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— Studies show breakfast makes better students, according to Dr. Rosemary Rodibaugh, extension nutrition specialist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

A study by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Medical School in 1998 found that children who eat breakfast showed significant gains in math scores, decreased rates of tardiness and fewer discipline problems when compared with three control schools.

Breakfast also has a positive effect on a child’s body mass index - an indicator of obesity.

“A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that children who eat breakfast tend to have lower BMI than children who skip breakfast,” she said. The study also found that “children who skipped breakfast showed an increase in BMI as they grew older, indicating there are long term, negative effects from making a habit of skipping breakfast.”

Rodibaugh said children who skip breakfast usually don’t make up for the lost nutrients during other meals. Instead “they snack on low-nutrient, high-fatfoods” which compounds diet-related health issues.

For most families, time pressure is the chief reason for skipping breakfast.

Rodibaugh said families have a couple of options: the School Breakfast Program, which is widely available at Arkansas’ public schools or some fast prep foods.

“Breakfast on the run can include something as simple as peanut butter toast made from whole grain bread and 100 percent juice or low-fat milk in a travel cup,” she said.

Other quick options:

Bake up a make-ahead omelet by mixing eggs, cheese, veggies or other add-ins and pour into a muffin pan sprayed with oil. Bake at 375 degrees until a knife inserted comes out clean - around 15-20 minutes. When done, the omelets can be frozen and reheated and popped into a pita or other breakfast bread.

Yogurt and granola are an easy, portable choice.

Cold cereal works with m ilk or as a snack dry.

“When parents take the time to eat with their children, modeling good breakfast habits, children tend to carry that good habit forward,” Rodibaugh said.

Lunch Menus

Week of Dec. 7 - 11

Breakfast, Pre-K - 12th

Monday: Bagel w/cream cheese, milk, fruit juice.

Tuesday: French toast bites, milk, fruit juice.

Wednesday: Biscuit & gravy, sausage patty, milk, fruit juice.

Thursday: Scrambled eggs, sausage and toast, milk, fruit juice.

Friday: Cereal, toast & jelly, milk, fruit juice.

Lunch, Pre-K - 12th

Monday: Sloppy joe on bun, baked potato chips, raw broccoli w/dip, pineapple pleasure, milk.

Tuesday: Nachos w/ ground beef, lettuce, tomato & salsa, refried beans, merry berry cake, milk.

Wednesday: Turkey roast w/brown gravy, quick baked potato, green beans,roll, frozen fruit bar, milk.

Thursday: Lasagna, green beans, Italian breadstick, strawberry gelatin, milk.

Friday: Hoagie sandwich, sandwich salad cup, pretzels, fresh fruit, oatmeal raisin cookie, milk.

News, Pages 8 on 12/02/2009

Print Headline: Importance Of Breakfast Stressed By Nutritionist

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