University of Illinois Extension

Wake Up to a Healthy Start

Barb Farner, Nutrition and Wellness Educator

Waking up is hard to do, especially 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, or the "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. We need to eat a variety of foods from the Food Guide Pyramid.

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. Breakfast can also occasionally include one serving from the Meat Group.

Breakfast doesn't need to be limited to traditional "breakfast" foods. Many foods can be included in a nutritious breakfast. Try some of these foods with a glass of milk for a quick morning meal:

  • Turkey or chicken sandwich with fruit
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat toast
  • Cornbread with applesauce
  • Tuna on toast with fruit
  • Grilled cheese and fruit
  • Macaroni and cheese with fruit or juice
  • Egg sandwich and fruit
  • Low-fat 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 kinds of bread such as bagels, low-fat muffins, English muffins, pita bread, whole wheat bread, or rolls.

Use a variety of fruits when they're in season ­ grapes, bananas, apples, kiwi, berries, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, and melons are quick and easy breakfast foods.