Making Breakfast a Priority: Ask the Experts from Brenner FIT

Written by Melissa Moses, MS, RD, LDN

Dear Brenner FIT,

I've heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But there's no time in the morning to cook! I can barely get my kids to take a granola bar on their way to the bus stop. Please help me make breakfast a priority in my family!


Frazzled Mom


Dear Frazzled Mom,

You're not alone! Lots of families struggle with eating breakfast. However, with a few small changes in your routine, you can make breakfast a priority for your family.

Research shows that people who don't eat breakfast tend to overeat at their next meal and through the day. When you skip breakfast, you tend to graze and choose higher fat, higher calorie foods. Not eating in the morning causes your metabolism to slow down and makes it harder for you to stay at a healthy weight. Breakfast gives your body the energy and nutrients to be healthy.

Planning ahead can help you make breakfast a priority. Wake up just a few minutes earlier so you have time to make breakfast. I know this may be hard, but it will be worth it!

Start small. Eat a banana or drink a glass of milk. Breakfast does not have to be fancy. Finding just a few minutes to sit down for breakfast may encourage others to join you at the table. If it seems impossible to sit together, send the kids out the door with a grab-and-go option. A granola bar or cheese stick is better than no breakfast at all! Some people don't eat breakfast because they don't feel hungry. Starting to eat something small will train your body to be hungry.

Once you get into the habit of eating in the morning, you'll probably want to add more variety. At Brenner FIT, we encourage families to have at least three food groups for breakfast. This can be as simple as adding a fruit to what you eat right now. By having three food groups for breakfast, your family will feel more satisfied. Also, including higher fiber foods (three grams or more of fiber per serving) will help everyone feel fuller.

Try cereal with milk and fruit. Or, maybe serve deli meat wrapped in a high-fiber tortilla with canned fruit. A grab-and-go breakfast can be a granola bar, string cheese and grapes.

Have your family help you create your grocery list! Pick a food from each column to create a balanced breakfast.

Grain Choices Fruit or Veggies Protein Choices
Cereal Apple String cheese 
Crackers Applesauce Sliced or cubed cheese
Oatmeal Canned fruit Cottage cheese
Bread/toast Grapes Cream cheese
Tortillas Banana Eggs or egg substitute
Mini bagels Orange Yogurt
Granola bars Clementine Milk
English muffins Melon Deli meat
Waffles Raisins Peanut butter
Pita bread Craisins Nuts
  Carrots Hummus
  Cucumber Sausage
  Celery Bacon
  Spinach Canadian bacon
  Bell pepper  

Provided by staff who are part of Brenner FIT (Families in Training). Brenner FIT® is a pediatric weight management program at Brenner Children's that helps families create healthier lifestyles together. Brenner FIT offers free cooking, nutrition and parenting classes.