat milk, provide a dietitian and director of Child solid start to the day. Schwan’s Nutrition Operations with Char- Food Service offers the new lotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Beacon Street Cafe (TM) 51 North Carolina, says that this percent whole grain Sausage, fall the Universal School Break- Egg and Cheese Sliders this fast Program is being implefall, with 8 grams of protein, 11 mented in her district, meaning grams of whole grains, 0 grams that more than 140,000 students of trans fat and only 160 calowill receive a balanced morning ries per serving (two pieces). meal at no charge. Previously, “Whether students catch a these breakfasts were offered brain-boosting breakfast at home to all students based on their or at school, it’s important to find eligibility. a way to fit nutrient-rich foods in “We want to remove any for a good day of learning,” says misperceptions that breakfast is Moores. “It may seem inconseonly for those children who are quential to skip a morning meal, economically disadvantaged,” but results in the classroom show says Harkey. “It’s important for that breakfast is key.” Brandpoint all students to ‘break the fast’

Lunch box 101: 10 nutritious tips and tricks Lunch box nutrition has come a long way from bologna on white bread with a juice drink pouch. As parents get ready to send their kids back to school, an easy lesson on lunch box nutrition may be just the thing to help kids get to the head of the class. Packing a winning lunch is not only about health and nutrition, but also about keeping food fresh and appetizing for kids. “A nutritious lunch provides important nutrients kids need throughout the day,” says Mona Rosene, registered dietitian with a master of science degree in nutrition, and nutrition research scientist for WhiteWave Foods. “For parents who think packing a balanced and affordable lunch is a chore, a little preparation can go a long way in making lunch box planning a breeze. Parents should focus on

fresh foods and be labelconscious. With so many convenient lunch options, it’s important to check labels to avoid products with empty calories and little nutritional value.” For parents on the go and on a budget, here are “Lunch Box 101 Tips & Tricks” from TruMoo Milk Boxes to help make lunchtime less stressful and more nutritious for their kids. 1. Instead of a juice drink pouch, opt for a flavored shelf-stable milk

box, which provides all the benefits of milk including 8 grams of protein, vitamins A and D, and calcium, without high fructose corn syrup or any artificial colors or flavors found in many juice drink pouches. TruMoo single serve milk boxes are a great option. They are available in three flavors kids will love - chocolate, vanilla and plain low-fat varieties, and are free of artificial colors and flavors. 2. Try to include at least

one item from each of the five food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and lean protein, to help ensure a balanced meal. 3. For a time-saver, sandwiches can be prepared the night before. Put sandwiches in reusable sandwich boxes instead of aluminum foil to prevent them from getting crushed or soggy. 4. Bite-sized fruits and vegetables are an easy way to add a nutritious and fun staple to lunch boxes. For picky eaters, a favorite dip like low-fat ranch, peanut butter or hummus can help make sure those fruits and

veggies quickly disappear. 5. Choose leaner lunch meats like chicken, turkey and tuna in water, or choose a hard-boiled egg, beans or edamame as great protein alternatives. This way, kids can get protein with less fat and calories. 6. Keep cold food cold and hot food hot - keeping foods at safe temperatures will prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria. Ice packs and insulated containers are key. 7. Instead of potato chips, try something different with the same amount of satisfying crunch such as: baby carrots, whole wheat pretzels without salt or baked

sweet potato chips. 8. Liven up the lunchbox with fun-shaped sandwich and vegetable cutters. Lunchtime should be fun for kids, and they’ll be thrilled to find a butterflyor dinosaur-shaped sandwich in their lunch. 9. Use leftovers, but change up the presentation by putting meat on whole wheat bread or pitas with sliced tomato or create a rice bowl with leftover veggies and protein. 10. Variety is key to keeping kids happy at lunchtime. Avoid boredom by offering new meal and snack options daily or weekly. Brandpoint

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