Nutrition and Physical Activity Fuel Greatness

More than ever, there’s growing support for two powerful habits that help kids perform better in the classroom and beyond: good nutrition (which begins with a healthy breakfast at school or at home) and daily physical activity.

At home, parents are both role models and providers. Children’s eating behaviors are more likely to be positively influenced with the “do-as-I-do” approach, rather than the “do-as-I-say” approach. That said, make sure you and your kids start your day together with a healthy breakfast. One of my favorite quick and healthy breakfasts is a yogurt parfait.

Packed with the goodness of dairy and topped with a crunch from granola, this breakfast is not only satisfying; it provides the following nutritional benefits:

  • Protein: Protein allows our body to effectively build muscle. Science teaches us that spreading protein intake throughout the day (versus loading up at one meal) is more effective. It’s also helpful to anyone aiming to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Protein increases the feeling of fullness and including protein in the morning can reduce caloric intake for the rest of the day.
  • Calcium: While important for the development of peak bone mass, most children and adolescents are not achieving the recommend intake of this important mineral. Six ounces can provide up to 20 percent of the recommended allowance of calcium.
  • Probiotics: Also known as good bacteria, probiotics are beneficial for your health, especially your digestive system.
  • Whole Grains: Linked to a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, whole grains can reduce the likelihood of diabetes and some cancers. Dietary Guidelines recommend we consume three servings of whole grains per day.

Many schools are now offering yogurt parfaits on the breakfast line. You can also try one at home using the recipe below. Modeling a healthy lifestyle that includes daily physical activity and smart food choices (including a nutritious breakfast) will fuel greatness, for you and your kids.

Pineapple Yogurt Parfait with Coconut Mango Granola

Makes four yogurt parfaits with granola to spare.


For the coconut mango granola

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried mango

For the yogurt parfait:

  • 24 ounces low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups cup canned crushed pineapple, packed in its own juice
  • 8 tablespoons of coconut mango granola


For the granola:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place oats, quinoa, peanuts, coconut, egg white, olive oil, lime juice, honey and sea salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Pour onto a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minute or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool. Add lime zest and dried mango. Store in an airtight container.

For yogurt parfait

  1. Layer 3 ounces of yogurt, ½ cup pineapple and 3 ounces more of yogurt in each parfait glass.
  2. Top with 2 tablespoons of granola. Serve immediately.

Guest post by Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN

05-06-2013-diane-boyd-headshotDiane Boyd has a private nutrition practice in North Carolina where she specializes in medical nutrition therapy, weight management and eating disorders. She is the consulting nutritionist for Cape Fear Sports Enhancement and promotes nutrition via workplace programs and freelance writing. Her passion for fitness and eating well fuels the work she truly enjoys.

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