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Breakfast Minus the Stress

posted Aug 20, 2015, 12:22 PM by

You know it’s important for your kids to eat a balanced breakfast before heading off to school. Studies show that eating breakfast helps kids with tasks requiring memory and attention. But mornings can be hectic and many kids are picky eaters, meaning that getting your kids to eat a healthy weekday breakfast while maintaining your sanity can be a major challenge. 

To make weekday mornings go smoother, you may want to do some prep on weekends or in the evening so breakfast is ready to go on schooldays with little or no assembly required. If you need inspiration, try one of these ideas:

  • Homemade yogurt parfaits or overnight oats: See pictures and step-by-step instructions here.
  • Homemade breakfast bars: Look for recipes that incorporate whole grains and protein sources like nuts or peanut butter. For example, try our Peanut Butter Pecan Fruit & Nut Bars.
  • Egg and veggie muffin cups: Use our recipe to make a big batch on the weekend. Store in the fridge or freezer and reheat in the microwave.  
  • Oatmeal: Make a big batch on the weekend and then reheat in the microwave with milk, dried or fresh fruit, and your favorite nuts or seeds.
  • Hardboiled eggs: Kids can grab one or two eggs, peel, and enjoy with whole grain toast and fruit.
  • Breakfast quinoa: This ILC customer favorite recipe can be served cold or hot and is delicious over plain Greek yogurt.
  • Pre-cut fruit: Chop or slice fruit so it’s easy for kids to grab and add to their breakfast. Take it to the next level with our simple, three ingredient Fresh Fruit Salad with Lime Mint Dressing.

To save yourself some time, it’s also a good idea to have a few favorite breakfasts that kids can fix themselves. The microwave is a fairly kid-friendly cooking appliance that kids can use to reheat cooked oatmeal or muffin cups. Older kids can crack an egg or two and make our quick and easy breakfast sandwiches or burritos. Breakfast burritos also make a great breakfast on the go. Older kids can also use the toaster to make whole grain toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas.

Cereal with milk and fruit is another easy breakfast that most kids can prepare themselves. It can be a nutritious option as long as you follow a few guidelines:

  • Look for cereals with at least 5 g of fiber, no more than 10 g of sugar, and 200 mg of sodium or less per serving.
  • Make sure a whole grain like whole wheat or whole oats is the first ingredient.

A few cereals that fit the bill included Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Kashi Cinnamon Harvest, Kashi Heart to Heart, and Wheat Chex. You can also mix and match breakfast cereals. If your child’s favorite cereal is high in sugar, try mixing it with another cereal that’s low in sugar and high in fiber.

If it’s hard to get your child or teen up in the morning, consider a breakfast that they can eat on the way to school. Smoothies made with nutritious ingredients like milk, yogurt, fruit, veggies, peanut butter, or ground flaxseed are the most portable option. You can also cut up apples and pack peanut butter or our maple nut yogurt spread for dipping. Worried about your kids making a mess in the car? Bring an apron to cover their shirt and lap, then take it off and shake it out when you get to your destination.

For families that are strapped for time or just want one less meal to worry about, don’t discount school breakfast. Many schools serve breakfast for only a few dollars, either before school or during first period, and school breakfast is subject to many of the same nutrition requirements as school lunch, making it a healthy way for kids to start the day. 

Finally, there’s no law saying that you have to eat breakfast foods at breakfast. If your child is picky, maybe they’ll eat leftovers from a favorite dinner for breakfast without a fight.  A breakfast of cheese, crackers, sliced turkey, and fruit takes almost no time to prepare and may be a fun treat for your kids.

For more ideas, check out this article in the Washington Post.