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Barbara’s conducted a survey of more than 1000 parents to explore school morning breakfast habits of families across the nation. We found that parents are challenged to get their kids to eat a healthy breakfast every morning. We then partnered with Frances Largeman Roth, RDN, nutrition expert and mom of three, to provide Five Better Breakfast Tips to help parents give their kids the most nutritious breakfast possible, and ensure they actually eat this most important meal of the day. The tips include timesaving solutions for morning meal prep, nutritious shortcuts and more to help families set healthy morning breakfast habits. Below the tips you’ll also find an infographic with some of the key findings from our survey.
Mornings are hectic, especially at the beginning of the school year, before everyone has settled into their schedules. Barbara’s Breakfast Survey showed that approximately 20% of kids skip breakfast, with the most common reason being that mornings are busy and families run out of time. Make it clear to your kids that breakfast time needs to come before they turn on the TV or play with their phone. And packing backpacks the night before with folders, sports gear and other supplies will help shave time off the morning routine.
Barbara’s Breakfast Survey revealed that juice and cereal are the most common breakfast foodson school days:71% of children drink fruit juice and 95% of children eat cereal. Clearly, kids love juice and cereal but you can still help them make better choices. For example, 100% fruit juice rather than “drinks” or “blends” and lower sugar cereals like Barbara’s Puffins, which are also packed with whole grains.
Barbara’s Breakfast Survey found that 35% of parents said one of the biggest barriers to kids not eating healthier on school mornings is that kids don’t like the taste of “healthier” food. But studies show that kids like food that’s colorful, so take the opportunity to fit in an extra serving of antioxidant and vitamin C-rich fruit–and tempt their taste buds–byoffering brightly colored berries, diced apple and melon, or sliced grapes and kiwi fruit on the breakfast table. Fruit adds natural sweetness with no added sugar! And when fruit is cut up and easy to eat, kids are more likely to consume it.
Barbara’s Survey found that kids who eat on-the-go are more likely to have unhealthy breakfast habits – like drinking soda with breakfast or skipping the morning meal completely. Having a sit-down breakfast is much more doable if you do a little prep in advance. Set up the breakfast table the night before: Clear clutter, and set out bowls, spoons, and napkins. Then all you need to do in the morning is serve the food!
Some mornings just go haywire, no matter what. Whether it’s lost homework, a clogged toilet or a sick kid–don’t let it derail the day. While sitting down for breakfast is always the healthiest option, there are some days when you just have to grab and go! Being prepared with a healthy back up option is smart. I like to make extra whole grain pancakes on the weekend and freeze them for a rainy day. They can be reheated in the microwave and topped with almond or sunflower butter for extra protein.