NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Quick, Nutritious Breakfast

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science

You may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but never thought much more about it.  Our bodies are not given any nutrients from the time we go to bed to the time we wake up in the morning.  If we choose not to eat breakfast, or eat food with little to no nutritional value, our body does not have much to fuel it for the rest of the day or until we choose to eat. 

Research has shown that when we eat breakfast, we are more likely to reach our daily intake for calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin A and vitamin D.  We are also inclined to consume less fat, and eat more protein.  Breakfast is sounding like a better idea all of the time!

Because of our need to refuel our body at breakfast time, it is essential to fit food from as many food groups as you can.  This does not mean you have to over eat.  Instead, include a small portion from each group to gain the benefits of all five food groups.

Here are some great breakfast ideas that are quick, healthy and nutritious:

  • Cereal with sliced bananas and milk
  • Homemade cereal mix with whole-grain cereal, nuts, dried fruit and milk
  • Graham crackers with peanut butter, and a fruit and yogurt smoothie
  • Whole grain waffles with fresh strawberries, lean ham and low-fat milk
  • Oatmeal with raisins and low-fat milk
  • Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast, apple slices and low-fat milk
  • Scrambled eggs, whole-wheat toast, orange slices and low-fat milk
  • Scrambled eggs with salsa wrapped in tortillas, sliced peaches and low-fat milk


No matter what type of nutritious breakfast you try, just remember that variety is key.  Including foods from the fruit, vegetable, grain, protein, and dairy group make for a delicious, well balanced meal.  Here is a recipe for banana oatmeal pancakes with lentils.  A unique breakfast choice that includes foods from the grain, dairy, and fruit group.  Enjoy!

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes with Lentils


  • 1/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 cup old fashioned (large flake) oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt, low-fat
  • 3/4 cup milk, 1%
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or melted butter)
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 bananas, over-ripe mashed
  •   maple syrup (to serve with pancakes, optional)


Directions: In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook the lentils for 15-20 minutes, until soft. Drain well and set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients along with the banana and lentils, and stir until just combined.  Set a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and wipe it around with a paper towel to coat the bottom of the pan.  Cook about 1/2 a cup of batter at a time, spreading it out with the back of a spoon if needed (it will be thick). Cook for a couple of minutes, until bubbles begin to break through the surface and the bottom is golden. Keep the heat to medium, as these will take longer to cook through that most pancakes, and you do not want to burn the bottoms.  Flip with a thin spatula and cook until they are golden on the other side, and springy to the touch. Keep the pancakes warm on a rack set on a baking sheet in a 250°F oven while you finish cooking the rest.  Serve drizzled with maple syrup (optional).

Makes: 10 servings. 



  • NDSU Extension Service, Now Serving Breakfast, August 2016
  • Canadian Lentils. The Big Book of Lentils Cookbook.
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