Healthy Breakfast with the Kiddos
There are two eternal truths about breakfast with kids: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; and morning mayhem inevitably disrupts the process, stealing kids away from a healthy meal. As parents, we want our children to eat a healthy and well balanced morning meal, but making that happen each morning can be more challenging than climbing Mount Everest.
The good news is that we do not have to have our dose of daily remorse over sugared cereal and toaster sweets. It really is possible to have a healthy breakfast with the kiddos, even in the midst of the chaos that defines most mornings.
Here are some great tips to help get the whole team off to a great start.
Make It Simple
Healthy does not have to be complex and often takes the same amount of time it takes to scrounge for the several less healthy options. Consider going back to the basics like a bowl of oatmeal, whole grain toast, fruit, or some scrambled eggs.
Make It Ahead
For more involved healthy meals, consider making some or all of the breakfast ahead of time. Making an extra batch of whole grain pancakes takes a short time and leftovers can freeze well for another morning. Breakfast casseroles are another healthy make ahead option that ensures your children get the protein they need.
Mix in Extra Nutrition
If your kids are turning up their noses at the very mention of vegetables or anything that even seems like it might be nutritious, try mixing extra nutrition into breakfast treats. They may never suspect that there is carrot, zucchini, or flax seed in that banana muffin. If they do notice, they probably won’t even care because warm muffins are just too good to pass up.
Make It Fun
Creativity can go a long way to battle morning breakfast trauma, and is well worth the effort when you find your kids eating things they would never have touched in a million years before. Let the creativity flow while you make breakfast kabobs, or cut toast in fun shapes and slather with things like cream cheese, Nutella, and sugar-free jams.
Some breakfast options check all the boxes for kid approved meals, such as ones that are as much a treat as they are a healthy meal. Who can resist breakfast cookies made with whole grains and chock full of delicious add-ins like walnuts and fruit or a breakfast pizza topped with nutrient rich choices like eggs, cheese, bell peppers, and turkey sausage?
Dinner for Breakfast, Almost
Not everyone likes dinner foods at breakfast, but you can steal a few ideas from the evening meal to make breakfast even more exciting. Breakfast sushi, sliders, cheesy breakfast quesadillas, or egg and veggie tacos can keep kids interested and coming back for more.
Cut Out Evening Snacks
Some kids like to snack after their evening meal and before bed. If the snacking leans more toward the chips and sugary treats, try cutting them out. More time from dinner to breakfast will help the kids come to the table hungry and ready for your healthy options.
Include Them in the Preparations
Having the kids join you in making breakfast helps them build confidence. When they get up to the counter and help make the choices, they are more likely to taste and enjoy the creations. It also means some quality time with your sous chefs, and that is always time well spent.
Change Where You Eat
Make the morning extra special by changing the normal routine. Try setting up a big breakfast in the formal dining room or moving your meal outside to the patio. These little touches will delight them and be a great opportunity to make memories that will last forever.
Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment
Schedule mornings where you can slow down and enjoy the company of your family over some wonderful food. Take the time to make a special effort to engage the kids and see life through their eyes. In turn, they will quickly associate great food with the joy of family – and someday pass that joy along to their own families.
Your Efforts are Not in Vain
Research shows that kids who eat a healthy breakfast reap more than nutritional benefits:
- Higher test scores
- Miss less school and tardy less often
- Have better focus and concentration
- Behave better in the classroom
With just a little planning you can provide a better breakfast for the entire family, whether it is a grab and go morning or a lazy weekend breakfast on the patio, and just as important, some wonderful family memories.