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Don’t skip this important meal

What’s the “most important meal of the day?” More than likely you are thinking “breakfast.” If so, give yourself a pat on the back and be sure to enjoy some healthful food for breakfast.

Eating breakfast                    has big benefits

After sleeping several hours, our bodies need to “break the fast.” Eating breakfast fuels the body and brain for work or school work. Children and adults who eat breakfast are able to concentrate and do better on their schoolwork and work.

Eating breakfast helps with weight management. People who skip breakfast more than make up for the calories later in the day.

Time-saving tips

Breakfast doesn’t have to be fancy. Set your alarm clock to allow 15 minutes to eat, and try these tips to streamline hectic mornings:

* Set out cereal, bowls, spoons and glasses before bedtime. In the morning, fill bowls and add calcium-rich, fat-free milk and sliced bananas or other fruit to your cereal.

* For a heartier breakfast, such as homemade pancakes, waffles or muffins; mix the dry ingredients the night before. Mix the wet ingredients — such as buttermilk and eggs — and store in the refrigerator. In the morning, mix together and cook.

Quick and easy ideas

Try to include three different food groups as you choose your morning meal. Including some protein — egg, milk and yogurt — helps keep you full longer.

Try these quick and easy ideas:

* scrambled egg with cheese, whole-wheat toast, orange juice

* breakfast burrito made with a whole-wheat tortilla, scrambled egg, salsa

* yogurt parfait (layers of vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit topped with crunchy cereal)

* breakfast cereal bar and milk

Learn how to create an omelet using the “Pinchin’Pennies in the Kitchen” publication available at

Check it out

If you have children, check whether the School Breakfast Program might be offered in your school district. Many families qualify for free or reduced rates.

Tips for choosing                  breakfast cereal

Question: Buying cereal is kind of confusing. I know some cereals have lots of added sugars. Do you have any tips for choosing breakfast cereal?

Be a label reader and compare prices and nutrition. Lower-priced generic cereal can be just as nutritious as name-brand cereals. Choose fiber-rich, whole-grain, hot-and-cold cereals without a lot of added sweeteners. Oatmeal and Cheerios are examples of whole-grain cereals. Compare amounts of “sugars” on the “Nutrition Facts” labels. Some cereals are more like candy than breakfast food. Choose the whole-grain cereal with the lowest amount of sugar per serving.

Many nutrition experts recommend less than two teaspoons of sugar — 8 grams — per one-ounce serving. Sugar contributes only calories.

After you eat your cereal, consume the milk in the bowl. Vitamins and minerals often are sprayed on the cereal, so they may end up in the milk. Milk is a good source of calcium and protein, too.

Excerpted from ter-postings.

For more information on this topic, contact Luella Morehouse, EFNEP/FNP education assistant, North Dakota State University Extension Service Stutsman County, 116 1/2 1st St. E, Jamestown, ND, 252-9030 or