Kids are returning to school, and I don’t know about your household but I know mine can be hectic in the morning. Not only do I have to get myself ready for work, but I also have to make sure my children are clean, fully dressed, finish any homework, notebooks are signed, backpacks are packed and have everything else they need to head out the door.

The everything else is sometimes the tricky part. The everything else includes making sure they have had a good night sleep for their little bodies to be rejuvenated. Eating breakfast should be a priority before starting the day at school. A good breakfast fuels you up after going without food for 8 to 12 hours during sleep. They have more energy, do better in school, are less irritable, and more alert.

Many studies have shown that kids who eat breakfast are more likely to get whole grains, protein, calcium, and other important nutrients. Since breakfast would add to everything else at our house, we send our children to school for breakfast. They receive fruit, whole grains, protein and milk. If you have time to serve breakfast at home, then you may want to try a couple simple recipes that include eggs and whole grains. You can also use some of those super food zucchinis growing in your garden. These items can be prepared ahead of time and warmed up in the morning.

Eggs are okay again. One egg carries around 70 calories and has 6 grams of protein. The yolk contains a good source of lutein, a vitamin found in spinach and zucchini that helps prevent eye diseases. We like to add turmeric to our egg dishes. Many high quality studies show that turmeric has major benefits for your body and brain. You also want to include whole grains into your morning breakfast routine. They have good sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole-wheat flour in bread.

Easy Breakfast Casserole Muffins

Serves: 12 muffins

3 to 4 pieces whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces (enough to fill muffin tins almost to top)

Pico de gallo with black beans

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

8 eggs

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon ground tumeric

½ teaspoon ground pepper (or more or less to taste)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffins tins well.

2. Drop bread pieces evenly in muffin tins until they come about ⅔ of the way up the tin.

3. Sprinkle Pico de gallo with black beans in each tin.

4. Sprinkle cheese evenly in each tin.

5. Whisk together eggs, milk, ground tumeric, and pepper.

6. Pour egg mixture evenly in each muffin tin.

7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through the middle.

— Recipe adapted from Thriving Home

Zucchini Pancakes

Serves 4

1 cup of whole grain flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

1 cup of milk

2 eggs

3 Tbsp butter, melted

2 Tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup of grated zucchini

chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

preheat a griddle or skillet over medium heat

whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt

in a separate bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, butter, honey, and vanilla

pour wet ingredients over the dry and stir just to combine (will be lumps)

gently fold in the zucchini

spoon ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle (add chocolate chips if using)

when bubbles begin to appear on the pancake tops flip carefully and cook until the undersides are golden brown

serve immediately topped with butter and syrup

pancakes can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven while you finish the batch

— Recipe from Well Floured.com

Jennifer Walters is the school nutrition director for the Winona Area Public Schools.

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