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Teach Kids a Healthy Breakfast Habit

Family BreakfastKids who skip breakfast or just gulp a sugary cola have less energy and lower test scores, studies report. But they’re also on track for a higher body weight. And that, according to AICR Registered Dietitian Alice Bender, can set kids up for serious health problems – including cancer – down the road.

"Skipping breakfast is one of several unhealthy habits that put kids on track to becoming overweight or obese adults." says Bender. "And that means higher risk for chronic diseases like cancer.”

AICR’s expert report on cancer prevention and its updates have shown that carrying excess body fat increases risk for cancers of the breast (postmenopausal), colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, kidney, pancreas and gallbladder. Overweight kids are more likely to become overweight adults and have increased risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

But wait! You can protect your child from developing health problems and set them on a healthy track, starting with tomorrow morning’s breakfast.

If you get into the breakfast habit with them, it’s more likely they’ll eat breakfast, too. Healthy choices are important – just keep it simple: Whole-grain cereal with fruit and milk or plain instant oatmeal with raisins and yogurt take less than 5 minutes to put on the table.

Invite your kids to help you prepare healthy breakfasts on the weekend. Make extra whole-grain waffles or muffins on Sunday morning and freeze the leftovers for a quick meal later in the week. Visit the AICR’s Test Kitchen for more healthy recipes. Or try:

Five Quick and Healthy No-Cook Breakfast Ideas from AICR

  1. Whole-wheat pita bread stuffed with egg salad, a cluster of grapes or a small box of raisins.
  2. Whole-wheat mini-bagel spread with peanut butter and topped with apple slices and 1 cup milk.
  3. Breakfast smoothie (frozen peaches, yogurt or silken tofu, 100% juice) and whole-grain crackers.
  4. Breakfast fruit wrap – whole-wheat tortilla with ricotta cheese, a little fruit spread, sliced strawberries and chopped nuts.
  5. Breakfast Trail Mix (see recipe below) and reduced-sodium string cheese.

Breakfast Trail Mix

  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried apple pieces
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup oat circles
  • 1/2 cup bran cereal flakes

Put all the ingredients into big bowl. Stir well with wooden spoon. Divide into six equal amounts in small resealable plastic bags.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 210 calories, 12 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 24 g carbohydrate,
7 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 50 mg sodium.

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