Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian

August 22, 2020

Back to school looks different this year. Students may be going back to the school building with new routines, other students are continuing online learning at home, and some may be doing a mixture of both. Regardless of the environment, two things about back to school has not changed: Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day, and parents need solutions that are quick, easy and nutritious. Research shows that kids who eat a balanced breakfast have better memory and attention throughout the day, enhancing their ability to learn, whatever the environment.

What are the components of a balanced breakfast? For any meal to be balanced, there should be a combination of high-fiber carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. The combination of these nutrients gives both quick and long-lasting energy, and promotes prolonged satiety, keeping your student full and focused until lunch. Examples of high-fiber carbohydrates are fruits and whole-grain products (including oats). Incorporating vegetables into breakfast will provide additional fiber, further prolonging satiety. Healthy fats include avocados (which are a source of fiber as well), nuts and seeds. Common sources of protein at breakfast also include nuts and seeds, along with eggs, cheese and lean breakfast meats.

How can all of these nutrients be combined in a quick and easy fashion? Planning ahead. Making sure all of the essential ingredients are on hand for filling, nutritious breakfast recipes is just as important as lunch or dinner. Overnight oats, for example, can be made 2 to 3 days ahead of time and are a nutritious, complete breakfast that requires no effort in the morning. Whole-wheat waffles or pancakes can be made on the weekend, frozen and easily reheated as needed throughout the week. Egg muffin cups can also be made ahead of time, refrigerated or frozen, and quickly reheated for a fast and balanced breakfast.

Need more fun breakfast ideas? Try out these Sheet Pan Pancakes from our August edition of Seasons magazine! Top with peanut butter, or serve with a scrambled egg or turkey sausage for a protein boost. This recipe can also be made ahead of time, cut into squares and frozen. Later in the week, just reheat and eat!

Sheet Pan Pancakes
Serves 12 Adapted from Seasons magazine (August 2020)

All You Need:
Hy-Vee nonstick cooking spray
14 Hy-Vee cinnamon graham crackers
4 cups Hy-Vee whole-wheat pancake and waffle mix
2 2/3 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup fresh blueberries, divided
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries, divided
3 peaches, pitted and sliced, divided
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
¼ cup Hy-Vee light pancake & waffle syrup, plus additional for serving
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Ground cinnamon, for garnish

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with graham crackers; set aside.
  2. Whisk together pancake mix, water, vanilla and nutmeg. Pour batter over graham crackers. Sprinkle with ½ cup blueberries, 1 cup chopped strawberries, 1½ sliced peaches and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with light pancake syrup.
  3. Bake 13-15 minutes or until golden brown; cool slightly. Top with remaining fruit; sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon, if desired. Serve with additional syrup.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.