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Here's how to make sure your family has a healthy breakfast

A number of children don't eat breakfast. (Photo: Sinclair Cares)

Breakfast has long been called the most important meal of the day.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics says as many as 12 percent of young kids don’t eat it. Even more teenagers skip out.

Working in partnership with our parent company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, we want to keep you informed about important health matters.

Check out your nearest grocery store, and you'll likely find thousands of choices.

"Always overwhelming," says shopper Marcia Zand.

But dietitians say the list of nutrition facts is the place to start.

"Breakfast is crucial especially for students because it gets their brains charged up and ready to learn in the morning and also gets them energy to fuel throughout their day," says clinical dietitian Jess Buschmann.

She says to look out for sugar - specifically added sugar. It’s listed as things like corn syrup, dextrose, and sucrose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans get too much added sugar and that can lead to health problems - including weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Some cereals have a sugary reputation. But Buschmann says the amount in some yogurt - along with flavored oatmeals and milks - may surprise you.

"The more ingredients you can pronounce the better," Buschmann says.

"You find yourself starting to read the labels and then you get discouraged because sugar is in everything." says shopper Zand.

Buschmann says pre-planning will help your family.

She says to list five meals your kids enjoy, and make sure you include at least three food groups with each meal.

Consider whole grains and carbohydrates - like bread, cereal or fruit - for quick energy. Protein - like eggs or lean meat - keeps you feeling more full longer. And dairy helps builds bones.

"Here we have a quick option," Buschmann says. "Avocado toast is very trendy right now, but also very good and very nutritious for you. ... You can swap also out an egg."

Still not easy enough?

She says fruit with peanut butter is an option - to start.

"Yes, healthy eating is harder but absolutely not impossible," Buschmann says.

And she says it's never too late to make your grocery store choices healthier.

To make it easier on consumers, the Food and Drug Administration is updating what's on the nutritional facts labels for foods. Things like the amount of added sugar will be included.

The government says the changes will make healthier choices easier to see.

But it could be a while before you see it. Large food companies have until 2020 to update their packaging.

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