I’m trying to avoid feeding my kids sugary breakfast cereals. What are some healthy, filling, kid-friendly breakfasts?
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true: breakfast is such an important meal! It gets your metabolism going, keeps you focused, and sets the tone for the day. You AND your kids should make it a priority to eat a great breakfast each day, including protein, whole grains, healthy fats and minimal added sugar. Here are some tips for starting your day off right:
- Call in the detectives! Last week I wrote about the Cereal Detective game which is a great way to help kids really visualize how much sugar is in some cereals. Play this with your kids, and they’ll definitely steer clear of the Froot Loops in favor of Cheerios! Also, for fun, let kids mix a variety of cereals into one bowl for a fun, crunchy morning sensation and serve with low-fat milk or dairy alternatives, including rice, soy or almond milks for a calcium boost.
- Whole grains make great breakfasts. Oatmeal (made from plain rolled oats—not the sweetened, flavored packets) is a popular choice, but not the only one. Quinoa usually served savory, is delicious made sweet with raisins and cinnamon. Whole grains provide filling fiber, which helps to regulate your appetite. Check out our oatmeal recipe below.
- Get your protein. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, which helps keep you full longer, but all yogurt isn’t created equally. Make sure to read the ingredient labels to stay clear of added sugars, food dyes and preservatives. And, be sure that the yogurt you are purchasing contains live and active cultures which are important probiotics for good digestive health. If the yogurt doesn’t contain these cultures, it’s not yogurt. Make my homemade granola, page 52 in Appetite for Life, and have the whole family make Yogurt Sundaes, page 176. Almond butter on whole grain bread is another yummy way to get your morning protein fix.
- Healthy fats. Kids love eggs, so make sure your eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids that boost brain power. This is made possible when the chicken eats a high omega-3 fatty acid diet. Scrambled, sunny-side up and hard-cooked are favorites with the kids at HealthBarn USA. Also, add ground flaxseeds to muffins, pancakes, cereals and yogurt for a good boost of brain food.
- Try something special! My Sweet Potato Pancakes are a big hit with kids and adults alike. The deliciously nutritious sweet potatoes mix with whole grains for a hearty breakfast. Think you don’t have time to make pancakes during the week? Think again! These pancakes can be frozen and defrosted throughout the week.
Maple Walnut Oatmeal
From Appetite for Life, by Stacey Antine, MS RD
Set the alarm clock fifteen minutes earlier because this breakfast is worth lingering over. Its great-tasting whole grains are an excellent source of soluble heart-healthy fiber and protein, and you’ll love the natural energy boost delivered by the sugar in its apples and maple syrup. The walnuts are a bonus because they contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and iron to help build muscles.
Kids can chop apples using a plastic knife with adult supervision.
3½ cups water
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 medium green apple, cored and
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a medium saucepan, heat water over medium heat to simmering.
2. Stir in oats; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Remove from heat and stir in apple, walnuts, maple syrup, and cinnamon.
4. Cover and let stand 3 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Serve warm, topped with low-fat (1%) milk and extra maple syrup if you like.
Makes 5 servings (1 cup per serving)
Nutrition Facts per serving: 250 calories; 10g fat (0.5g sat fat, 2g mono, 6g poly, 0g trans fat); 0mg cholesterol; 35g carbohydrate (5g fiber, 11g sugar); 7g protein; 10mg sodium; 2% Daily Value (dv) vitamin C; 4% dv calcium; 10% dv iron
– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life and founder, HealthBarn USA
What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy? Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected]. Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.