There are many places in the day when our best nutrition goals go out the window, but I have been making an effort this year to get it right first thing in the morning. Fueling our kids for the day is perhaps the most important thing we can do for them before 9am, second only to making sure they are loved and treasured just the way they are. You might try these nutritious and (even more important for busy weekdays) quick and easy breakfast solutions.
Little/No Prep Options:
- Make-Your-Own Trail Mix (whole grain cereal, granola, nuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, yogurt-covered raisins, dried berries, dark chocolate chips)
- Breakfast Bars: Read the label and be mindful of sugar content, whole grains, dietary fiber and protein. Some of the more nutritious options include Annie’s Organic Peanut Butter Chewy Granola Bars, KIND blueberry breakfast bars, Go Raw Raisin Crunch, Cascadian Farm Harvest Berry Granola Bar, Balance Bare Sea Salt Caramel Nut and Kashi GoLean Plant-Powered Bars. Some of the bars in your cabinet may contain 15 grams of sugar or more!
- Whole Grain Cereal: Again, watch out for sugar (less than 10 grams) and fiber (at least 3 grams) content when you read the label. Some of the healthier cereals for your little one include Barbara’s Original/Cinnamon Puffins, Kashi Heart to Heart Honey Toasted, Honey Bunches of Oats Honey Roasted, Kix, Cheerios, Original Life, Cascadian Farms Purely O’s, and Nature’s Path Oaty Bites.
Easy/Night-Before Prep Options:
- Energy Bites (1 c dried oats, ¼ c peanut or sun butter, ¼ c honey, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips). Add your own ingredients, such as flaxseed, raisins and vanilla extract. Roll into balls and refrigerate.
- Muffin Tin Eggs (spray tin with Pam, whisk a mixture of eggs, cheese, spinach, turkey bacon, etc. and pour in, bake for 20 minutes at 350).
- PB Pancakes (2 eggs, ½ c honey Greek yogurt, 1/3 creamy peanut butter).
- Breakfast smoothies (frozen pineapple, berry, mango chunks, Greek plain or vanilla yogurt, banana, ice).
- 5 Ingredient Banana Muffins (2 c rolled oats, 3 bananas, 2 eggs, ¾ c pitted whole dates, 1 tsp baking soda, pinch of cinnamon and optional chocolate chips…bake for 15 minutes at 350 for regular size muffins).
A few final tips that might help you during the morning rush:
- Make a menu and a shopping list with your kids so they can be involved and more enthusiastic about the first meal of the day.
- A fun plate/straw/cup can make breakfast more fun
- Create a visual routine chart in the morning (use photos of your own child doing the activity), and allow your child to check off each task as it is completed.
Here’s to a properly-fueled morning this year! But first, coffee…