NewsGetting Back to School


Need breakfast ideas? 2 healthy smoothie recipes for back-to-school brain fuel

Posted at 3:36 AM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 10:42:59-04

We have all heard it at least once: "breakfast is the most important meal of the day."

Have you ever thought about why this is? ABC15 spoke to published author and Clinical Nutritionist Dr. Jim LaValle about all things related to the first meal of the day.

"Whether they're homeschooling or going to school, breakfast is the fuel to the brain that helps them focus and function appropriately," said Dr. LaValle.

And while the first meal is our fuel, what is really important he says, is what we eat. Dr. LaValle admits, the current pandemic situation our world is facing is allowing many of us to see the importance of health and healthy eating.

"The quality of food we've fed our children has definitely degraded and I think that's the beautiful thing about COVID -- we are starting to be aware that we need to start taking care of ourselves," he adds.

Breakfast should include at least 4 grams of protein. Breakfast foods that have at least 4 grams of protein each include an egg, a slice of bacon, or a bowl of oatmeal. Also just as important as what a child eats is the quality of sleep a child gets.

"Kids need minimum 9-10 hours (of sleep)," says Dr. LaValle.

"When you don't get a good night's sleep, your immune system is weakened because you haven't turned off the fight-or-flight alarm to allow your body to restore its normal function to prepare for the next day," adds Dr. LaValle.

It's important, he adds, that we don't give children too much sugar because it causes a spike in the sugar levels in the body. Those levels, he says, should stay leveled out throughout the day.

"Even with my son, I would dilute his fruit juice in the morning and make sure he had protein, fats and starch... and the fruit juice you really need to watch out for the blood sugar spike," he adds.

Vegetables are also key to healthy eating. Dr. LaValle believes there are alternative ways of getting your greens in your diet. He recommends making a 'green drink,' especially when in a rush to get out the door.

"I have kids who drink green drinks all the time. They are packed with minerals, they help with detoxification, and they alkalinize your body a little bit," he adds.

Check out two of LaValle's favorite healthy recipes below:

Pumpkin Spice Flax Protein Shake


  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond or coconut milk
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  • 1 extra small or ½ medium banana
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, plain
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 serving Kyo-Green Greens Blend
  • 1 cup ice, if desired

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency. (Tip: For a thicker shake, peel and freeze banana ahead of time). Pumpkin boosts vitamin A intake, an important nutrient for immune response. If additional sweetness is needed or desired, use 3 or 4 liquid stevia drops for a sweetener that won’t elevate blood sugar.

Chocolate, Banana, and Chia Seed Protein Shake


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ a medium-sized banana
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 serving Kyo-Green Greens Blend

Add all ingredients in the blender, with ice, if desired, and blend to desired consistency.