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Straight-A students eat brain food for breakfast

FORT LEE, Va. � We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This meal's very name describes the important role it plays � breakfast breaks the fast you've endured all night while you slept. Traditional wisdom has been that you need to eat something for breakfast, even if most mornings find your house hectic and hurried, and even if you don't feel hungry. But, recent breakfast research demonstrates that what you eat matters just as much as the fact that you do eat.

A nutritious breakfast is defined as one containing complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and a small amount of fat. In real food terms, think whole-grain bread or cereal � the higher the fiber content the better; low-fat protein sources like boiled egg, peanut butter, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt or cheese; fresh fruits and vegetables or 100-percent juice without added sugar.

When kids have a breakfast built around these core areas they are able to concentrate better on the learning at hand. They're more alert and creative, have better problem-solving skills, improved hand-eye coordination, tend to be more physically active and miss fewer days of school. Wow! Does that sound like an ad for a wonder drug to you? It does to me, too. But, I believe it because I've seen the impact of a healthy breakfast on my own kids, and even experienced it myself.

The meal doesn't have to be anything terribly involved � microwave scrambled eggs, whole-grain toast and orange juice, sliced fresh fruit topped with yogurt and sprinkled with granola, or peanut butter and banana slices on a whole grain English muffin and a glass of milk are all balanced breakfast menus.

Cereal is also a favorite and can be very fast and easy, but not all cereals are created equal. Be sure to read the nutrition label and choose one that has at least 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving. Keep the amount of added sugar to 13 grams or less (that's a little more than 3 teaspoons), and if you're counting calories, choose one that has only about 120 calories per serving. Serving size is 1 cup of flakes or rounds, 1 1/4 cups puffed, 1/2 to 3/4 cup for dense granola type cereals, or 1/2 cup cooked cereal. Cereal bars are popular, too, because they're so portable, but check the nutrition label and choose only those that fit the above recommendations. Round out a cereal breakfast with whole-grain toast, fresh fruit or 100-percent juice.

This week's recipe collection has plenty of breakfast options to choose from. Check out the Mom's Egg McMuffin recipe for a faster and cheaper replica of the real thing. Each member of the family can make their own Omelet in a Mug, and they'll enjoy tailoring the ingredients to their individual tastes. Both the Oatmeal Sconuts and Whole Wheat Flax'n Apple Muffins are perfect for breakfast on the run � try to add a boiled egg and cup of milk to the menu if you can. The Everyday Granola is so good you'll want to eat it by the barrel, but keep the serving size small � it's dense so can be pretty high calorie.

To check out these recipes and more, come to Kay's Kitchen. As always, you'll save 30 percent or more on the ingredients for all of these recipes in your local commissary. Make breakfast at your house happy and healthy and watch those straight A's start rolling in!

Here is a delicious recipe for Oatmeal Sconuts that makes 13 sconuts. This is one smart mom's combination of scones and donuts all wrapped up in one good-for-you whole-grain breakfast treat. Even if your kids don't like oatmeal, they'll love it this way. If there are any leftovers, pop them into freezer-weight plastic bags and freeze for up to a month.

Oatmeal Sconuts

  • Ingredients

    • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut up
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1 large egg
    • Cinnamon sugar
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    2. In a food processor, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; pulse to blend.
    3. Add butter; pulse until coarse crumbs form.
    4. In a cup, beat buttermilk and egg. With the food processor running, add egg mixture and pulse until a dough forms.
    5. Scoop dough by 1/4 cups onto cookie sheet. Flatten each mound into a 2 1/2-inch round. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
    6. Bake 15 to 17 minutes or until golden on bottoms.
  • Nutrition Facts per Muffin:
    • calories: 235
    • fat: 9 g (5 g. sat. fat)
    • cholesterol: 37 mg
    • carbohydrates: 34 g
    • sodium: 315 mg
    • fiber: 2 g
    • protein: 5 g

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings amounting to thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

Media Contact:
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773

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