I guess it's that time of the year again, isn't it?
Time to start thinking about giving your kids the most nutritious starts to their school days.
Crystal Shaffer commented, "Healthy breakfast ideas for back to school?"
There are so many options to fuel your kids brains and bodies well!
Here are some simple guidelines for creating healthy breakfasts:
1.) Focus on protein and fats!
Developing brains *need* quality fat, so be sure to prioritize this macronutrient in their meals. Protein fuels their growing muscles well. The combination of protein and fat will keep your kids well-fueled; provide steady energy (avoiding energy highs and dips); and keep them full and satisfied till whatever time they might have lunch.
Whole eggs, avocado, and yogurt are all excellent options! Additionally, nuts, cheese, chia seeds and coconut flakes can give a little boost!
2.) Avoid most products marketed to/for children.
These food items are typically loaded with sugars and food dyes, and they often only contain nutrients because they are fortified (i.e., the vitamins & minerals were added in later rather than occurring as a natural part of whole food ingredients).
Say "no" to kids' cereals, yogurts, breads, bars, etc. Opt instead for pure versions of these products--and then add in goodies yourself! Plain yogurt with vanilla extract, honey, and berries, for instance, is a much more nutritious breakfast option than "mixed berry Gogurt."
3.) Focus on whole food carbohydrates, like fruits, oats, and starchy vegetables (like potatoes).
Cereals like no-sugar added muesli or oatmeal will provide much steadier and longer-lasting energy than processed carbs like instant oatmeal, frozen waffles, or breakfast pastries.
With these recommendations in mind, there is lots of room for creativity, and opportunity for convenience, too!
Here are a few pairings to get you started...
- 1 slice of *sprouted grain bread + 1-2 eggs + cheese
- *see previous post for the “why” behind this specification
- "Omelette muffins" stuffed with veggies & turkey (make-ahead/greezer recipes widely available!)
- Egg burrito or other egg roll-up using a whole grain tortilla (make-ahead/freezer recipes available for these!)
- Slow-cooker "baked" oatmeal, cooked overnight: oats, apple juice/cider, apple slices, & cinnamon; served sprinkled with walnuts
- Greek yogurt parfait with fruit, honey, oats, and chia seeds (great chia pudding recipes abound online, as well)
- Homemade low-sugar energy bars made with oats, nuts, coconut, etc.
- If all else fails... banana with peanut butter & a glass of milk!
Anyone else have any awesome ideas to share?
[One last note: Smoothies *can* be an awesome option for many families; however, there are some common pitfalls with these. It's easy to load them up with tons of fruit and forget about ensuring fats and protein. Add in some coconut cream or avocado, nuts or nut butters, and maybe some chia seeds-- heck, boost it with some sneaky greens, too, while you're at it!]