Toi Degree: Tips for a healthy breakfast

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 18, 2023

By Toi Degree
N.C. Cooperative Extension

Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day by many people. While breakfast can be healthy without being hot, the colder days of February are a great time to enjoy a hot breakfast.

Breakfast literally means “break the fast” after not eating since the night before. People who eat breakfast usually perform better in school and on the job. And for the record, breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated or made the same day it is consumed.

Because mornings can be busy, making time for breakfast is a priority, especially for children and teens. Eating within one to two hours of getting up in the morning helps to break the fast from the night before and sets children and teens up for success throughout the day. Ideally, a breakfast meal includes foods from at least three food groups (protein or dairy, a fruit or vegetable, and grain, most often being a whole grain) from MyPlate and is low in added sugars, salt, and saturated fat. Here are a few tips:

  • If a sit-down breakfast doesn’t work for your family, have granola bars, cheese sticks, yogurt and fruit in an easy-to-grab place for family members to take with them on their way out the door.
  • Everything you eat and drink matters. Choose foods and drinks that can help your family be healthier now and as they grow.
  • Choose whole grains. For example, choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals fortified with folic acid. If your family enjoys sweetened cereals, try mixing them half and half with whole grain cereal. Add fruit, such as peaches, blueberries or strawberries for extra nutrients. Top with low-fat/fat-free milk.
  • If eating breakfast at a restaurant, read and compare the nutrition information. Choose options lower in calories, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium.

In addition to the items that have been given here are other breakfast options — oatmeal, mini quiche cups, egg burritos, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, and/or egg & cheese muffins. All can be made ahead and reheated quickly to make breakfast easy, nutritious and give you a great start to the day.

For those of you that are starting to make breakfast a daily habit, here is a list of sites where you can look for recipes. These should give you a great start, and then you can alternate so that you don’t become bored with the same breakfast each week. Also, consider overnight oats for the summer. I didn’t think I would like them but when my trainer put them on my meal plan for the week, I was pleasantly surprised. And, I have come to like oatmeal much better.

So, just give it a try; you might find that you enjoy it. Meal prep also makes it easy. You can make Saturday your prep day and make sandwiches or mini quiches and even chop and portion out your items for each day. This makes cook time so much shorter. The more organized you are, the easy and smoother your mornings will go.

Recipe list:




Toi N. Degree, Family & Consumer Education Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension.  Toi may be reached by phone at 704-216-8970 or by email at

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