FOOD & HEALTH — Breakfast — Don’t Leave Home Without It!

(Photo © Latino Life via
(Photo © Latino Life via

By Natalie Sehi, MS, RD, UNL Department of Nutrition & Health Sciences

September is National Breakfast Month and many of us are just getting back into the swing of the school year. Many families are on the go and schedules are hectic, but it is important to remember breakfast. When possible, do not leave home without it (whether you eat it quick at home, or take it with you for a little later in the morning).

We have all heard it before; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is true for many reasons, but studies have shown students (and adults) who eat a healthy breakfast are better able to focus throughout the day, are less likely to be absent and have more energy throughout the day. For students in school, breakfast can improve test scores and decrease behavior problems. Did you know that in 2015, only 1 in 3 students reported they ate breakfast every day during the past seven days, while close to 1 in 8 students reported never eating breakfast during the same time period?

Eating breakfast first thing in the morning, before school or leaving for the day for work can be a challenge. At my house, breakfast needs to be quick. The goal for breakfast is to include at least three foods groups. One of the most popular breakfast meals at my house is pancakes. They are easy to prepare and can be topped with many different fruits/toppings to meet you/your family’s tastes.

In addition, leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated in the microwave or toaster for a quick breakfast or snack. They can also be used as a part of a breakfast sandwich/wrap. Top a pancake with peanut butter and wrap it around a banana … I like to add cinnamon too. If pancakes are not your thing, other quick breakfast ideas that include three food groups are listed below. Adding a fruit or veggie to your breakfast is a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet.

• Yogurt parfait (layer yogurt, fruit, nuts, and/or granola).
• Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a piece of fruit.
• Egg and cheese sandwich.
• Oatmeal topped with fruit and nuts.
• Crackers and cheese with a piece of fruit.
• Granola bar, banana and milk.
• Frozen waffles or pancakes topped with peanut butter and fruit.
• Scrambled eggs wrapped in a tortilla and topped with cheese.
• Egg sandwich with spinach and cheese.

1. USDA’s Choose MyPlate;
2. State of Nebraska 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results;