Start school day right with back-to-school breakfasts

There are several health benefits to eating breakfast as part of a regular routine. Eating breakfast may assist with weight loss or maintenance, increase overall nutrient intake, and help kids perform better in school. A healthy breakfast can also add nutrients such as protein, fiber, calcium, iron and B vitamins, which are difficult to make up for when breakfast is skipped.

Protein and fiber are key nutrients for weight control as both of these items help control hunger and prevent overeating. Many breakfast items contain protein, fiber or both. For protein at breakfast, eat eggs, nuts, Greek yogurt, milk, or fortified protein cereals or bars. Good high fiber choices include oatmeal, whole-grain breads or cereals, and many fruits and vegetables.

Some simple protein and fiber combination breakfasts to fix on busy mornings are:

• Fruit and Nutty Oatmeal: Make your favorite oatmeal with nonfat or low-fat milk. Top it with a tablespoon of dried fruits and unsalted chopped nuts. Dried fruits with the most fiber are apricots, dates, plums, and raisins. Add chia or flax seeds for crunch and even more fiber.

• Whole-Wheat Blueberry Pancakes or Waffles: Substitute whole-wheat flour in your favorite pancake or waffle batter and toss in fresh or frozen blueberries. Top whole-grain waffles with any of your favorite fruit toppings.

• Veggie Scramble and Whole-Grain Toast: Scramble an egg, toss in a handful of spinach leaves or broccoli, and sprinkle with shredded cheese to make a healthy scramble. Toast a slice of whole-grain bread to serve with it.

• Blackberry Yogurt Breakfast Parfait: Layer blackberries and low-fat Greek yogurt in a parfait glass or bowl and top with granola.

• Strawberry Banana Smoothie: Start with one cup of strawberries. Add ½ cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt, half a banana, ½ cup orange juice and a few ice cubes. Blend and you have a healthy meal in minutes.

• Breakfast Bean Burrito: Scramble one egg, toss in ¼ cup black beans, and place in the center of a warmed 5-inch whole-grain tortilla. Top with a tablespoon of salsa and wrap it up for a high-fiber treat you can eat on the go.

Balance meals with correct portions from each food group. Aim for a minimum of 3 different food group choices per meal.

Try this excellent recipe for crunchy granola wedges to fit in a good source of fiber to keep you full while on the go! These are a perfect option to make ahead of time and have ready in the mornings.

Crunchy Granola Wedges

Serves 8

All you need:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup cereal/grain of choice (wheat flakes, grape nuts, cheerios etc.)

1 cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts

1/2 cup honey

1 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit of choice)

Pinch of salt

All you do:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Spread oats, cereal, and seeds (or nuts) on a baking sheet. Bake until fragrant and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

3. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Cook 1/2 cup honey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, without stirring, until large foamy bubbles form and it starts to darken at the edges, 2 to 4 minutes. (The bubbles will start out small and increase to about 3/4 inch or larger when the honey is done).

4. Immediately pour the toasted oat mixture into the honey, add cranberries and salt and stir until completely coated. Quickly press the granola into the prepared pie pan using a heat-resistant spatula coated with cooking spray. Let cool for 30 minutes. Cut into wedges and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips & Notes:

Make Ahead Tip: Individually wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Nutrition per serving: 279 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g sat, 0 g trans, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 6 g protein

Source: Eating Well

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The information is not intended as medical advice.

Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Laura Schmidt is a registered dietitian representing Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community.

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