Because mornings are often hectic, some people try to get by with skimpy breakfasts or skip the meal entirely. How about meeting your date for a breakfast?

Is a good breakfast on your agenda?

Because mornings are often hectic, some families try to get by with skimpy breakfasts or skip the meal entirely. You and your children, though, have already gone without food for 8 to 9 hours. Without a good breakfast, your bodies and your brains – which have no blood-glucose reserves, the brain’s main energy source – have even longer to wait for an energy boost. It’s much better to get up a little earlier to have a complete breakfast.

Studies over the last 30 years have confirmed again and again that children who eat a balanced breakfast score significantly higher on tests and are less depressed, anxious and hyperactive than children who eat an unbalanced breakfast or skip the meal.

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Breakfast eaters also have improved strength and endurance and are not as susceptible to gnawing hunger pains in the late morning. By making you feel full longer, a good breakfast can also help you avoid overeating. In adult research, overweight women ate fewer calories the rest of the day when they had a protein-based breakfast of eggs, toast and fruit spread than women who had a calorically equal breakfast of a bagel, cream cheese and yogurt.

For either adults or children, a good breakfast should include a grain food, a protein source, a low-fat milk food and your choice of a fruit or vegetable or juice.

For the protein food, nutritious eggs are quick and easy to prepare and go well with other foods to complete a balanced meal. Pile-It-On Egg Toast, for example, can help you wake up taste buds with either a comforting or more exciting flavor combination.

Pile-It-On Egg Toast

3 servings

Cooking spray

3 slices bread

3 eggs

Topping ingredients (see variations)

Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Evenly coat with spray. Place bread slices on foil-lined sheet. With 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter or inverted drinking glass, cut out center of each bread slice. OR, pull out center of bread slice with fingers, leaving 2 1/2- to 3-inch diameter hole. Place cutouts and bread slices on baking sheet. For extra crispness, lightly coat both sides with spray, if desired. Break and slip 1 egg into hole in each bread slice. Evenly spread or spoon topping ingredients over bread slice and egg white. Avoid covering egg yolk completely.

Place baking sheet on middle rack of preheated 350 degree F oven. Bake until whites are set and yolks begin to thicken and cloud over, but are not hard, about 12 to 15 minutes. (Baking time may vary depending on temperature, amount and thickness of topping foods and exact diameter of hole in bread slice.)

Nutrition information per serving of 1/3 recipe using pumpernickel rye bread, ham, spinach and 2% cottage cheese: 200 calories, 8 gm total fat, 228 mg cholesterol, 743 mg sodium, 229 mg potassium, 14 gm carbohydrate, 17 gm protein and 10% or more of the RDI for vitamins A, B12 and C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, iron, phosphorus, zinc

Topping Variations: Each variation makes 3 servings.

Ham & Cheese: Use pumpernickel rye bread. In small bowl, stir together 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves (about 1 1/2 oz.), 1/2 cup chopped lean cooked ham (about 3 oz.) and 1/3 cup low-fat cottage cheese. Spoon about 1/3 cup spinach mixture evenly onto each egg-and-bread slice. Bake.

Mushroom Pizza: Use Italian bread, at least 4-inches in diameter, sliced 3/4- to 1-inch thick. In small bowl, stir together 1 cup sliced mushrooms (about 3 1/2 oz.) and 1/2 cup prepared pizza or spaghetti sauce or salsa. Spoon about 1/3 cup mushroom mixture onto each egg-and-bread slice. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon per slice. Bake.

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