Building Back to School Basics: Breakfast

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Research literature points to the relationship between eating breakfast and the positive effect on academic performance in children and adolescents. When key macronutrients and micronutrients are missing in the daily diet, an empty stomach can make it hard for one to focus and learn as there is inadequate energy intake available to fuel their bodies. No Kid Hungry website points to research that says kids who eat breakfast are more focused, score higher on tests, and miss fewer days of school.

If your child or adolescent does not receive breakfast at school, there is a great resource available to help parents/caregivers make good nutrition an easy choice. USDA MyPlate can help you visualize and create healthy, balanced breakfast meals. When deciding on a recipe, look for one that incorporates whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and dairy. A healthy diet is essential at every life stage to provide enough nutrition to support the brain and body. Those brains are hard at work in the classroom and we want to ensure they are properly fueled in the mornings to jump start their day for success.

Ideas for Building Back to School Basics: Breakfast


fresh fruit (oranges, berries, melon, bananas, etc.), fruit cups in 100% juice, unsweetened applesauce cups or pouches


tomatoes, avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots

Whole Grains:

 whole grain oats, whole grain bread, wheat English muffins, whole grain cereals,


greek yogurt (with less added sugar), eggs, nut butter, chia/flax seeds


cottage cheese, cheese sticks, cheese slices, greek yogurt (with less added sugar), milk

From this list, visualize how you could mix and match to build a MyPlate Breakfast meal. This could be making smoothies, quiches, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal bowls, or buildable toast. Foods that are high in added sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats are ones we want to limit for breakfast. It is important to read the nutrition facts label found on the back of the item if choosing packaged foods for your breakfast! The more you know, the more you can control!

Grow healthy habits by allowing adolescents and children to make decisions on their nutrition and see what they could build for their breakfast. Have picky eaters? Finds ways to hide the “undesired” food item into recipes they are more familiar with. Try out the recipe below that adds a protein source to a traditional breakfast item in an uncommon way!

Cottage Cheese Blueberry Pancakes:

The recipe comes from the American Heart Association

Serves: 4


2 large Eggs

¾ cup low-fat, Cottage Cheese

½ cup low-fat Milk

1 cup Whole-Wheat Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 teaspoons Sugar

12 ounces Frozen Blueberries (with liquid), thawed

Cooking Spray


In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, and milk

In a larger bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and sugar. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

Gently fold the thawed blueberries with their liquid into the batter.

Lightly spray a griddle or skillet with cooking spray. Ladle ¼ cup of batter onto the medium-high heat surface and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and fairly firm.

Repeat until all the batter has been used.

Have leftover pancakes? Pop them in the refrigerator and reheat them the next day.

N.C. Cooperative Extension’s goal is to provide the residents of the community with research-based knowledge. For more information on nutrition, health, food preservation, and food safety in Lee County please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Ashley Szilvay at 919-775-5624.