Cooking Matters

For School Success, Start with Breakfast

For School Success, Start with Breakfast 2048 1362 Ivy Marsnik

Parents know that school mornings can be the busiest time of the day. Between getting kids to school on time, signing permission slips, making sure homework is done, and everything else, breakfast can be a last minute thought. However, unless you are certain your child is eating breakfast at school, breakfast at home is vitally important.

For years we’ve been told we need to eat breakfast. It’s undeniably good for you! Every night, most of us fast, or go a period of time without food, for eight to ten hours as we sleep. To break the fast, it is important we eat breakfast and jump start our day. Breakfast provides important energy to the body and the brain which in turn enables all of us, including our children, to feel better, think better, learn better, and perform better.

Here are a few ideas for a healthy, quick, and low-cost breakfast on those busy mornings:

  • Enjoy homemade granola on top of a fruit and yogurt parfait, or as a standalone cereal (great hot or cold)
  • Make oatmeal with fat-free or low-fat milk and add fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruit
  • Try grits with light coconut milk with canned mango or peaches in light syrup or its own juices
  • Make a fruit smoothie with low-fat milk, fruit, and peanut butter
  • For a special treat, enjoy a delicious fruit tart

Eating breakfast is a lifelong habit worth teaching your child. It is important to remember that as the parent, you set the example. Even if you are not usually hungry in the morning, or don’t like typical breakfast foods, try a light yet well-balanced breakfast with at least three food groups. The reality is, almost any dish can be eaten for breakfast. So go ahead and serve those leftovers!

By planning ahead and forming good habits, your family will see that eating breakfast is not only quick and easy, but is also a great way to spend time in the kitchen together and set your day off to a strong start.


The University of Minnesota Extension’s Health and Nutrition, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education program is excited to partner with Way to Grow and has a shared vision for healthier families. Our education provides Minnesota families with tools and strategies to help counter the effects of food insecurity, poverty and obesity. One of the classes we offer is Cooking Matters® Minnesota. This is a six-week series of cooking-based nutrition education program that empowers people to eat healthier and make better use of their food resources. Program graduates report an increase in confidence to prepare healthy meals and excitement over understanding food labels and ways to stretch food dollars. Parents realize that small changes in how their families eat can make big differences in the end. Most importantly more families find making the healthy choice is now a much easier choice.

For more information on the University of Minnesota Extension’s Health and Nutrition, SNAP-Ed program, contact: Evalyn Cabrey, MS, RD, SNAP-Ed Regional Coordinator (Metro), at ecarbrey@umn.edu or 612-624-9942.

This article was written by Sharmyn Phipps, SNAP-Ed Educator
University of Minnesota Extension, Health and Nutrition Programs, SNAP Education

Cooking Matters Class Comes to a Delicious End

Cooking Matters Class Comes to a Delicious End 541 271 Way to Grow

In week five of Way to Grow’s six week Cooking Matters class, the group took a trip to Cub Foods. But this was unlike any ordinary trip to the grocery store. The group was posed with a challenge: using $10 or less, buy ingredients for a meal that incorporates all five food groups and feeds four.

Cherise rose to the challenge, choosing ground turkey, a tomato, whole wheat tortillas, cheese and romaine lettuce. While she normally grabs iceberg lettuce, instructor Erin informed her that the darker color of the romaine means it’s packed with more good-for-you nutrition, so Cherise decided to branch out. The mini lesson is just one small example of the knowledge Cooking Matters participants learn during any given class.

The mixture of staying under the $10 budget, branching out to try new foods and adding a dash of creativity sent Cherise home with a brand new cooking pan! Her children and sister enjoyed the meal, she said; though, the romaine lettuce wasn’t a hit with her toddler, who thought it was a toy leaf.

The final Cooking Matters class went out on a zesty note today, as participants made and consumed a fabulous meal of homemade corn tortilla chips, mango salsa and a refreshing apple-lime fizz drink.

The class wrapped up with a graduation. Each participant received a certificate of completion, a reusable grocery bag filled with healthy foods and a cookbook with affordable meal and snack ideas. Participants thanked the instructors, citing that they now know how to better understand nutrition labels, purchase healthier foods and stick to a grocery budget.

Cooking Matters’ mission is to help families shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget. Huge thanks to Cargill for providing the class funds, the University of Minnesota Extension for teaching the class and the Center for Families for hosting.

Check out our Facebook page for a gallery of photos from today’s final class.

Twelve Days of Growing: Day 9

Twelve Days of Growing: Day 9 150 150 Way to Grow

Day 9 – 9 children9 out of 10 Way to Grow children entering kindergarten were up-to-date on recommended immunizations during 2013. Our commitment to health and wellness extends from prenatal checkups and new parent support groups to Cooking Matters and our Dream Tracks teen parenting program. With key community partnerships and connections to valuable resources, we help lay the foundation for a healthy home.

We hope you’ll consider a making a gift to Way to Grow a part of your holiday giving. Your tax-deductible gift will continue to fund our Great by Eight initiative, which provides outcome-based, holistic, year-round, language-to-language, early education programming to the families and children we serve.

To make a contribution, please click here or phone Melissa Meyer at (612) 874-4740.  To learn more about our programs, please explore our website.

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