A Collaborative Post: Back-to-school “Importance of Breakfast and Snacks”

Today we’ll be having a collaborative post with Christele Daccache, a nutritionist, yoga instructor and blogger at Health ‘n’ Horizons; on the importance of breakfast and snacks for school aged children and young adults. Christele offers at-home nutrition counseling for families in Jeddah, KSA where she helps them adopt a healthier lifestyle through a complete nutrition management program that suits their specific needs with kitchen makeovers, guided grocery shopping tours, and more. If you haven’t checked Christele’s awesome blog already, I invite you to. I am sure you will enjoy her writings and advice as much as I do!

Part 1: The Importance of Breakfast

Why is Breakfast Important?

Breakfast is one of the most important meals especially for school aged individuals (children and teens). As the term “BreakFast” shows that during breakfast we “BREAK” the “FAST”. Meaning, disturbing the sleeping night fast in the morning with a balanced diet, and that is essential for a healthy body.
Studies have shown that breakfast has an important effect on behavior, learning and overall school performance. On the other hand, it may help control weight and reduce the risk of weight related diseases, because when the child eats breakfast he/she will not feel hungry earlier during the day and more kely to eat less fat foods during breaks.

On the other hand, children who do not eat breakfast are often bad-tempered, impatient with bad attitudes toward school with less energy during the day. That in turn affects the child’s concentration and school performance ability.

As a conclusion, it’s very important to make breakfast a repetitive continuous behavior for ourselves and our children.

Now you might say: But we have a hectic lifestyle and no time to make breakfast for ourselves even. We say, nowadays we all have a hectic lifestyle; thus why not prepare the basic ingredients beforehand to make the “on the go” process fast, healthy and easy.

A balanced breakfast contains a source of carbohydrate, protein and fats along with vegetables and fruits.

To make it easier for you, we will share with some simple breakfast recipe ideas.

Breakfast Recipe Ideas

– Labneh Sandwich with a Banana
– Light Cheese Sandwich with an Apple
– Zaatar and Labneh Sandwich with Vegetables
– Broccoli Mini Omelets or any type of vegetable omelet (made in the shape of a muffin)
– Milk, Cereals and mixed nuts (that’s for the weekends)
Stress-free overnight oats recipe

Part 2: The Importance of Snacks

Snacks can be nutritional disasters if children are having sugary drinks, chips and all-they-can-eat candy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Good planning and some tricks can help you make sure your kid is snacking the right way.

Why do kids need snacks?

– Children have small stomachs; they need snacks to keep them going to the next meal – a midmorning snack to keep them focused at school and going till lunch and an afternoon snack to make them go to dinner. However, if the next meal is just within two hours, you wouldn’t want to offer a snack so as not to ruin your child’s appetite.
– Snacks make it easier for children to get all the nutrients they need.

How can you help your kid have the right snack?

Snacking is not equivalent to grazing. You don’t want your children to be eating every hour and they should not be allowed to have snacks in front of the TV or computer screen. They will be more likely to override their satiety signals and gain weight. Plus, you don’t want your children to consume extra calories they are not burning off with physical activity.
– Sit down with your child every week or every month and decide on what snacks to have. They will appreciate being treated as adults and will be more likely to go for nutritious and healthy snacks that they have come up with.
– If your child likes chocolate, include it in the plan occasionally just don’t make the mistake of calling it a treat. You don’t want your child to think there is something special about it.
– Midmorning snacks should be simple and appealing enough to compete with cafeteria junk or whatever other kids are having.
– Afternoon snacks can be a bit experimental. Since they are mostly offered at home, a new fruit or vegetable can be introduced.
– Cutting up fruits and vegetables into fun shapes works well with smaller kids.

What are some good snack ideas?

A snack should be nutrient dense; easy to eat, and low in salt, sugar and fat. You want to steer clear of prepackaged snacks that contain trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, additives and preservatives.

– Fruits are obvious snack foods. They can be served alone or paired with a source of protein: an apple or a banana with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter, grapes or watermelon with feta or two slices of halloumi cheese.
– Make your own fruit yogurt without the additives by mixing half a cup of yogurt with slices of peaches, plums or strawberries…
– A handful of dried fruits (apricots, prunes…), nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower).
– Veggie sticks including carrots, cucumbers, peppers … to dip in labneh, yogurt or hummus.
– Homemade baked vegetable “chips”. Forget store brought potato chips. Experiment with zucchini, sweet potato and squash. Cut them into thin circles, toss in a teaspoon of canola oil, add your favorite herbs or spices and bake in hot oven until crispy.
– A small bowl of plain popcorn.
– Half a small bagel or pita bread topped with a slice of turkey, low-fat cream cheese, or low-sugar jam.
– The occasional snacks (once a week): a small chocolate biscuit bar, a snack-sized chocolate bar, or two biscuits or cookies, or a small muffin (homemade is better like this Banana Oat Cake with chocolate or check the ingredient list for the most natural ingredients and serving size).

We hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions regarding the topic don’t hesitate to connect with us 🙂

Photo Source:


Additional References


Living Alone? Loaded with Work? No time for Cooking? Fed up with Fast Food and Chocolate?

Most of us nowadays are loaded with work, live alone or at the dorms… The mother is not there to provide us with the healthiest homemade yummy foods.

We mostly live on delivery, fast food and chocolate. If we want to have a change we go out for some unconventional types of food that are usually unhealthy and unaffordable for our daily living. We’re stuck in a circle loaded with lack of time, lack of money and a tragic routine.

Here are some basic tips and fast healthy cooking ideas that can be performed anywhere from the office to the dorms room.

Go for Healthy Shopping

Stock your freezer with some healthy breads

A variety of Healthy Cheese (Akkawi, Halloumi Cheese, Majdoule, Low Fat Yellow Cheese) and Luncheon Meats (Turkey Ham)

A variety of Vegetables

Have a stock of healthy canned Grains and Meats such as Tuna

Never forget the Spices and Condiments

And some healthy ready made Sauces (Tomato Sauce, Pesto Sauce etc…)

Now your mini kitchen is ready to rock… Yet, how to use the Microwave for some easy fast healthy cooking?? Check some examples…

Add the pasta or some cut vegetables (ex. sliced carrots) in a microwavable plate or plastic container with water…

Cover the plate with cling film…

Set in the microwave for 5-7 minutes (every 2 minutes check on the plate because it contains boiling water).

You can also bake potatoes or make baked vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper etc…) in the microwave, just slice the potatoes or the vegetables and put them on a plate in the microwave for few minutes…

Remove from the water, or from the plate and serve with meats, grains and a salad… Here you go simple healthy easy to prepare…

Check some samples below: Preparation time: Not more than 10 minutes…

Tuna with Baked Potatoes and Season Salad…

Healthy Grains with Salad (you can add some garlic, lemon and olive oil to taste)…

Microwave Boiled Vegetables, Shredded Low Fat Cheese and Salad…

Microwave Boiled Pasta and Carrots with Ready to Eat Tomato Sauce…

A light easy Yoghurt Snack for the overnights (with pasta and mint), can also be eaten as a dinner with a salad…

Why Not have a Fruit as a Snack…

Never forget the dessert… A whole cereal Toast with Jam and Fruits (makes up around 70kcal)

Important Tips

Becareful of instant meals found in the supermarket, they are usually rich in Saturated Fats and Trans Fats (those are the bad fats).

Do not eat DIET snacks unless you make sure that their content is suitable (usually they are low is simple sugars yet high in fats).

Always read the labels on the food product you are buying.

Spring, Pork, Barbecue, Friends and Trichinella…

A couple of weeks ago I had a small gathering with some friends. It was a calm spring night embraced with a characteristic ambiance for a Pork Barbecue with Mashed Potatoes and Spicy Pineapple Honey Sauce…

The Charcoal is on…

The Pork meat is marinated in white Wine, Vinegar, Ginger and a variety of Spices

The Sauce, final stages, made from the finest bee’s Honey and the freshest Pineapple juice

The Mashed Potato with chopped mixed Vegetables and a mix of colored Bell Pepper

Wooowww the smell is just deliciousssssssss

Don’t they look gorgeous?

And here it comes… the perfect pork dish with all its accessories

Didn’t we forget anything?? Mmmmm Where’s the wine??

The night was cool, great people, great food, and here comes an interesting question:

Strawberry Blu why do they say that Pork Meat is scary and needs to be very well cooked?

Well, the only reason most people get scared when it comes to pork is due to the presence of a roundworm named “Trichinella spiralis” that cause an infectious disease.

This worm usually lives in undercooked or raw pork meat, so if the pork is eaten raw or undercooked and by any chance contains this roundworm then this worm will attack the intestine causing nausea, heartburn and diarrhea.

Then after, the worm travels from the intestine to invade other body systems mainly the muscles (heart, lungs, brain etc…) and fever will arouse. If the situation gets more sever, the lungs’ muscles will be infected causing them to stop pumping thus death might be the end result.

In conclusion, always make sure to have your pork meat very well cooked…

What is Food Safety and Kitchen Employees…

Food Safety is a scientific discipline that describes handling, preparation and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne illnesses. Food borne illnesses are caused by microorganisms found on or within the food. Such microbes have great chances of spreading around the kitchen; causing cross contamination to other ready to eat foods.

This discipline is maintained through following specific and precise rules and regulations; that are subsequently protected by preventive food safety programs such as the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point); which mainly analyze potential hazards that may occur and sets corrective measures before the hazard occurs.

To a great extent the key to fulfill this discipline lie within a well trained kitchen staff. Kitchen employees ought to have the knowledge and comprehension of Food Safety and of its preventive programs.

The basics of Food Safety, every employee must know, are Kitchen Safety and Food Hygiene that includes:

1.General overview of the kitchen: floors, walls, windows, doors, building, facility, ventilation, lighting, plumbing and water, and how to react in emergencies (fire, electricity etc).
2.Waste Disposal: types, location, cover, cleaning, maintenance, and frequency of emptying.
3.Cleaning and Sanitizing Operations: principles and application of cleaning procedures; detergents, disinfectants, anti-bacterial cleaners and sanitizers use.
4.Employees Personal Hygiene: personal appearance, personal actions and habits (uniforms, hairnets, gloves, makeup, perfumes, jewelry, eating, smoking, illness and injury), washing hands.
5.Food Hygiene: following the flow of food (meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables) from receiving, to storage (wet and dry), to preparation, to packaging and finally serving.

Every employee is responsibile to maintain Food Safety from the Farm to the Fork, yet this is not only the responsibilty of individuals or groups; organizations and the goverment has an important role in spreading Food Safety education to decrease risks and prevent outbreaks…



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