Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

Charcuterie boards have recently become one of my favorite ways to create a meal. I have created a charcuterie board for various meals and snacks.  According to Eat Cured Meat, the modern definition of a charcuterie board is, “a selection of food that offers contrasts, various textures and different colors. Consumed in a group, the focus of the charcuterie board is food that that is easy to eat, finger food is the goal.”  In other words, it’s simply a mixture of numerous foods, all artfully arranged on a serving board. They are fun, easy to assemble, and can be filled with all sorts of delicious and nutritious foods!

food arranged in containers in a sqaure container

When I assemble my charcuterie board, my goal is to make it colorful and nutritious. Portion sizes are often smaller but include a variety to choose from. One of my favorites is a portable “breakfast charcuterie board.” The great thing about preparing it ahead of time is it’s already assembled and ready to grab from the refrigerator before work. In the picture, you’ll see I have included an egg bite with veggies, 2 whole wheat mini pancakes, vanilla Greek Yogurt, and berries. I also put any sauces or additional add-ons in souffle containers with lids to keep them separated. I have also included all 5 food groups from MyPlate! I prepare my portable board the night before so I can quickly grab it before heading to work.

Another favorite I like to make is a snack charcuterie board. You can customize it based on how many you’re serving, what you have on hand, what’s on sale, and personal preference. This snack charcuterie board includes a variety of foods that support good brain and heart health. The board includes the following foods:

  • Veggies paired with hummus: I used cucumbers, carrots, and celery. Peppers and cherry tomatoes would add even more color. Hummus can also be replaced with a spinach artichoke dip or other dip of choice.
  • Black olives have plenty of healthy fats in them that support your heart and brain health. I recommend rinsing under water prior to serving to reduce the salt
  • Berries are quick an easy finger food that are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and other important nutrients. You can also add grapes into the mix!
  • Trail mix made with dark chocolate, mixed nuts, and whole grain cereal. Dark chocolate contains Flavanols that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This is satisfying treat full of protein.
  • Pistachiosresearch suggests consuming about one palmful or ¼ cup of nuts at least five times per week for optimal health. Pistachios, as well as trail mix can also help you meet this recommendation.
  • Tuna salad- is great to use as a spread on a whole grain cracker. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 90% of American’s don’t meet the seafood recommendation. This is a great way to boost your seafood intake
  • Yogurt topped with granola – yogurt provides calcium and protein and can be topped with granola!
  • Turkey and cheese are nice to roll up and add to the board. Instead of rolling the cheese, another option is to use various sliced cheeses to your board.
Food arranged on plates

Next time you are hosting a gathering, try creating a snack charcuterie board for your guests. Also, challenge yourself to create portable charcuterie board for one of your meals. Breakfast ones are great to make ahead since we are often short on time in the morning. It’s a fun way to plan ahead, while incorporating MyPlate into your meal planning.

Written by: Shannon Smith, RD, CDCES, Program Coordinator, OSU Extension, Wood County

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Wood County




https://howtocreate.com/ –> How to Make a Charcuterie Board

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People eating breakfast

I have a routine that I begin each day with that includes brushing my teeth, working out, showering, getting dressed, fixing breakfast then heading out the door to go to work or teleworking from home. We all have actions that get our day started no matter what time it begins. Routines can lead to habits which can be positive or negative depending on the choices we make. Because routines are habitual, we don’t often evaluate whether they are positive or negative.

Do you usually grab a granola or protein bar in the morning? Or do you find yourself buying a pastry or sandwich when you stop for coffee or gas? Maybe you have a habit of sitting down to eat breakfast. Or maybe you don’t typically eat breakfast at all!

Take a moment today to think about the breakfast choices that start your day. Consider taking a break from your breakfast routine and try something different for a week or two.

Need ideas?

  • Make breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos at home. You can prep them ahead of time by scrambling eggs, adding in your favorite veggies, and refrigerating them overnight or until ready to eat. In the morning, just heat the eggs in the microwave and place into a tortilla for a breakfast wrap along with other toppings like cheese or salsa. 
  • Add fruit to your favorite morning drink or breakfast bar. Grab a fresh orange, apple or banana; a cup of applesauce or canned, diced fruit; or serve yourself a bowl of sliced berries or melon.
  • Try a new recipe such as Banana and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats, Granola and Yogurt Parfaits, or No Bake Breakfast Cookies

For more ideas, view these OSU Extension videos on Food Prep for Breakfast and Breakfast Made Easy.

What you eat can set the tone for the day. Eating breakfast will help you perform better throughout the day by helping with concentration, problem solving and even eye-hand coordination. In addition, eating breakfast can raise your energy level, mood and overall health! Those who eat a morning meal tend to make healthier food choices throughout the day compared to those who skip breakfast.

Writer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Pike County

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County


Ellis, E. (2020). 5 Reasons your teen needs breakfast. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/5-reasons-your-teen-needs-breakfast

OSU Wexner Medical Center (2017). Improve your mood everyday: Just Eat Breakfast. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/improve-your-mood-just-eat-breakfast

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myplate_yellowHow many vegetables did you eat yesterday?

MyPlate recommends that adults consume at least 2-3 cups of vegetables each day, making half your plate fruits and vegetables at each meal. Breakfast is a meal where fruit often makes an appearance, but it is also a great opportunity to kick-off your vegetable consumption for the day!

Below are five delicious breakfast ideas that include vegetables:

  1. Zucchini bread oatmeal. You can make a batch of the baked oatmeal that the recipe linked to here instructs, or simply add shredded zucchini to overnight oats in place of part of the liquid. Zucchini bread oatmeal is a great high fiber, low fat alternative to zucchini bread. Alternatively, if you’re a fan of pumpkin bread, consider stirring canned pumpkin into your oatmeal for another nutritious breakfast.
  2. Frittata. Combine your favorite chopped veggies (mushroom, bell pepper, tomato, onion, etc.) with a mixture of egg, herbs and cheese for a delicious breakfast casserole. For added convenience, bake in a muffin tin for single-serve portions! muffin tin fritattas
  3. Breakfast sandwiches or wraps (burritos). Start with a whole wheat English muffin, tortilla or slice of toast, then add scrambled eggs, cheese, and your favorite veggies (spinach, mushroom, tomato, avocado, etc.) for a hearty breakfast sandwich. You could also fold your stuffed tortilla in half and cook it in the skillet for a quesadilla!
  4. Made-over muffins. If you enjoy eating muffins at breakfast, prepare varieties at home that include whole wheat flour and shredded veggies to ramp up the fiber content. Shredded zucchini and carrots make tasty muffins! Pineapple carrot muffins are one of my favorites.
  5. Power smoothies. If you enjoy whipping up a morning smoothie, try adding spinach or kale to the mix! These leafy greens are rich in nutrients, and chances are you’ll hardly notice that they’re there!

How do you add veggies to your breakfast? Let us know by leaving a comment below!


Author: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu



Mullen, M. & Shield, J.E. (2017). Veggies for Breakfast? Yes! Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. eatright.org

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2017). All About the Vegetable Group. choosemyplate.gov/vegetables.

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At the beginning of January, I shared Baby-steps To A Healthier You. I wanted to make smaller weekly goals to help me reach my overall goal. By doing so, I’m able to feel more successful and increase my motivation. For my first weekly goal, I was going to eat a healthy breakfast every morning. I was then going to take my second week to evaluate any triggers or life changes that kept me from reaching my goal and make needed changes in what I’m eating. Here’s my update:

I have found it very important to develop an action plan and to come up with my own personal vision statement. This way, when I start to become discouraged, I can be reminded of the bigger picture and focus on my weekly goals. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has a really great handout for healthy living that they use with patients who are working towards losing weight.  You can follow along in the handout to answer questions and create your own personal vision statement. My vision statement is:

I am adopting a healthy lifestyle of eating to nourish my body and exercising to be fit. I will inspire through example and love the life I live. I will achieve it, be it, and live it!

My vision statement is on my desk at work and I have posted it on my refrigerator at home. I see and am reminded of my positive vision multiple times a day.

How did I do with my breakfast goal? Well… I learned that I like to hit the snooze button too many times, which causes me to be in a hurry for breakfast. When I’m in a hurry, I tend to grab something quick to take out the door with me. I found that I really want something hot for breakfast, and I need to make sure it contains protein. If I don’t get enough protein with breakfast, I crave carbohydrates all day!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a great article about Breakfast Ideas for Busy Mornings that give you options based on how many times you hit the snooze button. Here are my new quick, hot, PROTEIN-PACKED go-to breakfasts:

  1. Breakfast Burrito– low carb tortilla with either one scrambled egg or two egg whites, a lean meat (like chopped, low-fat ham), and a little sprinkle of shredded cheese. If I’m doing well on time I will add in some veggies like spinach, onions, peppers, or broccoli while I cook my egg.
  2. Protein Packed Pancakes– I blend up old-fashioned oats with low-fat cottage cheese, vanilla, egg whites and baking powder to make a protein packed pancake. I do this the night before and get everything ready so it takes no time to cook in the morning.
  3. Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins are great to make on the weekend, and they heat up quick on busy mornings.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins

I’d love to hear how you’re coming with your goal and what has worked for you!


Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,  Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu



Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2017). Tips for Better Breakfasts. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/snack-and-meal-ideas/4-tips-for-better-breakfasts

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Losing Weight: Getting Started. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/getting_started.html

Zies, S. (2017). A Great Way to Start your Day. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2017/09/14/a-great-way-to-start-your-day/

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blueberry muffin

We all know that there are many reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables. Baking a batch of muffins is a great way to add extra produce to your diet, especially if you have overripe fruit or vegetables that you want to use before they spoil. Apples, pears, carrots, zucchini, bananas, berries and citrus fruits make great additions to baked goods. To bake a healthy treat, search for or modify a favorite recipe with your favorite fruits or veggies and these tips:

  1. Substitute half the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour for extra fiber. Note that substituting more than half may yield muffins that are too dense.
  2. Substitute half the oil with applesauce or half the butter with plain, nonfat yogurt to reduce the fat content. This tip works well for muffins because they are baked in a tin, but it does not work well if you are baking without a mold; for example, if you are making cookies on a cookie sheet.
  3. Cut back on the sugar. The sugar content of most recipes can be cut by up to half without changing the flavor of the end product.
  4. Add small amounts of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cloves to sweeten your product without adding calories.

My favorite muffin recipes involve whole grains such as whole wheat flour or oats; applesauce; spices; and various fruits and vegetables. These recipes result in healthy treats that can be eaten right away OR frozen for quick, pre-portioned breakfasts or snacks. Here are a few that I have tried and enjoyed, or that I would like to try:

Do you have a favorite muffin recipe to share? If so, let us know by commenting below!


Author: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu



Brinkman, P. (2015). Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier. OhioLine. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5543

Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Top 10 Reasons to Eat MORE Fruits and Vegetables. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-reasons-to-eat-more-fruits-and-vegetables

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Many people forget how important it is to start your day with a fueling breakfast. We often forget to include this meal due to lack of time and planning around hectic schedules. One versatile breakfast item that my family and I enjoy is a veggie egg muffin. This simple dish has fresh ingredients, is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is packed with protein from the eggs and fiber from its veggies. One large egg has 6 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and only 70 calories. Eggs also provide a rich source of vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Additionally, eggs are very economical to make; one egg has an average cost of approximately 8.5 cents in today’s market.    .

Vegetable Egg Muffin on a Plate

Veggie Egg Muffins

I like to make many versions of this recipe, depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. I always start with 10-12 eggs, and add milk and various veggies on hand. I also add additional spices to enhance the flavor. Spices include fresh garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, parsley flakes, and sometimes fresh or dried basil.

Here is an egg muffin recipe that I would to share to get started. This can be modified based on your veggie preferences and items you have on hand.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins


  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milkEggs in a bowl. Peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms on cutting board
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3 medium-size mushrooms
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cooking Spray

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, nonfat milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, diced peppers and onions. After vegetables are mixed together, add your cheese to the bowl.Egg mixture with veggies in a bowl

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan cups and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan then use a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.
*Adapted from Just a Taste

These healthy egg muffins taste good by themselves, but I often will make it into an egg sandwich to add more fiber. I start with a whole grain sandwich thin, and then add guacamole, taco sauce, 1 slice of cheese, and sometimes a thin slice of deli turkey. After I’ve assembled my sandwich, I warm it up in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. This is a great sandwich to start the day. They can be made the night before and put in a sandwich bag for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. My husband likes to have it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack.

If they will not be used in 5 days, plan to put them in the freezer for a later date.

Why not give it a try this week, and leave a reply in the comment box below to share other ideas for a healthy breakfast egg muffin.





Written by:  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Shannon Smith, RD, LD, Program Coordinator IGNITE Grant, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, smith.11604@osu.edu

Reviewed by:   Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,   remley.4@osu.edu

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Four year olds can be frustrating at times especially when it comes to eating. I can remember when my four year old daughter would simply refuse to eat at the dinner time. “I’m not hungry daddy” she quipped as she would play with her food. As a parent I would have a few options a.) make her stay at the table until she finishes her plate, b.) send her to bed without supper, or c.) put her food in the refrigerator for later. The correct answer is “c.”

In most cases, children, toddlers and infants are actually better “intuitive eaters” than adults. In other words, they respond better to hunger and fullness cues. Unfortunately for adults, our eating habits have been corrupted by our environments. How so?

  • We grew up in the “clean plate club.” Our moms and dads made us finish everything on our plates. Today, portion sizes keep getting bigger (in 2050 a regular soda at the movies will fill a water cooler jug if current trend continues) and these values, although helpful during times of hardship, might contribute to eating too much.


  • We eat to cope with emotions. When food is plentiful, we eat when we are stressed or bored. Although this behavior is normal in moderation, it is problematic if it happens too much.
  • We eat too quickly. This was a problem in my family growing up- my dad and I would finish before my mom sat down at the table. Today, our environment promotes fast eating. We have only so much time at work for lunch and our children, in some cases, have only ten to fifteen minutes to eat at school. Eating quickly does not allow us to respond to our fullness cues and again we might eat too much.
  • We skip meals all together. Many skip breakfast and lunch and eat only one meal a day. By the time dinner arrives, well let’s just say horses better hide! Sometimes, people can eat more in one meal than eating smaller meals throughout the day.
  • We go on extreme weight loss diets. In a culture of “thinness” the temptation is to go on diets where food is restricted and hunger cues are ignored. For many this promotes obesity because the body may become more efficient at converting food to fat when normal eating patterns return after the diet.
  • We practice “distracted” eating. We eat when we drive; we eat in front of the T.V.  and at events. In these situations, we are distracted from our hunger and fullness.

According to the CDC, obesity and associated chronic diseases such as diabetes are growing problems in all demographic groups. Although the etiology of problem is complex, our environment that discourages intuitive eating is a factor. We eat way too much and do not get enough physical activity. According to “Health for Every Body” developed by University of Missouri Extension, there are several things that families can do to promote intuitive eating for health and wellness:

  • Avoid distracted eating by encouraging family meals. According to Thriving Newsletter by University of Missouri Extension, several studies have demonstrated that families that eat together at the table actually are healthier.
  • Avoid extreme weight loss diets. Rather, set behavior goals rather than weight goals. For example try to set a weekly walking goal than a goal to lose 10 pounds in a week. In addition, your children will not model your dieting which could potentially lead to an eating disorder.
  • Eat breakfast. Research clearly shows that those who eat breakfast have better health outcomes.
  • Slow down. Put your utensils down between bites. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness.
  • Pay attention to emotional eating. Find other healthy behaviors such as walking to replace food. Snack on healthy food such as fruits or vegetables.

Dan Remley, MSPH, PhD

Assistant Professor, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

OSU Extension


Reviewed by Susan Zies, Extension Educator

OSU Extension, Wood County

Sources: A New You: Health for Every Body, University of Missouri Extension

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Do you make time for breakfast?  It can be a real challenge in this fast-paced life.  But, what happens in the middle of the morning when you have not had breakfast? How do you feel?  I know that I am not as alert as I should be.

If you have children who are starting to get ready for another school year don’t let them go to school hungry.  Start your school year routine out with a good breakfast or enroll your child in the school breakfast program.  A child without breakfast will not be able to concentrate.  Learning is interrupted until that child eats.  The bottom line is: “A hungry child cannot learn.”

If a child does not have good quality food during all periods of childhood, the cognitive development of that child is handicapped.  Not enough food, or poor quality food can cause children to have behavior, attention, and learning problems.  Poor nutrition impacts school performance and the overall development of a child.  Yet, this issue affects thousands of children each day.  Most importantly, it is so easy to prevent.

A balanced breakfast is needed including protein, complex carbohydrates and fat.  This involves choosing food from at least three food groups.  A child who eats a breakfast containing only juice and dry cereal without milk will run out of energy by mid-morning because the breakfast lacks protein and fat.  In addition to common breakfast choices such as cereal with milk and fruit, try incorporating non-traditional breakfast foods like cheese, crackers and grapes or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a glass of milk.

Give both you and your children the advantage by starting the day with a good breakfast.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Ohio State University Extension.

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You have probably heard all of the studies about breakfast being the most important meal of the day for children – but did you ever think about it being as important for you, the parent or employee?
Literally breakfast means “Break the Fast”. For most of us it has been at least eight and probably more like ten hours since we last ate and our body is in need of refueling.

So what are those breakfast benefits?

  • Many people think that if they skip breakfast they can help their diet, or lose weight – but the opposite is probably true. Breakfast ups your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories during the day. Studies show that those of us who eat breakfast consume less calories during the day, and are better at getting the nutrients that we need for the day.
  • Numerous studies show that children who eat breakfast are less likely to be absent or late to school, and are less likely to have stomach aches or headaches. They are able to concentrate better, make fewer errors, and are more creative and work faster.
  • Other studies show that children who eat breakfast are more cooperative, get along better with others, cause less fights, and spend less time in the principal’s office for fights.
  • Breakfast eaters tend to eat less fat during the day and those who skip breakfast tend to have higher blood cholesterol levels. A high blood cholesterol level is linked with an increased risk for heart disease and other chronic health diseases.

To get your family off to a good start each morning make every attempt to include three food groups – think dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, or protein/meat. Breakfast is an easy place to get in a whole grain to improve your fiber consumption. There are many whole grain cereals and breads, as well as bagels, English muffins, and pita style wraps. Include a fruit or veggie too – sliced fruits in your cereal or top of your cream cheese or peanut butter on a slice of toast are easy. I love to put dried cranberries or raisins in my low fat oatmeal – then I don’t feel the need for butter and brown sugar.

So what are some quick ideas?

  • Try a wheat wrap with light cream cheese or peanut butter and sliced fruit.
  • A favorite of mine is a low fat yogurt with fresh fruit and a little high fiber cereal for crunch.
  • Why wait for lunch to have a sandwich – whole grain bread (maybe toasted) with lean ham and a slice of cheese is easy to take with you. Grab a 100% juice box or pour some juice in your beverage container and you are ready to go.
  • If you have a few minutes to blend – try a smoothie with low fat yogurt, fresh or canned fruit, milk or juice, and a couple ice cubes. Some people even throw in a carrot.
  • Toss a handful of whole grain crackers in a bag, grab a piece of fresh fruit (apples, bananas, a Clementine, a handful of grapes or blueberries, or a fresh peach or plum), and a cheese stick make for easy transport.
  • Grab a bag or small bowl with lid to make your own snack mix – mix a couple dry cereals with cheese crackers, dried fruits, pretzels, and maybe a couple chocolate chips. This has been a quick favorite of my daughter for years – if she doesn’t eat it all in the car on our way in the morning, she has an afterschool snack before soccer.
  • Make a batch of whole grain, pumpkin, or fruit muffins – eat some now and freeze the rest to eat in a week or two with your skim milk or juice. Try replacing part of the oil in the recipe with applesauce to make them healthier.

Breakfast is important to our children and for us too – why wouldn’t we want to be more cooperative, get along better with our co-workers, concentrate better and work faster – just like they do. Make it a priority by purchasing foods to make that morning race go smoother.

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension.


Clemson Cooperative Extension, Hunter & Cason, http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/nutrition/nutrition/life_stages/hgic4106.html.

Utah State University Cooperative Extension, Williams, http://extension.usu.edu/saltlake/files/uploads/pdf/BreakfastMostImportant.pdf.

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, Hess, http://www.uwgb.edu/counselinghealth/wellness/hu/BenefitsOfBreakfast.pdf.

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