A meal to go with the flow

SIPS

Drinking breakfast can be a good idea

October 02, 2002|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Yes, we know. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for kids heading off for school. Muscles work better when they're well-fueled, and so do brain cells.

Yet in many households, those early-morning hours are much too hectic for a proper, sit-down breakfast. So here's a suggestion: Drink it.

Even when there's no time to stop and eat, it's easy to sip something. There's always milk, of course. But there are also plenty of other simple beverages that can fortify young minds for some productive work.

In their useful book, Superfoods for Children (Dorling Kindersley Ltd., 2001, $14.95), Michael van Straten and Barbara Griggs note that kids need good nutrition to get through the school day. If the nutritional demands are not met, they say, "Children will find it difficult to learn, remember and pay attention."

Productive days in school come a lot easier when students have a good breakfast rather than one loaded with sugar and empty calories.

It's easy to whip up a breakfast drink that is filled with nutrition and appealing to kids. Many smoothies would fit the bill, such as plain yogurt, a banana and some orange juice. But you can also take a basic smoothie or breakfast shake and boost the nutritional value with a couple of small additions.

Marie DeMarco, a licensed dietitian who practices in Lutherville, cautions against giving young children things like protein powder. Particularly in very young children, the kidneys are not mature enough to process a high-protein diet.

She suggests boosting smoothies or shakes with a tablespoon of nonfat dry milk, which provides some protein along with calcium and other minerals.

Van Straten and Griggs also have their own suggestions for boosting nutritional content, such as a couple of teaspoons of brewer's yeast or wheat germ. Replacing sugar with honey is another good way to put some content in otherwise empty calories.

Whether you're rushing off to school or have time for some leisurely sipping, breakfast in a mug can be a good way to start the day.

Banana-to-Go

Serves 1

1/2 cup natural yogurt

1 banana, sliced

2 teaspoons brewer's yeast

1 teaspoon honey

Put ingredients in blender; whiz to a creamy froth.

Lime-e-Shake

Serves 1

juice of 2 oranges

juice of 1 lime

1 banana, peeled

1 1/4 cups milk

2/3 cup natural yogurt

2 heaping teaspoons wheat germ

Put all the ingredients in a blender (including any citrus-fruit pith saved from the juicer). Blend together well.

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