University of Illinois Extension

Food for Thought - University of Illinois Extension

Wake Up to a Healthy Start

Waking up is hard to do and it is especially difficult for "non-morning" people. But as sure as the sun is going to shine, breakfast will always be an important meal of the day for people of all ages.

Throughout the night, our bodies use up the food eaten the evening before. When we wake up, our bodies need a new supply of energy. Not eating can bring on feelings of weakness and hunger, often called "mid-morning slump."

Children and adults need about 50 nutrients daily for body growth, maintenance and repair. No single food contains all of these nutrients in the required amounts. A variety of foods from the five groups of the Food Guide Pyramid should be eaten every day.

A healthy breakfast should provide two servings from the Bread and Cereal Group, one or more servings from the Fruits or Vegetables Group and one serving from the Dairy Group. It might also include one from the Meat Group occasionally.

Quick Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast does not need to be limited to traditional "breakfast"foods. Many foods can be included in a nutritious breakfast. Try some of the following with a glass of milk for a quick nutritious breakfast:

  • Turkey or chicken sandwich with fruit
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat toast
  • Cornbread with applesauce
  • Tuna on toast and fruit
  • Grilled cheese and fruit
  • Macaroni and cheese with fruit or juice
  • Egg sandwich and fruit
  • Lowfat yogurt with fruit or granola
  • Cottage cheese with fruit
  • Celery stuffed with peanut butter
  • Frozen waffles, pancakes or French toast with applesauce topping
  • Try different breads such as: bagels, lowfat muffins, English muffins, pita bread, whole wheat bread or rolls
  • Use a variety of fruits in season; grapes, bananas, apples, kiwi, berries, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, melons

A good breakfast will get everyone in the family started off on the right foot.

Build a Good Breakfast

Have each member of your family plan a breakfast they would like to eat. Cut pictures from magazines or draw and color pictures of the foods they would like to have for breakfast. After everyone has planned their breakfast, talk about the foods they selected.

  • What food groups are included?
  • How many different food groups are included?
  • Will everyone in the family eat the breakfast planned?
  • Does the breakfast include at least one food from the Milk Group, the Cereal and Bread Group and the Fruit or Vegetable Group?
  • If not, what could be added to the breakfast to make it more complete?

As a family, select one breakfast to have some morning next week.

Surprise Muffins

1 1/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups corn flake cereal
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 cup preserves or jam

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside. Measure corn flake cereal into large mixing bowl. Stir in milk. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until cereal is softened. Add egg and shortening. Beat well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Divide batter evenly into 12 greased 2-1/2-inch muffin pan cups.

Make a deep indentation in top of batter for each muffin. Fill each with measuring-teaspoon of preserves. Bake at 400°F about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Breakfast Surprise Cereal*

2 cups cooked oatmeal
2 apples (1-1/2 cups), diced
3/4 cup nuts, chopped
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup honey or sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all ingredients in a lightly greased or sprayed casserole. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm with lowfat milk.

*Adapted from: Joanie Huggins, Out of the Sugar Rut.