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Extension > Live Healthy, Live Well > September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Power Up with Breakfast

 Power Up with Breakfast

Is your child tired, hungry, or grumpy?  Are you tired, hungry, and grumpy?  Many children and adults do not eat breakfast
in the morning leaving them tired and possibly grumpy. This makes it hard for children to learn in
school and adults to concentrate. Breakfast
is a great way "power up" and get your morning off to a great start.

Let's look at some of the common reasons people may not eat breakfast and some easy solutions.

"I don't have enough time in the morning"
  • Get up 15 minutes earlier. You may want to start by just getting up 5
    minutes earlier each day and by the end of the week, you will have gained 15
    minutes - enough time for breakfast.
  • Plan what you are going to have for breakfast the night before to save time in the morning.
  • Students who don't have enough time to
    eat breakfast at home can eat breakfast at school (many schools now serve
  • Keep quick breakfast foods available to eat on the run. Here are some examples.
- Small yogurt container
- Granola bars or fruit bars
- Fruit
- Cheese stick

"I'm not hungry first thing in the morning"
  • Rather than skipping breakfast, try
    waiting 30 minutes or so after you get up to eat breakfast.
  • Try a lighter breakfast such as yogurt
    and fruit or a slice of toast with peanut butter.
  • Try eating breakfast every morning for a week - you may start to get hungry in the morning once your body
    adapts to a new eating schedule
"I'm trying to lose weight"
  • Research indicates that eating
    breakfast can actually help a person lose or maintain weight.
  • Include a protein source, such as milk, cheese or peanut butter as part of your breakfast. This will help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
"Breakfast foods are boring"

Breakfast doesn't need to be boring! Here are some great ideas:

Quick and easy
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Granola bars or breakfast bars
  • Fresh fruit
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Whole wheat toast
  • Cheese stick
  • Nuts
  • Whole grain muffins 
A bit more preparation, but worth the wait
  • Oatmeal
  • Hard cooked egg
  • Whole grain pancakes
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies
This month's challenge (pick one of the following)
  • If you or your children are currently not eating breakfast, try eating breakfast for a week.
  • If you currently eat breakfast, try to vary your breakfast with different fruits.
Breakfast is important so make time for it each day. Share your favorite breakfast idea in the comment section below. For simple breakfast recipes, visit The Recipe Box.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Quick Meals for Busy Families

Monday's To-Do List:
  • Pick up Josh from football practice
  • Bring Emma to piano lessons
  • Stop at the store to buy more school notebooks
  • Attend a parent volunteer meeting
  • Help children with homework
  • Make dinner???
School is back in session and families are on the go! Having time to prepare an evening meal may seem like an impossible task. However, taking a few minutes now, will make it easier to fit healthy and tasty meals into your family's busy schedule.

Step One: Plan

Writing a week's menu is a great help for busy families. It allows family members to shop ahead of time to ensure the foods needed are in the kitchen at mealtime. It helps prevents the frustration of "what are we going to have for dinner tonight."

One way to start planning a menu is to write a list of foods your family likes to eat. Take a few minutes and ask family members what foods they would like included on the list. Use your list to complete the Meal Planning Guide (PDF).

Step Two: Shop

Using your menu planning sheet, make a shopping list. Having a shopping list (and sticking to it) will save you time in the grocery store and prevent extra trips to the grocery store for one or two items.

Step Three: Prepare

Look at your weekly menu and see what items you can prepare ahead of time. For example, if you need browned ground beef for several meals during the week, brown it all at once and put the extra in the freezer for later in the week. You can also cut enough fresh vegetables to last a few days. Because recipes such as soup, lasagna, and casseroles freeze well, make a double recipe. Enjoy one recipe now and freeze the other recipe for when it is on your menu again.

Helpful Tips

  • Keep ingredients in your pantry for your favorite quick meals such spaghetti, stir-fry, or tuna salad sandwiches.
  • Use instant rice to save time.
  • Try the recipes for Make Your Own Casserole or Make Your Own Pasta (PDF). These recipes help you to mix and match the ingredients you have in your pantry and refrigerator to make a casserole or salad.
  • Save your weekly menus. You can use them again as is or make revisions.
  • Remember meal preparation doesn't need to be the responsibility of just one person. Involve other family members in planning, shopping, preparing and cleaning up after a meal.

Goals for this Month (choose one or more)

  • Have each family member write down five entrees and side dishes they enjoy.
  • Make a one week menu
  • Make a list of your family's favorite quick meals. Keep the ingredients for these foods in your pantry/refrigerator so you can have a "meal in minutes" when needed.
What are your favorite quick meal ideas? Please share in the comment section.

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