By Chris Griffy
With the school year beginning anew, many parents are once again faced with a delicate balancing act. How do you prepare breakfast for your kids that are quick enough to fit into the morning rush, tasty enough to be welcome, but healthy enough to provide the balance of nutrition needed to get them through the day? Rather than throw some scientifically suspicious “life hacks” out there, we decided to interview an expert in the field to get some truly pro tips.
Northside Professional Center
993-D Johnson Ferry Road. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30342
Bailey Koch deals with the kinds of questions posed above on a daily basis. As a Registered Dietician with a board certification as a specialist in Pediatric Nutrition, she handles not only children with dietary restrictions or allergies, but also adolescent weight management. Since 2008, Bailey has run the Atlanta Pediatric Nutrition Center after spending time at Northside Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. She is the co-author of the book “500 Baby and Toddler Dishes: Nutritious Make-Ahead Meals for Baby’s First Foods and Beyond.”
Tip 1: Timing is Critical To Portion Control
Remember when your granny told you breakfast was the most important meal of the day? Well, grandma might have known a thing or two. Bailey says one of the most important keys to portion control and self-regulation is timing. “Children should ideally eat within an hour of waking up, and then every 3-4 hours during the day.”
Tip 2: Protein + Fiber = A Filling Breakfast
Bailey’s top recommendation for meal planning is pairing. “Always pair a protein source with a good fiber source. For breakfast, you need at least three. I recommend breaking it down like this:
1-2 protein sources + 1-2 fiber sources. I also like to have parents look on their grains for the fiber and protein content. Both of these are filling and when you pair them together, they are even more filling. Look for 3+ grams fiber per serving and 4-5+ grams protein per serving in cereals, breads, waffles, etc.
Tip 3: Easy Meals Using The Protein-Fiber Pairings
Bailey sent along some meal examples and how they would fit into her pairings model.
- 1 piece of high fiber/protein toast with peanut butter. An optional flavor and nutrition add would be sliced banana.
- Nutrigrain waffles (high in fiber but not protein) + turkey sausage + fruit
Here is the difference between a bowl of cereal that is just high in fiber and once that is high in fiber and high in protein:
1 serving Cheerios + 1% milk + ½ banana +boiled egg (fiber, protein, fiber, protein)
1 serving of Kashi cereal + 1% milk + ½ banana (fiber/protein, protein, fiber)”
Tip 4: Plan And Make-Ahead For Quick And Nutritious Meals
Bailey stresses that planning ahead is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure that fast meal is still a nutritious one. “It helps if families will plan ahead and sit out their choices every evening for the following morning.” For her own meals, she plans a week at a time. “I will boil and peel eggs at the beginning of the week so that in the a.m. when I am running out the door, I can grab a boiled egg, apple and heat some quick turkey sausage in the microwave to eat in the car on my commute. Another quick breakfast for me would be a protein bar with a boiled egg. I always aim for three plus grams fiber per serving and 10 plus grams protein per serving on a protein bar.”