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Why Breakfast Matters

oatmeal with berriesYou've heard it before, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." The truth is, eating regular, moderately sized meals is important to provide adequate energy for both adults and children whose growing bodies and expanding minds need these nutrients. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breakfast for young children and teenagers to improve concentration and energy levels while in school.

To make it easy on the whole family, plan ahead for simple, easily prepared breakfast meals. A general rule of thumb is to have meals consist of three food groups and snacks consist of two food groups. For example, breakfast could include whole grain toast with peanut butter and a glass of milk, or a bowl of multi-grain cereal with lowfat milk and berries on top.


National School Breakfast Week

The School Nutrition Association sponsors National School Breakfast Week each year. Our students at Morgridge Academy, the school for chronically ill children located on our main campus, are busy learning about the importance of taking time for school breakfast.

The students get help with their nutrition requirements thanks to our staff in Food Services, who work hard behind the scenes to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for not only the students, but for our patients, faculty and staff.


USDA Requirements for School Breakfast

Here are some guidelines you also can follow at home in your own kitchen to make sure children are getting the proper dietary requirements in their breakfast.

  • A daily serving of fruit with no added sugar
    • No more than 1/2 of the weekly fruits shoud be in the form of full-strength juice
  • All grains should be whole grains (e.g., 100% whole wheat bread, not white bread)
  • No trans fats
    • Read labels and avoid foods with ingredients that say "partially hydrogenated"
  • Limit saturated fats
    • Saturated fats typically are found in animal products like meat and full-fat dairy products


Featured Breakfast Recipe

recipe: quinoa and berriesIf you're making breakfast at home, try our featured recipe. It's easy to prepare and tastes great. It was created by Javier Tellez, Food Service Production Lead, who is currently in his 14th year with Food Services at National Jewish Health.

Creamy Quinoa and Berries


  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla flavoring
  • 2 ounces vanilla flavored Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp walnuts (may be omitted for nut allergy)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Strawberries, sliced


  • Heat milk over low heat and bring to a simmer. Add quinoa, cinnamon and vanilla and cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat.
  • Place cooked quinoa in bowl and mix with yogurt.
  • Garnish with sliced strawberries, walnuts and honey.

Serving size: one

This information has been reviewed and approved by Alexandra Wilson, MS, RD, CDE, Clinical Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator (February 2014).