How to start ...

How to start your child’s day off right

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We always hear “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and that couldn’t be more true according to Mary Bamford, Registered Dietitian.

Growing children need to eat a healthy well-balanced breakfast in order to kick-start their day. Here are some of Bamford’s tips for making sure you child is getting all the nutrients they need for breakfast:

1) Include at least 3-4 food groups from Canada’s Food Guide (Vegetables and Fruits, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, Meat and Alternatives)

2) Some kids prefer a snack first thing and more of their food midmorning. Both methods are appropriate as they start with something nutrient dense before leaving home.

3) Breakfast and morning snack should provide at least 1/3 of the days calories.

4) If breakfast is smaller than dinner and evening snack, it is time to reduce evening eating and increase morning eating.

5) For young children half portions are appropriate, full portions for teens. Remember to keep balance, just because your child really likes grains does not justify an extra large portion of grains at the expense of fruit and protein rich foods.

Trying to combine 3 to 4 food groups may seem like a daunting task for most parents. However, Bamford has suggested some great “combination dishes” that will get your kids eating different food groups at breakfast. 

Quick and easy breakfast suggestions:

1) Breakfast Pizza–Whole grain english muffin with tomato paste and skim milk mozzarella.  Left plain or topped with more veggies or leftover chicken

2) Scramble egg wrap to go–whole grain wrap with scramble egg as the basic.  Add sauteed vegetables or fresh tomato.  Add skim milk cheese per your child’s preferences

3) Peanut butter and banana wrap with raisins.  For a treat once a week, allow as many chocolate chips as your child is years old.

4) Ants on a log (celery stuffed with peanut butter and topped with raisins) and yogurt.

5) Oatmeal made with milk.  Flavoured with cinnamon, nuts, and any fruit–dry or fresh.  Allow up to 1 teaspoon of brown sugar or maple syrup per 1/4 cup of dry cereal.  Some kids like crunchy nuts and some like creamy nut butters in their oatmeal–peanut and almond are inexpensive choices.  As a treat buy hazelnut butter occasionally and make homemade hazelnut and chocolate combination with wholesome ingredients–the real nut butter and some chocolate chips.

6) Cold 100% whole grain cereal with 1/2 cup of milk, cinnamon, slivered almonds, large banana and a hard boiled egg on the side (or at snack).

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