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Breakfast is a bore.

The morning meal bangs into your life like an alarm clock, reminding you that you have 10 minutes less pillow time because you must swallow cereal.Or maybe it's the parent-child routine that disguises eggs in multiple forms like scrambled, poached, coddled, hard-cooked or omeleted, but you recognize an egg regardless of the masquerade.

How about the dream of an old-fashioned, farmhand menu of homemade pancakes lathered in maple syrup and butter and then served with sausage patties, hash brown real potatoes and freshly squeezed orange juice? Turns out to be a nightmare for either dieters or busy morning schedules.

Or is it the guilt trip you pack up when sleep claims excess a.m. hours and you race out the door empty-stomached?

Breakfast has become, for many, an optional meal, one linked to repetitive menus and predictable patterns of eating.

After all, how many mornings in a row can you fill a bowl with Tootie Fruities and call it breakfast?

Every day, according to some children, but parents and teachers squirm at the nutritional values of that sugary refueling stop.

New York Times nutrition columnist Jane Brody concurs in her text "Good Food" when she explains, "People starve their bodies (in the morning) when they most need fuel and stuff themselves at night when they'll be doing nothing more strenuous than flipping the TV dial or the pages of a book. That's like trying to drive your car from New York to Washington, D.C., on an empty tank, then filling the tank once you got there."

Half the nation's schoolchildren, not to mention their parents, leave home with little or no breakfast, Brody estimates.

Chilrden who skip breakfast are listless and have trouble concentrating, says a study from the University of Iowa Medical College.

The Human Nutrition Center at the University of Texas discovered a decreased ability to solve problems in 9-t0-11 year olds who overlooked a morning meal.

"Breakfast skippers may not be consciously aware of their hunger, but it's there," says Brophy. "And bu suppressing or ignoring hunger, breakfast skippers are bypassing nature's message that their bodies need fuel."

What strategies work to get the busy bodies slowed for a morning refueling stop?

"Plan ahead, even a week at a time," says Cottonwood Hospital dietician Lee Anne McConnell. "Deciding a breakfast menu beforehand, even discussing the food choices at bedtime, notifies a child that breakfast is expected as part of the morning routine."

McConnell suggest variety in the plans -- a slice of whole wheat cheese toast with fruit, portable pita or tortilla sandwiches, breakfast pizzas or old stand-bys like oatmeal or Cream of Wheat dressed up with raisins.

Utah State University food scientist Von Mendenhall is developing a low cost, nutrient-dense breakfast in a cup that he hopes will be available as a school breakfast product but may add breakfast options to home menus.

Even dependable cold cereal is not a "horrible choice for breakfast if milk and fruit are added." the dietician explains.

A Chicago dietician, Mary Avvott Hess, suggests ways to encourage children to eat nutritious cereals rather than their sugar-drenched counterparts:

-Serve whole grain, unsugared cereal mixed with a small amount of sugared cereal.

-Save coupons for parent-approved cereals, and have toddlers match the coupon to the cereal on the grocery shelf.

-Put a tiny spoon in the sugar bowl; allow 2 spoonfuls.

-Buy individual packets that contain 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar.

Though cereal is a staple breakfast item, protein foods should also be offered. Up to one-third of the daily protein foods should be consumed at breakfast because the nutrient stimulates alertness and staves off hunger.

A cereal or other carbohydrate breakfast has about three hours staying power, while the addition of protein extends the full feeling to four hours, says McConnell. Adding a fat to the meal means nearly five hours without hunger pangs.

The local dietician encourages evaluation of overall eating habits but particularly breakfast during the nationally recognized "Eat Right America" campaign for March.

-McConnell recommends a brochure published by the American Dietetics Association titled, "10 Tips to Healthy Eating for Kids." the booklet is available by sending a stamped, self-addressed business envelope to:

Kids Tips

P.O. Box 1144

Rockville, MD 20850

-Editor's note: the recipes for today's Recipe Exchange were tested by a panel of local students. The youths are profiled in a separate story on Page C3.


(Additional information)

Granola Cereal

10 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup wheat germ

2 cups sunflower seeds

2 cups shredded coconut

2 cups nuts, crushed

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 teaspoons vanilla

Raisins or dates, optional

Combine rolled oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, coconut and nuts; set aside.

Blend remaining ingredients, except dried fruit, and heat until sugar is dissolved; do not boil. Pour heated liquid over rolled oats mixture. Spread in two 10-by-15-inch, greased pans and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and add dried fruit.

Breakfast Polenta Scramble

Submitted by Nancy Nielsen, West Valley City Approximate cost: $.54 Preparation time: 10 minutes Yield: 2 servings Evaluation: Hearty, flavorful blend of grain and protein that satisfies a hungry breakfast eater. Resembles grits casserole.

1 1/3 cups cold water

1/3 cup corn meal

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 pork sausage link, chopped

1 process American cheese slice or other grated cheese

1 tablespoon margarine

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes Bring 1 cup water to boil; whisk in corn meal, remaining cold water and salt. Return to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients, cooking and gently stirring over low heat until cheese is melted and eggs are set.- Each serving contains about 274 calories; 62.8 gm fat; 629.9 mg sodium; 231.9 mg cholesterol.

Spaghetti Pancakes

Submitted by Mary Robinson, Orem Approximate cost: $1.12 Preparation time: 15

minutes Yield: 6 servings Evaluation: Unusual breakfast idea that makes use of leftover spaghetti. Could garnish with Parmesan cheese.

4 cups spaghetti, cooked

1 egg white

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup cheese, grated

Mixture of herbs to taste (Italian seasoning, oregano, basil)

2 teaspoons butter or margarine Combine spaghetti, beaten egg, egg white, milk, cheese and herbs. Melt margarine in 10-inch skillet; add spaghetti mixture to form a compact cake. Cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Divide into sixths, turn and cook and additional 5 minutes.- Each serving contains 147 calories; 4.9 gm fat; 252.4 mg sodium; 45.9 mg cholesterol.

Granola Bars

Submitted by Marilyn Hendrickson, Salt Lake City Approximate cost: $3.42 Preparation time: 15 minutes Yield: About 15 granola bars Evaluation: Rich, chewy bars that resemble purchased snacks. More like a candy bar than a cookie.

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

Dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups granola

2 1/2 cups rice crisp cereal

1 cup chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or raisins Combine margarine, sugar and corn syrup; microwave on HIGH until it reaches the boiling point. Boil for 3 1/2 minutes, stirring three times. Remove from microwave; add salt and vanilla. Pour over granola and rice cereal; cool slightly and fold in chips or raisins. Press into 9-by-13-inch pan and cool completely.- Each bar contains about 234 calories; 11.8 gm fat; 309.6 mg sodium .02 mg cholesterol.

Breakfast Pizza

Submitted by Marva J. Whittaker, Salt Lake City Approximate cost: $4.66 Preparation time: 15 minutes plus baking Yield: 6-8 servings Evaluation: Simple pizza method that provides a change of pace from ordinary breakfast fare.

1 pound bulk sausage

1 package (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls

1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

5 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated Cook sausage until brown; drain. Separate crescent dough into 8 triangles. Place in an ungreased 12-inch pizza pan with points toward the center. Press over bottom and up sides to form a crust; seal perforations. Spoon sausage over crust, sprinkle with potatoes, top with cheddar cheese. Beat eggs together with milk, salt and pepper. Pour into crust. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over all. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.

Get Going Cookies

Submitted by Elaunna O. Casad, Riverton Approximate cost: $5.00 Preparation time: 30 minutes Yield: About 2 dozen cookies Evaluation: Very easy and yummy. Tester would make again, but notes that some ingredients are not on hand in most kitchens.

1/4 cup margarine

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup applesauce

1 egg white

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk solids

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup wheat bran

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cloves

3/4 cup raisins

Strawberry cream cheese or peanut butter

Cream margarine with sugar and egg white; stir in applesauce and dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonsful onto lightly greased cookie sheet; bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Spread with softened cream cheese or peanut butter if desired. - Each cookie contains about 92 calories; 2.6 gm fat; 84.9 mg sodium; 4.08 mg cholesterol.

Apple Pancakes

Submitted by Trinka Evjen, Springville Approximate cost: $1.81 Preparation time: 30 minutes Yield: 16 pancakes Evaluation: Thick pancakes with delicious flavor; heavy and filling.

2 cups Bisquick

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup apple, shredded

Spicy Cider Sauce:

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons Bisquick

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cup apple cider or juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup butter or margarine Mix Bisquick with cinnamon, egg and milk; beat until smooth. Stir and apple and cook.

For sauce, combine sugar, Bisquick, nutmeg and cinnamon; blend in cider and lemon juice. Cook stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat and stir in margarine.- Two pancakes with 1/4 cup syrup contains about 344 calories; 11.7 gm fat; 482 mg sodium; 30 mg cholesterol.

Puff Pancakes

Puff Pancakes

Submitted by Christy Carpenter, Beaver Approximate cost: $.77 Preparation time: 5 minutes plus baking Yield: About 6 servings Evaluation: Easy recipe that uses ingredients that are readily available. Practical recipe that doesn't require careful monitoring during busy morning hours.

1/4 cup margarine

1 cup milk

6 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt Melt butter in 9-by-13-inch pan. Beat milk and eggs together; add flour and salt. Pour into buttered pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar, fruit, jam or syrup.- Each pancake serving contains about 245 calories; 44.9 gm fat; 350 mg sodium; 216 mg cholesterol.

Banana Orange Whiz

Submitted by Meri Fullmer, Mt. Pleasant Approximate cost: $.46 Preparation time: 5 minutes Yield: 1 serving Evaluation: Fluffy fruit breakfast shake; different twist with sherbet addition.

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup orange sherbet

1/2 medium banana Combine all ingredients in blender; pulse until combined, about 1 minute.