Creating a healthy family breakfast

oranges I don’t know about you, but mornings are crazy at my house. My son, Nathan, wakes up a full hour before anyone else does. By the time he’s finished dressing and having a healthy breakfast, he’s bored and can’t wait for his sister to come down so he can annoy her.

Lucie needs more rest and wakes up later. She also takes longer to get ready and is extremely grumpy and whiny in the morning. This makes her a perfect target for her brother’s teasing. Before long they’re fighting and my husband and I are yelling at them to stop. Can't everyone to calm down and have a nice healthy breakfast without the fighting and yelling?

Frankly, I just can’t until everyone leaves so I can have a little peace and quiet.

There’s got to be a better way – parenting tips from Dr. Michele Borba

A happy, healthy breakfast can set the tone for the day ahead according to parenting expert and author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, Dr. Michele Borba and nutritionist and author of Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During & After Pregnancy, Elizabeth Ward, M.S., R.D. They’ve  partnered with the Florida Department of Citrus to offer simple solutions to help families start the day the right way with a healthy breakfast and a calmer morning routine.

Dr. Borba feels that a simple way to connect is by designating time in your family’s normal breakfast routine as “unplugged time” – without turning on the television, computer or video games. (That means you too, mom and dad!) Start with just 10 minutes and gradually work your way up to more unplugged mornings.

She also suggests that you talk to your kids about the day ahead as you pour a glass of 100 percent orange juice together:

  • Drinking a refreshing glass of naturally, nutrient-rich 100 percent orange juice together each morning as part of a healthy breakfast is one way for you and your family to connect and help you prepare for a great day, every day.
  • One 8-ounce glass of 100 percent Florida orange juice counts as almost 25 percent of your USDA-recommended daily fruit and vegetable servings, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
  • Compared to many other beverages, 100 percent orange juice is a nutritional standout. In fact, orange juice is more nutrient dense, or nutrient rich, than many commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices, such as apple, grape, pineapple and prune.*

Don’t you feel healthier drinking a glass of 100 percent OJ for breakfast? I do!

Nutrition tips from Elizabeth Ward, M.S., R.D.

  • Eating a healthy breakfast can greatly impact your day and has even been associated with weight loss and weight maintenance, as well as improved nutrient intake.**
  • Breakfast eaters tend to have more energy throughout the day and, because they are not as likely to be hungry, they often have an easier time managing their weight than those who skip breakfast.*** 
  • Look for juices that specifically say “100% Juice” on the information panel and avoid beverages with names such as “cocktail,” “beverage,” “drink” or “whaever-ade.” Such juice concoctions often have added sugars and typically do not provide the natural variety and amount of nutrients found in 100 percent fruit juices such as 100 percent orange juice.

This Mama’s tips for a healthy breakfast

  • Check out my healthy breakfast and healthy snacking recipes.
  • Get the older kids (or the parent who gets ready first) to make a healthy breakfast while the others get ready. My 11-year-old son is an expert egg sandwich and egg taco maker. My daughter, who's 8, is old enough to pour juice, cereal and even use the microwave.
  • Have healthy breakfast food available at all times – no fat Greek yogurt, high fiber/low sugar cereals, eggs, fruit, etc.
  • Make a extra batch of healthy, high fiber pancakes on the weekend to heat up throughout the week.
  • Prepare fruit smoothies, hard boiled eggs, muffins, etc. the night before.
  • My kids love reheated spaghetti and soup for breakfast. Have dinner (or lunch) food at breakfast and breakfast food for dinner once in a while to mix it up.

Want more tips? Visit the Florida Orange Juice Facebook Page to download a free “Meaningful Morning Checklist” with tips for making the most of your family’s morning.


*Rampersaud GC. A comparison of nutrient density scores for 100% fruit juices. Journal of Food Science. 2007;72(4):S261-S266.

**U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

***Murphy JM et al. The Relationship of School Breakfast to Psychosocial and Academic Functioning: Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Observations in an inner-city School Sample. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 1998;152:899-907.

***Wahlstrom KL and Begalle MS. More than test scores: Results of the universal school breakfast pilot in Minnesota. Top Clin Nutr 1999;(1):17-29.

***Wesnes KA et al. Breakfast reduces declines in attention and memory over the morning in schoolchildren. Appetite 2003;41:329-331.

***Barton BA et al. The relationship of breakfast and cereal consumption to nutrient intake and body mass index: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study. J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105:1383-1389.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus. I was compensated for my participation.

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