Why Breakfast Matters
You've heard it before, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." The truth is, eating regular, moderately sized meals is important to provide adequate energy for both adults and children whose growing bodies and expanding minds need these nutrients. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breakfast for young children and teenagers to improve concentration and energy levels while in school. To make it easy on the whole family, plan ahead for simple, easily prepared breakfast meals. A general rule of thumb is to have meals consist of three food groups and snacks consist of two food groups. For example, breakfast could include whole grain toast with peanut butter and a glass of milk, or a bowl of multi-grain cereal with lowfat milk and berries on top. **USDA Requirements for School Breakfast** Here are some guidelines you also can follow at home in your own kitchen to make sure children are getting the proper dietary requirements in their breakfast. - A daily serving of fruit with no added sugar : No more than 1/2 of the weekly fruits should be in the form of full-strength juice - All grains should be whole grains (e.g., 100% whole wheat bread, not white bread) - No trans fats : Read labels and avoid foods with ingredients that say "partially hydrogenated" - Limit saturated fats : Saturated fats typically are found in animal products like meat and full-fat dairy products.