(ARA) – A popular TV commercial for an office supply store depicts a dad gleefully dancing through the aisles, filling his cart with back-to-school bargains while a singer croons “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” in the background. But when it comes to back-to-school grocery shopping – and especially breakfast shopping – you may find yourself feeling less than wonderful.
For many parents, getting the kids up and out the door with a good breakfast under their belts is a stressful part of the back-to-school routine. Leisurely summer schedules, with plenty of time for breakfast prep, are gone, replaced by the hectic pace of school days – and an even more compelling need to fuel children’s mornings with a fast, nutritious breakfast.
“Ample research has shown that kids who start the day with a good breakfast perform better in school,” says Marcia Greenblum, M.S., R.D., director of educational outreach for the Egg Nutrition Center. “And several recent studies have even found a link between skipping breakfast and overweight or obesity in adolescents. So the importance of a good breakfast can’t be overstated.”
Here are four ideas for minimizing the stress of back-to-school breakfast-time, while ensuring kids get a healthful start to the day:
1. Prepare the night before. Encourage kids to pack their book bags and select the next day’s wardrobe. Parents can pre-pack lunches to save time in the morning. Fill your vehicle’s gas tank in the evening, and if mornings are really crazy in your household you can shower the night before so there’s one less person in the bathroom during peak traffic time.
2. Take five minutes online in the morning to check the weather and traffic in your area. That way you’ll be able to adjust attire and travel routes according to current conditions, rather than have to run back into the house for an umbrella or sit in traffic at a road construction site.
3. Turn off the TV. In many American households, the television goes on as soon as the family is up. But the morning news can actually distract parents from the morning schedule, and kids who get wrapped up in a cartoon or video will be reluctant to leave the house. Plus, during breakfast is a great time to talk about the coming day with your kids and the TV will be an unwelcome intruder on that quality time.
4. Choose breakfast foods like eggs, yogurt or peanut butter that pack the most fuel-efficient nutrients, like protein, in easy-to-prepare, easy-to-transport form. “The high-quality protein found in eggs helps kids feel full longer and stay energized, which is what on-the-go youngsters need,” Greenblum says. “Eggs are all-natural, and they provide the highest quality protein found in any food because they contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need in a near-perfect pattern.”
Since you won’t always be able to keep on schedule and have a sit-down-breakfast, have a few easy-to-carry handheld options in your breakfast repertoire. Scrambled eggs are a great option for a quick-to-fix, on-the-go breakfast. With scrambled eggs, you can serve one dish, half a dozen ways as scrambled eggs can be wrapped in whole wheat tortillas, stuffed into a pita pocket or sandwiched between two waffles. Your family may come up with their own scrambled egg favorite! Be sure to include some fruit and a drink and you have a complete breakfast-on-the-go.
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons skim or low-fat milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon butter or cooking oil or cooking spray
- In small bowl, beat together eggs and milk with salt and pepper, if desired, until blended. In 7-to 8-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon butter until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in egg mixture.
- As mixture begins to set, gently draw an inverted pancake turner completely across bottom and sides of pan, forming large, soft curds. Continue cooking until eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly.