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Breakfast important for children

August 9, 2011

Many of us make excuses as to why we don’t eat breakfast, such as “I’m running late.” “I don’t have the time,” “I need a few more minutes of sleep,” “I’ll just have a cup of coffee,” But as a parent, your behavior impacts on your children. This is one behavior you may need to rethink, because a nutritious breakfast is essential for the growth and development of your children.
Children are continuously growing and changing every day. A nutritious breakfast provides the fuel (nutrients) the body needs for children to ensure a sustained release of energy and a delayed onset of hunger. Eating breakfast also improves the intake of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, especially iron and vitamin C.
Studies have shown that eating breakfast gives children the nutritional boost they need to get the learning process going and to stimulate learning. There are other benefits as well, such as help keep a healthy body weight and helps children feel good. Children who eat breakfast learn better, achieve more, participate in the class more often, behave better, attend school more often and visit the school nurse less often.
Are you still asking why breakfast? Perhaps not. Your next question may be how can I make breakfast successful? Eat breakfast yourself. Showing teaches more than simply telling. Your child will follow what you do. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Try to manage your early morning time. You may want to start making breakfast the night before. You might mix juice, slice fruit, or make hard cooked eggs. Stock your kitchen with quick-to-fix breakfast foods.
Consider your child’s needs. Offer more than one choice for breakfast. Give your child time to wake up. Many children aren’t hungry right away. Rushing puts pressure on breakfast eating. If you don’t have much time to make breakfast, try ready to eat cereal with fruit, peanut butter on whole-wheat toast, instant oatmeal with applesauce or a yogurt cup. And on the mornings when you are not rushing, ask your child to help with breakfast. It can be a nice way to start your child’s day.
The evidence is clear - eating breakfast, whether it’s eaten at home or at school - leads to better health, learning, and behavior - all keys to success at school - and in life.
Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup fat-free milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon margarine
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour, divided
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
1/3 cup “measure-like-sugar” brown sugar calorie-free sweetener
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons “Measure-like-sugar” calorie-free sweetener
2 tablespoon fat-free milk

* Heat 1 cup milk over medium-high heat in a heavy saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; add 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon margarine; stir until margarine melts. Cool to 105° to 115°.
* Combine yeast and warm water, let stand 5 minutes. Combine milk mixture, yeast mixture, egg, and salt in a large bowl; stir well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Gradually stir in 3 3/4 cups flour to make a soft dough.
* Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep dough from sticking to surface. Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.
* Punch dough down. Turn out onto a floured surface; roll into a 20 x 8 – inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted margarine. Combine brown sugar sweetener and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough.
* Roll up dough, starting at long side, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends).
* Cut into 20 (1-inch) slices, using clean dental floss. Place slices in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake at 350° for 22 minutes or until done.
* Combine sweetener substitute and 2 tablespoons milk; stir well. Drizzle over warm rolls. Yield: 20 rolls.
Per Roll:
Calories 135; Fiber 0.2g Fat 2.5g; Cholesterol 11mg; Protein 4.2g; Sodium 152mg; Carbohydrate 23.9g; Exchanges 1 1/2 Starch, 1/2 fat.

Pam Redwine is a nutrition and food safety agent with the MSU Extension Service.

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