— Written By Joanna Rogers and last updated by
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Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? This is a question many of our youth ask when we discuss the importance of breakfast in the 4-H Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) classes offered through North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Students participate in a series of six lessons where they learn about the importance of making healthy choices so their bodies get the proper nutrients they need to grow and stay strong. Breakfast is a great way to start your day; it has many benefits to help you kick start a full day of learning.

Some of the many advantages of breakfast include being a great source of brain food and energy, as well as a great way to get most of our daily nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. In EFNEP, we talk about different ways we can make breakfast fun and delicious at home or on the go. Participants learn to make sure their breakfast covers three of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and protein. Each food group plays a huge role in our bodies. School breakfast is a great option for students to choose when school is in session as it gives options that cover each of the food groups.

If school breakfast is not available, let us look at what we can prepare at home. Whole-grain cereal is a great place to start, paired with 2 percent milk and fresh fruit. Another option could be scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and juice. Yogurt parfaits with fresh fruit, topped with crushed granola, is an excellent on-the-go meal. Getting enough grains in your diet can sometimes be difficult, but in EFNEP we show participants how everyday favorites can be great with whole grains. Here is a tasty grains breakfast recipe that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser:

French Toast

Makes 8 Servings

Serving Size: 1 slice


  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon margarine


  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs with fork. Add milk, cinnamon, and vanilla; beat together until mixed well.
  2. Melt margarine in a large skillet on medium heat.
  3. Dip one slice of bread at a time in the egg mixture; coat both sides.
  4. Place bread in hot skillet. Brown each side, about 2 minutes per side or until toasted.
  5. Serve the toast with fresh fruit, pancake syrup, or applesauce.

For more information, contact Joanna Rogers, Youth Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program Assistant, by phone at 910-671-3276, by email at, or visit our website.