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Majority of Canadian kids not getting a balanced breakfast, survey finds

A new survey has found most kids aren't getting a balanced breakfast. (Thinkstock)Study after study has shown breakfast to be the most important meal of the day and the positive impact that comes from eating a balanced morning meal, yet many people still don't make time to eat in the morning.

A recent study commissioned by Nutella has found that while 71% of Canadian moms believe they're giving their children a balanced breakfast each day, in reality, only about 36% actually know what constitutes a healthy breakfast per Canada's Food Guide.

According to Canada's Food Guide, a balanced breakfast should include foods from at least three of the four food groups.

The Nutella Breakfast Report also found that 90% of moms want their children to have a balanced breakfast, believing its importance in enhancing their mood, grades, and ability to participate in physical activity, but that 29% say their kids have missed breakfast at least once in the past school week.

Of those surveyed, only 41% say they eat breakfast at home and only 36% eat breakfast together as a family, with the majority (66%) of moms saying their kids are eating breakfast in just 15 minutes or less.

The survey found that moms say the top five barriers to getting their kids to eat a healthy breakfast are: a need for more breakfast ideas their kids will like (57%); their kids are picky eaters (44%); they lack time to prepare food in the morning (26%); kids say they aren't hungry; and their kids have different tastes or likes.

[See also: Why parents should put down their cell phones]

If you're looking for healthy breakfast ideas, Alexis Williams, Registered Dietitian and director, health & wellness for Loblaw Companies Limited offers the following suggestions.

Breakfast roll up: Spread some nut butter (or low-fat cream cheese if your home is nut-free) on a whole grain tortilla. Drizzle some honey or maple syrup, granola or bran cereal for crunch, and add a sprinkle of ground flax seed and chopped dried fruit. You can also use sliced banana or apple instead if you prefer. Roll it up and you've got a one-handed breakfast that's ready in 5 minutes.

Breakfast banana split: Peel a banana and slice in half lengthwise; place each half on a plate or shallow bowl. Top with your favourite yogurt, cereal, raspberries and chocolate chips for a special morning treat that features a balance of protein and fibre.

Greek yogurt parfait: Layer your favourite plain Greek yogurt, mixed berries (or other favourite fruit) and a fibre-rich cereal or granola for a quick and easy morning meal that can even be prepared the night before.

Skillet baked eggs and beans: This recipe is a bit more involved, ideal for lazy weekend mornings. "It's hard to get vegetables at breakfast and this breakfast combined unique foods that we should all eat more of," said Williams.

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