Whether in-person, online, or a mix of both, it is back-to-school season, and this year is sure to be more stressful than most. To ease the hectic demands of COVID-19 learning, Anne-Marie Davee, M.S., RDN, LD, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Nutrition within the University of New England’s Westbrook College of Health Professions, recommends a healthy breakfast that touches on several food groups for balanced nutrition.
Davee recently spoke to the Bangor Daily News about the importance of breakfast, its impact on academic performance, and how to stock the pantry to ensure a brain-boosting morning meal.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as the body has usually gone through the night without nourishment,” she told reporter Sam Schipani. “Research has demonstrated repeatedly that children who eat breakfast perform better academically and have improved classroom behaviors.”
Davee recommended composing breakfasts that include a mix of whole grains, fruits or vegetables, and some sort of protein.
“This ensures that [breakfast is] raising your energy level and also giving you some sustenance to get you through to lunchtime,” she said. “Those three food groups are really important.”
Davee suggested people stock their pantries with items like whole grain cereals and breads, granola, nuts, dried fruits, natural peanut butter, and avocados. Stock the refrigerator with low-fat milk or plant-based milk substitutes, low-fat or Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and shredded cheese, Davee said, and keep berries and other fruits on hand in the freezer.
To help make breakfast even easier, Davee also suggested weekly menu planning with rotating meals that can be prepared quickly, like peanut butter and banana roll-ups with whole wheat tortillas or varying fruit smoothies for grab-and-go convenience. She also recommended meal-prepping in advance by storing pre-cut fruits and vegetables and pre-portioned meals in the refrigerator/freezer.