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Plan Better Breakfasts

Allison Benson, R.D., L.R.D., NDSU Extension Service program assistant

As school starts and schedules get busier, now’s the time to think about the most important meal of the day: breakfast.

September is Better Breakfast Month. Research has shown that breakfast can lead to reduced hunger and more energy throughout the day. Additionally, breakfast eaters are less likely to be overweight and/or obese. However, what you eat for breakfast is important.

Breakfast is a time to fit in additional nutrients that many Americans lack, such as fiber, iron, folate and calcium. Oatmeal, whole-wheat bread or whole-wheat muffins can increase your fiber intake. Meeting fiber recommendations can help regulate bowel movements and may help with weight loss or weight maintenance.

Iron is a component of hemoglobin that helps carry oxygen in the blood. To increase iron consumption, incorporate eggs, spinach, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified bread or fortified instant oatmeal into your morning routine. Drinking orange juice, which contains vitamin C, with iron-rich foods can help increase iron absorption.

Folate is a nutrient that is especially important for women of child-bearing age. Getting enough folate can help with normal fetal development and cell and tissue growth. Breads, instant oatmeal and breakfast cereals with the word “enriched” on the label have folic acid added to them. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, orange juice, pineapple juice, eggs and peanut butter are additional sources of folate that can be incorporated into any breakfast meal.

Breakfast foods high in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese and calcium-fortified products such as orange juice, breakfast cereals and soy milk. Calcium is important for bone and teeth health, and muscle, nerve and hormone function.

If you don’t have time to sit around the table for breakfast, you still have healthful options. Egg muffins, whole-grain fruit and nut muffins, smoothies, overnight oats, homemade breakfast sandwiches and whole or packaged fruit are good picks for breakfast on the go.

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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